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The Apple folks finally got me

2005-03-31 17:54:00.255499+00 by Dan Lyke 16 comments

The Apple folks finally got me. In preparation for my new job, I should have a 15" PowerBook on its way. Went for that over the 17" because whenever I see folks carrying the bigger one I get this vision of the Three Stooges, one of them with a board on his shoulder, knocking down innocent bystanders. Cool, and all, but I want something I actually feel comfortable carrying.

So, suggestions on making the migration appreciated...

[ related topics: Apple Computer Dan's Life Macintosh ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-31 18:11:30.249108+00 by: markd

Nice thing about the 17" is that it can double as a cafeteria tray. Or a boogie board (ok, an expensive one).

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-31 20:51:27.184896+00 by: Mars Saxman

Congratulations. PowerBooks are nice machines; I like mine a lot, even though I had to replace the keyboard last year (I don't think they expected people to spend all day, every day, typing on these things).

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-31 21:40:12.630214+00 by: ebradway

I just dug out my trusty old IBM 101 Key keyboard made in 1984. It's heavy, it's load (very, very loud). But IBM knew what they were doing. They had been making keyboards for Selectric Typewriters long before computers had keyboards. This keyboard is over 20 years old and never sticks or misses a keystroke.

What always surpises me when I go back to the IBM 101 is that I actually type about 10%-25% FASTER[Wiki] on it than I can any other keyboard. Like I said, IBM know what they were doing!

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-31 21:42:57.438218+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'm thinking that for much of my work I'm going to hook it up to a normal keyboard and mouse and use it as a dual display machine. It's funny that when I bought my Fujitsu Lifebook[Wiki] one of the selling points over the PowerBook was that I thought the Apple keyboard was kind of flimsy.

I've got a day and a half more of worrying about other stuff, but the things that I'm going to have to figure out quickly:

  1. What's the best Emacs binary to be using?
  2. If I use this with a 3-5 button mouse, can I set up an X style swipe/paste without having to copy?
  3. Similar for focus-follows-mouse?
  4. How does it interpret "Meta" versus "Alt"?

Those are my first big ones.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-31 22:39:41.061602+00 by: Dori [edit history]

Two thoughts come to mind:

- 15" Powerbook + external monitor + external (and multi-button) trackball + external keyboard: that's my setup in a nutshell. I love it. It's been my configuration for oh, about 3 or 4 years now. I wouldn't want to work any other way.

- For all your other questions, the answer is "No." Stop right here and reconsider. What you're asking is, "how can I make a Mac stop being like a Mac?" If that's really what you want, DON'T GET A MAC. If you want a Mac, get a Mac, and USE a Mac. Otherwise, you're just asking for frustration, 'cause it's gonna act like a Mac.

Okay, a 3rd thought: BBEdit. BBEdit rocks.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-31 23:00:09.258634+00 by: markd

I use emacs in the terminal. I do all my writing and programming there. Never could use it in WIMP mode. I have the terminal set up to treat option (alt is just too PC) as meta.

For FFM, I'm pretty sure there's a haxie out there that'll do that, along with virtual workspaces if you're into that. Usual caveats that they rely on undocumented / reverse engineered APIs and can inject instability into the system. If you use them, take them out before judging the platform to be unstable :-)

AFIK, there's no X-style selection-as-copy things. On the plus side, you don't have to have an xterm open to funnel stuff through for programs that treat the clipboard incompatibly.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-31 23:37:14.586397+00 by: Dan Lyke

Dori, I don't want a Mac, it's that that's the target platform, and my optimism extended to hoping that Apple's Un*x[Wiki] bent had gotten beyond the 1980s paradigm for window focus. I'm willing to adapt to the lack of all of those things (with the same grumbling I do about the lack of functionality in Windows) except Emacs[Wiki]. I have heard good things about BBEdit, but I've gotten locked into a single-platform editing solution before (with Brief[Wiki], which is cloned by CRiSP, an editor which I still think is superior to Emacs[Wiki] but whose licensing costs became high enough that it was worth it to retrain my fingers), and I hated the time it took me to transition away from it. And the dev plan includes a fork at which point we may consider cross-platform, so I'm unwilling to sell my soul just yet. I think markd's suggestion of Emacs[Wiki] in the terminal is probably reasonable, as I don't really do any mousing in it.

