Mac Switching update, Wed 28 Sep

  • I’ve started using Cyberduck as my FTP client. It looks decent, and it’s free. I’m used to FTP clients that hold the source and destination in the same window, though, so it might take me a while to get used to Cyberduck’s target-only view. I suspect I’d be happier with the canonical OS X FTP program, Transmit, but I’m feeling reluctant to spend money on software at this point. I think I’ve got the switching jitters
  • I have now got the Mac and PC networked together over a firewire cable. It wasn’t quite as simple as just plugging in the cables and assigning IP addresses, because OS X wouldn’t update the IP address when I pressed the “Apply Now” button. The new address only took effect once I unplugged and re-plugged the cable. But the speed of network transfers between machines is much nicer now. (Curiously, though, Remote Desktop Connection doesn’t appear to work appreciably faster.)
  • The downside of having the two machines networked together over Firewire is that argue over who has ownership of the external Firewire disk. The PC has two ports. The external disk (a Maxtor OneTouch 250GB) is plugged in to one of them, and the other one holds the cable that leads to the Mac. When I first plugged the PC and Mac together, the Mac instantly grabbed mounted the Firewire drive, leaving the PC with a “huh? where’d my disk go?” feeling. (And an abundance of dreaded “Delayed disk write” messages.) I hadn’t known that Firewire worked like that–in a kind of automatic hub mode. Fortunately, the disk has a USB 2 interface as well, so I’ll probably use that instead to clear up the confusion.
  • The .keylayout XML file I created works fine, except when OS X pops up a dialog window, at which point it seems to require something more fundamental, and it automatically switches to one of the built-in keyboard layouts. And doesn’t switch back afterwards. VERY ANNOYING. If anyone knows how to stop this, please let me know.
  • The “Do you want to save changes…” dialog in Textwrangler doesn’t appear to have a keyboard option for “Don’t Save”. I can “Save” with the enter key, and “Cancel” with Escape, but I can’t use the Tab key to move between buttons, and no keyboard action seems to activate the “Don’t Save” button. Also VERY ANNOYING. When I’m in full flow on the keyboard, I hate having to grab the mouse. UPDATE (6 Oct 2005): The “Don’t Save” button can be activated with the Apple+D key combination, provided that I’m not using the custom .keylayout xml file.
  • Thunderbird is so much sloooooower on the Mac. I should probably give a try, but I’m reluctant to do so just when I’ve got the hang of Thunderbird’s cross-platform portability. It’s my escape hatch, in case I decide to move back to the PC.
  • I don’t like the way that Safari (and Opera) hold a little “close” button inside each browser tab. It makes choosing a tab a much more delicate experience, because not only is the mouse target area reduced (Fitts’ law), but it also multiplies the number of button areas that are targets for irrevocable actions. Can you ctrl-Z to bring back a window you’ve just closed? Nope. Even if you really, really didn’t want to close it, because you were half-way through writing a long blog entry in that window? Tough luck, bub. And the more browser tabs you have open, the worse this problem gets: the “close window” cross doesn’t shrink down with the rest of the text in the tab, and thus it becomes proportionately bigger with each tab you open. This alone may be reason enough for me to abandon Safari.

I’m coming to the point now where I’ve got the hardware set up the way I want it, and I’ve got most of the basic software up and running in a configuration I’m happy (ish) with. The next step is figuring out what I’m going to do with all of my files. I know I’m still going to be working on the PC, so I need them to be available from both the Mac and PC. But then I’ve got a whole bunch of Mac-specific stuff sitting in my shiny new home directory. There’ll be a whole lot of PC stuff that will make no sense on the Mac, too.

And most importantly, I’ll need a sensible backup strategy for the lot of it.

This may well be the trickiest part of the whole switching thing: living a dual life with my data. It’s actually making me feel kind of twitchy.

4 Replies to “Mac Switching update, Wed 28 Sep”

  1. ‘… The “Do you want to save changes…” dialog in Textwrangler doesn’t appear to have a keyboard option for “Don’t Save”.’

    See chapter 1 of the User Manual (on the Help menu): “Human Interface Notes: Dialog Box and Sheet Key Equivalents.” It will show you the way.

  2. Well, that would have been great if it had worked, but it didn’t.

    Page 19 of the manual says to hold down the Command key in a dialog, and after a short delay, any key equivalents for the buttons will be displayed. I tried this in the “Don’t save/cancel/save” dialog, and it gives the Command+D key combination for the “Don’t save” button.

    Unfortunately, Command+D doesn’t do anything in this dialog. Nor does Option+D, Ctrl+D, Command+Shift+D, Command+Option+D, or any other combination I could think of.


  3. Just discovered something: the Splat+D keystroke to close a window without saving in TextWrangler does work, so long as I have a keyboard layout other than my custom one selected.

    There’s something about that keylayout xml file that Tiger just isn’t entirely happy with….

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