I recently setup my PowerBook from scratch again; some quick notes, basically for myself but maybe useful for others. I will update it as I add more and more stuff I had but didn’t remember to move initially.
Mac OS X Tiger installation
- Remember to select “Customize”
- Deselect printer drivers I don’t need
- The same for unnecessary languages
- Select X (it doesn’t hurt)
- Start installation
- Install Developer Tools (XCode) from Tiger install DVD
- Perform Software Update
After the reboot, I make some customizations:
- By default, the computer name is set to some default such as “User Name’s PowerBook G4”. The place to change this is the Sharing preference pane.
I have no use at all for Dashboard, so I make sure it wastes no memory or CPU cycles:
defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES
I don’t care much for Spotlight, either. While I still make up my mind whether it’s going to share Dashboard’s fate, I make sure that I have one folder (in my case, it’s
~/tmp) that is neither indexed by Spotlight nor catalogued by QuickSilver.
- Change F1-F12 to control software features (in Keyboard preferences); this enables the function keys to work as you would expect them to (which means without having to press Fn. This makes sense on a notebook only.)
Next, I install my favorite applications:
- QuickSilver, the most important tool of all. Without it, I can not really use a Mac anymore. I set the Spotlight hotkey to something different and use Command-Space to invoke QuickSilver
- iTerm, my Terminal replacement of choice
- Emacs, as provided by Apple. Make sure to remove
Contents/Resources/site-lisp/site-start.d/carbon-emacs-japanese-*.elunless you’re Japanese.
- MenuMeters, a menubar extension that displays essential system information; I’ve become so used to it that something feels wrong if I use a Mac without it.
- Eclipse; the version 3.2 milestones work fine for me.
- DarwinPorts has replaced Fink for me; it provides easy access to command line and other Unix tools
- ecto, the excellent blogging client I use to write this entry
- NetNewsWire, my RSS/Atom news reader
- Adium, multi-protocol IM client
- Firefox, seldomly used here, but useful to have around if pages don’t work in the browsers I usually use
- goPod, to remove the stupid EU volume limit on my iPod after each firmware update
- getTunes, to get music off other running iTunes installations on a local net
- JHymn, to remove Apple’s DRM
- Microsoft Office, to remain compatible with the rest of the world (sigh)
- Lotus Notes, although I don’t use it very often anymore (I access our Domino server via the Web or through IMAP/POP)
- MPlayer OS X, multi-format video player
- OmniDiskSweeper, to find huge and useless files
- OmniGraffle, the world’s best diagramming tool
- OmniWeb, the world’s best Web browser
- OmniOutliner, seldomly used, but comes as part of Omni’s productivity package
- RealPlayer, not sucking that much on the Mac
- TypeIt4Me, a nice way to save on keystrokes
- Skype, for being able to those who like it
- Windows Media Player, to play stuff encoded wrongly.
- Cocoalicious, a del.icio.us client
- CocoaMySQL, a database UI for MySQL
Most decent Mac OS X applications keep their settings somewhere under
~/Library/Application Support. For NetNewsWire, ecto, and Adium, copying the respective subdirectories to a new installation works perfectly; this is how I move stuff from my old installation to a new one.
OS X comes with almost every command line tool you need to be productive. Via DarwinPorts, I add
- openssh (I had some timeout problems with the ssh bundled by Apple)
- rb-rubygems (as a pre-requisite for Rails)
One of the few things I missed from Windows was the ability to lock the box via a simple key stroke. Putting
/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend
on a QuickSilver trigger does the trick.
OS X comes with Apache pre-installed, the easiest way to enable it is to switch on “Personal Web Sharing” in the Sharing preferences pane. To simplify sandboxed Web development, I use a very neat script called “virtualhost.sh” which you can get here; it essentially turns setting up a new virtual host including a host name entry into a 0.5 second affair.
MySQL is now trivially easy to set up on OS X, since there’s a Mac installer package. If it doesn’t actually have to serve any DBs, it consumes almost no resources, so I just leave it up and running (i.e. I install the startup item and the preference pane). Changing the root password is mandatory, the easiest way I have found is:
/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql -u root set password for root@localhost=password('whatever');