Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Mac Freezes!

I read many articles about how stable Mac it is, compared to Windows. I though Mac never freezes. However, I had several cases my Mac freezes!

One common case is that when I tried to edit iTune's information for a song, somehow, the cursor becomes to waiting one and no response for ever! The only way to stop it is to terminate the process. This is not too bad to do it. Move the cursor to another application or Finder, and then select Force Quit... from Apple's menu. It looks like Terminal services in Windows. I can see my iTune is not responding. I had to kill it.

Another even worse case is that when I play a podcast from remote control, no response happened to me once. From there, there is no way to get back to my desktop. I tried to press esc key and remote buttons. No one is responding! The only way is to turn off the power. Hold on the power button behind the lower left conner for a while to shut down the power.

Nothing is perfect. In general, I am still very content with my Mac performance.

Friday, March 21, 2008


One thing I am missing is the New file list from context menu in Windows. Today I found one doing the same thing on Mac: NullFile. After installing it, I have the New file with list types I need. That is very cool!

Another application I like in Windows is clipboard manager tool: Ditto. It is an open source project. It uses a light weighted text db to store all the clipboard cuts. One great feature of this app is that you can create a folder to save your most commonly used cuts. I found one similar tool for Mac. It is called Jumpcut, an open source. It saves me a lots of time to find my previous cuts. However, it is does not have a folder feature for saving and grouping my clipboard cuts.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Like my Mac!

The more I use Mac, the more I like it. It is really very impressive computer and OS.

First, I restored the mouse back to the original settings. Mac mouse does not clear right button. I think that is why both buttons are set to primary button. Actually, the for context menu, just hold done Control button and click will get the same right click as Windows right click. Therefore I am back to Mac's settings.

Another add-on I found for Firefox is Vimperator. It is a very good add-on. It is based on VI or VIM's hjkl keys to move keys around the browser. As it was said, the muscle of memory is so powerful. It takes some time to get used to these special keys. This is repeat process, after a while I am very comfortable about it. The reason I was looking for something like this is that JP mentioned VIM + ReSharper. That brought my memory of VI. I used VI very rarely. It was so hard to learn. However, VI fun's passion left very deep impression in my mind. I really like to avoid use less mouse as possible. It is a pain to use mouse sometimes, specially when it is hard to find it and reposition it. Keyboard should be good enough to handle most jobs. For example, take a look how Chinese are typed in to Windows and Mac with the same English OS!

To install applications to Mac is also painless process. In most cases, you will get application package in dmg file. When it is loaded or opened, application file or folder is opened in a Finder. Just drag the application to a folder to install it! No more configuration or registrations. It is also very easy to uninstall the program, just put it to Trash!

The recommendation to install applications is to put them in /Applications/ folder. However, I don't want to mess up none-Mac OS applications there. I prefer to create /MyApplications/ folder and place all my favorite applications there. In this way, I know what are original Mac applications, and what are other provider's applications. It makes finding applications much easy. If I have to install my favorite applications to another Mac, I just go to MyApplications to find them.

Another tip for me is that I always create an Alias for the application. Then I log in to another user and then drag the Alias to the user's Desktop. The application is available for use. That is very simple!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Firebox Add-ons

One reason I like Firefox so much is that there are so many open source or free Add-ons for Firebox. Those handy ones make my web surfing much more easy and convenient! The problem is that if I go to another place (work) or update my computer (like my new Mac), I have to install them again. Sometimes it is not easy to remember their names. Here is list of my favorite ones:

  • FireBug: Great tool for developers to view and verify detail source codes, ccs, scripts and more for a web page.

  • FoxClocks: Keeps eye on a list of times over the world

  • Ansers: Alt+click on any word or item for quick info...

  • ChromaTabs: make your tabs colorful!

  • ColorZilla: add color to your tabs.

  • Cooliris Prviews: Browse a link without leaving the page.

  • DOM Inpsector: inspect the structure and properties of a window and its contents.

  • FireFTP: FTP client for Firefox.

  • Forecastfox: handy status icon with local & internaltion weather.

