Chip's Technical Blog

Tech commentary of thoughts, challenges, how-to's, and the mundane.

Macbook Pro

So after 28 years of never using a Mac, I now have one. I got it for work, in my continuing endeavor to try new things on work computers. My desktop will still be a linux PC, but my laptop is now a Macbook Pro. I’ve only had it a few days, so I don’t have a lot of thoughts about it—though I still have an open mind.

Pros: - It looks shiny - With a massive amount of RAM, it runs quite smoothly - Better integration with X and native X open-source applications than achieved through Windows (and e.g. CygWin)

Cons: - Whole new keyboard with different buttons which do different things (will take time to get used to) - It hides what it’s doing even more than Windows, leaving the user to have no clue what’s happening behind the scenes - New multi-touch pad is different and doesn’t have a second mouse button - Did not come pre-installed with any games - I really miss the home and end keys. What does exist for home and end are, first two-key combos, and second, they are more like a top-and-bottom. I don’t yet know how to go to the beginning and ending of a dialog box I’m typing in.

So anyway, there are things I like and don’t like, but there’s a lot which I won’t know until I get used to it more.

3 Responses to “Macbook Pro”

  1. Justin says:

    W/r the home and end keys, sometimes Ctl-A/Ctl-E work for going to the start/end of a line. And I believe Command-Left/Command-Right might do the same thing. (I believe that earlier you might have tried the Fn-Left/Fn-Right).

  2. chip says:

    Do Ctl-A and Ctl-E work in things other than a terminal? I have discovered Cmd-Left and Cmd-Right, though I am frustrated that in different contexts, different keys are needed. For example, some applications do cmd left/right as you’d expect, while others do cmd left/right UNLESS you are doing a selection (by holding down shift), in which case what actually works is ctrl left/right (which doesn’t work unless you are doing a selection).

    I just think it would be better having dedicated home and end keys. And what about the insert key? I agree that most people don’t use it, but on some OSes, it has emerged as a standard way to paste (shift-insert), which was nice. I’m very frustrated that X11 paste is very annoying on MacOSX. As a partial solution, I have enabled the case that ‘alt’ causes the button to act like a middle button, which kinda works. Then there is copy, which is similarly quirky. Supposedly, Cmd-C will copy in X11, but when I use it in Mutt, I just get a message that the key is not bound, and I have to use the menus. Now that’s in an xterm. In a Terminal, it works better, however the Terminal doesn’t get the coloration correct for a colored-xterm.

    Anyway, it still is taking some getting used to. But thanks for the suggestions. I haven’t tried Ctl-A and E in other applications.

  3. Michael says:

    For me (I switch between an iMac and a PC at work all day long), it was definitely helpful to change some of the keyboard and mouse settings. For instance, my mouse has two button control now. This is just with the standard Mac mouse that came with the iMac. Also, I switched the Command and Control keys — this drives visitors to my office crazy when they try to show me something, but it really helps me that (mac) Command-C and (win) Control-C are physically in the same place for my fingers.

    I could write in more detail when I’m actually in front of the Mac, but I seem to remember Cmd-Right taking me to my other desk space (forget what that’s called, Spaces maybe?). Like you, I’ve been really annoyed with the difference of Home and End behavior. I’m still not used to it (after a year).

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