Mac Switching update, Mon 19 Sep

  • As Dave has been suggesting, under System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard shortcuts, there is a setting that allows pressing the Tab key to move between all types of field, rather than just text boxes and lists. I had thought that this wasn’t working, when in fact it was only not working in Firefox. On the Mac, Firefox has its own tab settings, which you can change by going to the about:config page, and changing “accessibility.tabfocus” from 1 to 7. (See also: “Mac OS X Hints” on Macworld.) It now all works perfectly.
  • Thanks for Phil Gyford, I now have my keyboard mapped correctly: i.e., hitting Shift+2 gives me a double-quote, and the @-sign sits two keys to the right of my L. As James had indicated, it’s a matter of installing a custom keyboard layout. You can use Ukelele to create these, but Phil Gyford has a British-Windows keyboard layout available for download from his site–complete with instructions. Marvellous.

Two minor (yet major) niggles knocked on the head in a single evening. Good progress. But the big ticket item of the evening was moving my iTunes music library from my PC to the Mac. I’d expected this to be weird, but it turned out to be ridiculously easy:

  1. On the PC, I had all of my music in a single directory (with subdirectories), but this sat on a separate disk (E:\Music) rather than in the default iTunes music folder (My Documents\Music\iTunes\iTunes Music). Using an external HD rather than a slow (wireless) network transfer, I copied everything from D:\Music into the default location on the Mac, i.e. /Users/martin/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music.
  2. On the Mac, I made a backup of the two key iTunes library files: “iTunes Music Library.xml” and “iTunes Library”, just in case it all went horribly wrong. (These are both in the /Users/martin/Music/iTunes/ folder.)
  3. I copied the PC versions of these files over the the Mac. (The PC versions reside in My Documents\Music\iTunes\)
  4. I renamed the “iTunes Library.itl” file to just “iTunes Library”, without the file extension. (Although I’m not sure if this is critical, because looking at the file name in Terminal, the extension is back there…the Finder just isn’t displaying it.)
  5. Started iTunes. iTunes spent a couple of minutes with a progress bar updating its music library, and at the end of that process…everything was there. All my ratings and play counts were present. I clicked on music and it played.
  6. With iTunes, I de-authorized the PC, and authorized the Mac, and all the protected downloads from the iTMS opened up, too.


Based on my experience restoring my iTunes music library from a dead PC, I should have figured that the process of migrating from PC to Mac would be similarly easy, but my gut just wasn’t entirely convinced. I love it when software works like this: you plug stuff in, copy the files, and you’re done. No complicated setup routines, no magic registry settings to hack if you want to restore your stuff after a disk failure…it just works. That rocks.

Also, after setting up iTunes, I plugged in my iPod. iTunes recognized it immediately, and started synchronizing. I don’t know why it decided to re-copy 849 files that should have been on the iPod already, but I can’t say that really bothers me, because IT’S CHARGING AT THE SAME TIME AS IT’S SYNCHRONIZING! WOOHOO! Honest, whatever flaw that was stopping my iPod from charging over USB has been bugging the hell out of me since I got it, and now it’s gone. Yay! No more stepping on the bus in the morning and finding that I’ve only got an hour of battery power left, because I forgot to change plugs after grabbing a new batch of podcasts.

Oh, and one more little, but lovely thing for the day:

  • Partially transparent Terminal windows. Rock.

Up next: moving Thunderbird email from PC to the Mac.

4 replies on “Mac Switching update, Mon 19 Sep”

>I love it when software works like this: you plug stuff in,
>copy the files, and you’re done. No complicated setup routines,
>no magic registry settings to hack if you want to restore
>your stuff after a disk failure…it just works. That rocks.

Er: you do remember why you just bought a Mac, don’t you???

Thanks for the Ukelele link BTW: I’ll check it out. Last time I looked at custom layouts, I decided that it was easier just to edit the XML, than use any of the graphical tools on offer. But I ain’t seen Ukelele b4

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