I was just hoping for reasonable mousiness because I've been doing cross-platform Windows[Wiki] and Linux[Wiki] stuff, and boy those extra clicks for operations that are pretty much what you want to do anyway are a royal pain in the tuchus. However, it sounds like Apple's treatment of copy and paste in terminals beats the hell out of how Windows[Wiki] does it.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-03-31 23:55:45.702413+00 by: Dori [edit history]

What I would recommend is checking out the freeware TextWrangler. If you like it, great. If you don't like it, it didn't cost anything. If you like it, but kept wishing it did a few more things, upgrade to BBEdit.

Yes, it's $200 to buy BBEdit, unless you're upgrading from a free application, in which case it's $130. No, nobody claims that that makes sense, but it's the way to go.

Alternatively, you can take a look at the 43 Folders wiki, which says:

OS X Panther already includes Emacs 21.1.1. Carbon versions are available from Alex Rice and Enrico Franconi.

#Comment Re: [Entry #7798] Re: made: 2005-04-01 03:31:02.788284+00 by: John Anderson

Dan Lyke <danlyke@flutterby.com> writes:

> 1. What's the best Emacs binary to be using?

You'll want to stay away from the one Apple ships. There's a "Carbonized" binary out there, but I can't remember where I downloaded it from -- check the [EmacsWiki][1], because I am sure there is a listing in there.


>     2. If I use this with a 3-5 button mouse, can I set up an X style
>        swipe/paste without having to copy?

For stuff that's running under the Apple version of X11, yes (copy from xterm to xterm works fine, in other words). For "normal" Mac app to X11 or vice versa, I don't think so.

> 3. Similar for focus-follows-mouse?

Can't answer that on account of thinking FFM is Eeeeeevil.

> 4. How does it interpret "Meta" versus "Alt"?

I think this is tweakable. I know that under X11, the way I have things set up, the "apple" key (aka the cloverleaf key, aka the keys to either side of the spacebar) is Meta. I don't remember if it worked that way out of the box or not.

> Those are my first big ones.

Having been doing the Apple thing on a laptop for some time, I can tell you it's not all that bad. If nothing else, you'll be able to run a version of X11, which means that worse-case, you're just displaying stuff back over a SSH tunnel to the Real Computer in your life. 8^)=

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-01 16:01:44.966655+00 by: meuon

Laughing.. Darn Geeks.. Swapping OS's comes down to: Can I use the text editor I have invested many hours into being efficient with. (personally, I am still using Joe.. I am such a simpleton in comparison)

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-01 16:14:12.842534+00 by: Dan Lyke

The big thing with focus follows mouse is whether or not your system requires the focus window to be frontmost. Systems which do are hopelessly b0rken and have no business calling themselves windowing systems.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-01 16:27:30.174443+00 by: markd

The only thing I found myself using FFM back when I did a lot of X11 was for terminals. Anything requiring more than a couple of keystrokes I always ended up bringing it to the front so I could mouse with it. I live in Terminal.app most of the time now, with command-keys to flip between windows (at least the first 10 of them. I rarely go near that these days. Typically one per machine, and then I run shells in emacs). Faster than reaching for a mouse. (un)fortunately (depending on your POV), the "focus is topmost window" is ingrained in the OS, the user community, and the developer community.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-01 16:42:51.605827+00 by: Dan Lyke

...the "focus is topmost window" is ingrained in the OS, the user community, and the developer community.

Violence is the only option.

I guess this is mostly a screen space issue with me, but I like having just enough of my editor visible so that I can type into it while my reference material is topmost.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-02 00:35:30.664153+00 by: igor'

Dan, I will look for complete answers to all the question when I get to my mac, but

1)emacs binary: http://www.xemacs.org/ http://members.shaw.ca/akochoi-xemacs/ is here they have carbon version out. before I just built one under OSX X11 but thats a pain.

2-4 I have to look. Apple with OSX is really the best terminal I have ever used; its not 100% possible to use it without another computer yet, but for 90% of things and terminal work its great.

one thing that you might wanna use if you use the powerbook as a laptop sometimes: http://gnufoo.org/ucontrol/ucontrol.html remaps keys and enables using the touchpad for scrolling.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-03 01:03:23.88173+00 by: Dori [edit history]

enables using the touchpad for scrolling.

If he's getting a brand-new Powerbook, it'll come with that built-in:

Scrolling through web pages or large documents on a trackpad can challenge even the most nimble fingers. That's why every 15-inch PowerBook G4 features a new trackpad with scrolling capability. Just drag two fingers over the trackpad to scroll vertically and horizontally or pan around any active window. Change this feature to suit your needs: Customize your trackpad settings or turn off scrolling completely via System Preferences.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-04-13 23:15:28.616515+00 by: Dan Lyke

It's an older Apple loaner, so I didn't get the trackpad scrolling. Crossing my fingers for what happens two months out.