[DrunkAndRetired.com Podcast] Episode 78 – John Udell, Mac Tips, and Video Games

In this episode, Charles and Cote’ are back with all sorts of tech-talk and hijinks to bring in the new year:

A hearty congrats goes to The Java Possee for nearing it’s 100th episode. YUH!

(This episode edited by Charles.)

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10 Comments

  1. Hey guys! First of all, gratz to Charles on gradulation. Awesome stuff.

    I am happy to hear about Charles’s conversion to the Light (albeit somewhat closed) Side of the force. I thought I would offer some ideas for someone coming off the Linux high and missing a few features, and maybe needing some help solving a few things. I am not sure of Charles reads these comments, but if he doesn’t then maybe this one could be the exception?

    Firstly, anyone who’s learning Mac OS X should glue their RSS readers to macosxhints.com, which basically is one-stop-shopping for people recommending useful stuff for mac life. For example, a quick check on the address sync problem revealed a discussion about Plaxo which seems to solve the problem, and is free.

    Secondly, people who know the right people use their Keyboard & Mouse Preferences to remap caps lock to control. You can do it under the modifier keys section. Right there, that’s a big ++ for Mac OS X as a developer environment. Caps Lock sucks.

    Next, Quicksilver. QS is just about the coolest thing ever, but it really takes a lot of work to optimize it. The first thing that anyone using QS needs to do is open up the plugins and get the “Clipboard History” plugin. This is just about as useful as any plugin can get. I use the triggers section to bind it to Command-F1, which just about nothing uses. Universal clipboard history has an amazing number of uses.

    Another QS trick is my “Active Projects” key. I use TextMate as my editor, and that supports project files. What I’ve done is take all my active software projects and shove project files for them into a folder in my homedir called “Active Projects”. I then instruct Quicksilver to open this folder when I hit Control-Tilde. You can do this in the “Triggers” section of the preferences, using the “Show Contents” action for your given folder. This is pretty nice.

    I’d also like to suggest that you remember that you can and should remap the Exposé keys in the Keyboard & Mouse preferences (they’re near the bottom). The “Reveal Desktop” key is probably one of the most frequently used functions, so it should get a nice place on your mouse or a convenient hotkey. Expose among windows is usually much less effort than tedious alt-tilde-ing around, and your hands leave the home row anyways. In Show Application Windows mode (default key, F10), you can hit tab to switch between applications. This is arguably more useful than the standard Alt-Tab.

    In addition to that, try giving the Dashboard a fighting chance. Your computer is easily powerful enough to support it, and if you use it as kind of a HUD for simple info, it’s fairly useful. For example, I have clocks in timezones of the remote workers for mog.com, my google search history, weather for my home and the city I work in, and other small bits of data. The dashboard may seem silly until you realize that to go get any one of those pieces of data would take valuable seconds, and why waste your life when you could quickly hit F12 and see it right away?

    Finally, I’d like to offer up some useful apps:

    Parallels Desktop – Duh.
    Virtue Desktops as a key addon. It provides a very good OS integrated multiple-desktop solution. Now, in the next few months it will be replaced by Apple Spaces, but who cares? It looks great and works well right now.
    TextMate. I know, I know. Emacs or VI for life, right? I was an addicted Xemacs user. TextMate has the brilliant idea of allowing any scripting language to be use for customizing it. If you like Ruby (as the creator does), you can use ruby. It also has a powerful text insertion language. It feels weird paying for a text editor, but I don’t regret it. It also has command line integration
    X11. On the installer disk, in the Additional Packages section, there is a Developer’s toolkit that allows OS X to support X11. This is incredibly useful when you’ve got linux and mac machines around. Also, it lets you run some key X11 apps that have no ready mac equivalent.

    Hope this isn’t all redundant information.

  2. Dude, I totally read these comments. So post away! Anyway, I didn’t know about X11 on the install disc, so I installed it with darwin ports. Do you know if that’s a problem?

    The reason I installed X11 was to run gaim, because I don’t want to have 2 separate apps to do IM and IRC. I got gaim running, but the problem is that TWM, the default window manager for xdarwin sucks ass. Any advice on that front?

  3. It shouldn’t be a problem. DarwinPorts has yet to remove their heads from their hoo-hahs about this particular issue, so the only reason DP needs the X11 install is to compile against and to provide the X11 server runtime (which is not the window manager)

    The X11 from Apple uses a special window manager that puts the windows in Mac OS X decorations, on the desktop. You can find it in /Applications/Utilities

    The only real downside to doing it this way is that all your X11 apps get collected under one dock / alt-tab entry, which breaks the metaphor a little.

    Coté, I tried to post more apps but I keep getting some “precondition failed” error from the blog on the PHP side.

  4. First issue, I can’t find it in /Applications/Utilities, and I can’t find it on the install CD either. Having already installed one bunk version of X11, I have to ask, from where is the right place?

    The docking issue doesn’t bother me so much. I heard (and perhaps this is apocryphal) that if you start an application that needs x11, that it will start it for you. This is not the default behavior for the ports version, but would be awesome if I could get that to work.

  5. Well, the Utilities really should be in your /Applications folder. It’s where important stuff like Airport Admin Utility and the all-important Activity Monitor live. If that’s broken, your install of OS X is borked and you may need to capture your changes to /usr/local, then reinstall the OS as an upgrade. Doing this doesn’t lose information in your homedir.

    As for X11, if you look on your install CD under the Developer Tools install (which I assume you’ve installed), you can customize that install to include X11.

    As for auto-starting X11, that’s dicey. Some x11 apps have been specially ported to OS X, like Inkscape, the OS X port of the Gimp, and OpenOffice. These are specially set up to auto-start X11 on launch.

    If you just type xclock at the terminal, you won’t get it to launch. However, you could configure it to auto-launch at startup, like I do. It takes just under 10 megs of ram just lying in wait, so I really don’t see a reason not to leave it running.

    Please feel free to email me if you need more help getting your mac tuned for dev work. I have more apps to offer as well, but the comments field here is reluctant about long comments.

  6. It’s an IM on blog comments!

    I too got a BA instead of BS because I didn’t want to “loose” all those language credits, and because I’m a non-conformist (as you can tell from the Hyundai I drive and the Nautica I wear).

    What are your thoughts on grad school?

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