A couple of weeks ago, I backed up all my data to the cloud and then turned off my PC. One day I’ll turn it on again, but it will be to format it, reinstall it and give it to my mom. For you see, I have switched to The Mac, something readers of this blog — tech savvies you might call at least some of them — have been clamoring for for a decade.
So yes. I switched to The Mac, and I’ve found a setup I’m happy with. Yes, I said it, I’m very happy with The Mac. Go on, have your moment. No, please, point at me and laugh because it took me so long to “see the light”. Remind me how long I criticized the OS, the ecosystem and the mere culture of The Mac. Get it out of your system.
But why did I switch? In short: the commandline. In my dayjob, I need to know Linux. Which is pretty much like Unix. Which is pretty much what’s at the core of OSX. Which means, if I’m on this ecosystem, there’s less to learn — and that which I do learn has broader applicability in what I do today. Because webdesigners should code.
Now then. Here’s what I had to do to tweak the system to be satisfying for an ex-Windows user:
- Enable form element tabbing. System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > “All controls”. I can’t believe this is not enabled by default.
- Install Cinch. It’s on the Mac App Store, and it does what “Aero Snap” does on Windows 7. It’s the closest to fullscreen I can get. Update: there’s also “Better Snap Tool” from the App Store.
- Move the dock to the right side of the screen and make it auto-hide. It makes it less jumpy there as compared to the bottom, and whenever I need to drag a file into an app or the trash, the distance to drag is short.
- Install ClipMenu. It does what CLCL does for Windows, i.e. it’s a clipboard manager. My clipboard history shortcut is
ALT + V.
- Install CloudApp. Windows users, see: FluffyApp.
- Configure the screensaver to require a password, and create a shortcut to the screensaver in the dock so I can quickly lock the computer if I have to leave for a moment. Update: Today I use Alfred app to invoke the “Screensaver” command as opposed to a dock shortcut.
- Learn the shortcots
CMD + Lfor “locationbar” in browsers,
ALT + Leftfor “move caret to previous word” and
CMD + Leftis the equivalent of “Home” (these shortcuts work in the other direction as well,
ALT + Rightand
CMD + Right). Also
CMD + Hfor “hide current window” — which is almost as useful as the “minimize” feature is useless.
- Remove the
CMD + ALT + Spaceand
CMD + Spaceshortcuts for Spotlight, and remap Spotlight to
CMD + $(on a Danish keyboard,
$is the button right below escape). Yeah I’ve been recommended AlfredApp. I’ll get to it, but for now Spotlight is fine. Update: I now use Alfred, with the same suggested shortcut remapping.
- Configure the hot corners: bottom left is desktop, top right is Exposé. Update: today I don’t use the hot corners anymore, I use
F3for Expose, and
CMD + F3for Desktop.
Stuff that still bugs me to no end:
- No fullscreen feature and a totally inconsistent stoplight behavior. Yep, Cinch in combination with
CMD + Hgives me the window management I need, but I really think it’s embarrassing for a modern operating system that all three core window management buttons are near useless.
- The selection model is so broken, George W. Bush’s anthropomorphized foreign policy took a look at it and said DAAAYM!
- I can only resize a window in the bottom right corner. Combine this with a dock that pops out when you don’t want it, and you’ve got a recipe for headaches. I hear this is fixed in the next OSX, but as they said when Krusty the Clown retired: “Why now? Why not ten years ago?” Update: Fixed in Lion/Mountain Lion.
- The topmost filemenu feels so dated. Why not make it a context toolbar instead of a labyrinth of dropdown menus? When was the list time you clicked “Window > Minimize”? Be honest.
Yup. Have your say.