  • MeasureIt: draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements on a we page...

  • Tab Mix Plus: add advanced tab features. If you have installed color tab add-ons, you may need to configure the current tab in box and under line. Otherwise, you may not find which one is the current one!

  • Talkback: sends information about program crashes the Mozillar. Trust Mozilla and Firefox to make good browser!

  • Web Developer: add a menu of various web developer tools.

I try to make the list short, but they are really good ones. I may add more to this list!

Shortcut Keys for Firefox and More...

I like to use shortcut keys in Firefox. They are very convenient. In my new Mac, I finally find out several useful shortcut keys for Firefox:

  • Command-L: jump the focus to location bar and all the text are highlighted.

  • Command-left or right arrow key: move the text cursor to the beginning or end of the current line. I think this is the Mac generic key. These keys are very handy when you edit or in Firefox URL or Google search text box control.

  • Command-K: jump the cursor to search bar and all the text there are highlighted.

  • In search bar: Command-page down key displays the history texts in a drop down list.

  • In search bar: Command-up or down arrow key to change search engine.

  • Command-[: go back to previous web page.

  • In Firefox browser area: Command-up or down array key to jump to the beginning or end of the page.

  • In Firefox browser area: Command-left or right array key to go to previous or next visited page.
  • Command-T: to open a new tab.

  • Command-W: to close a tab.

  • Control-page up or down: to move to previous or next tab.

  • F5: to refresh the page.

  • Command-N: to open a new window.

  • Jump to location bar, type some key words. Press Command-Enter to add http:// and .com around your word and open the link.

  • /: to open a search in Firefox. Command-G to find the next, and Command-shift-G to the previous one.

  • More about shortcut keys!

With these convenient keys, you will enjoy your web surfing!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Migrate to Mac

As a long time Windows user, the start experience of using Mac is quick challenge, but it is really worthwhile to spend some time to learn Mac.

Mouse Configuration

First, it is the mouse click. By default, my new Mac's mouse is configured with both left and right mouse buttons being same. Since the outside appearance of the mouse does not show these buttons clearly, I thought there was not right click button! Finally, I found the configuration from System Preference, where you can configure the right click as the secondary button. I changed it and it works!

Home and End Keys

As I mentioned that I installed Firefox in my Mac since I am not happy with the limitations of add-ins available for the Safari, and all the tabs opened in the previous session cannot be restored. Actually, there are some places where some scripts are provided to enable this feature, but I don't like this way. What happens if I change my Mac or I get another one like laptops. I have to recall to do this again. In addition to this, Firebox has more features available and I know it very well.

The problem I had when I first used Firefox in Mac is that the Home and End keys do not work in the same way as in Windows. It was very frustrating without the feature. I always to want to highlight all the text and retype new works or links again. I searched on web for solutions. There are some suggestions to configure Home and End keys for Firefox. It is very interesting to know that some configuration can be set in my home's Library folder. Basically, you can add your configuration for keys.

However, I found out this actually is not necessary at all. Some one suggested to use the default Mac keys to resolve the issue. That's very simple. You just have to learn the Mac first. Don't force the Mac in the same way like Windows. For example, Command + left arrow key is equivalent to the beginning of the current line and the combination of right arrow key is to the end of the line. That's very simple and solves my problem!

By the way, the Command key is very similar to Control key in Windows, or PC I should say correctly. Command + C is for cut, Command + V for paste, Command + A for select all, Command + Z for undo, and so on. For Firefox, Command + L is to jumping the current focus to Address bar control. I have not find out a short-cut to move to google search bar control yet.

Learn Mac 101

I realized that I have to spend some time to learn Mac OS and basics, just like I did for Windows long time ago. I have been keeping learning Windows all the time as well. Therefore, the basics of Mac is very important for me. I think this is the right step to migrate to Mac. Apple's Mac 101 is a great resource to start.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I got a Mac!

I purchased a 24" iMac computer directly from two weeks ago. I had this plan to jump in Mac's world long time ago when I saw Apple moved to Intel. I hold this plan until leopard is released and stable.

Every thing is new for me. It has been quick adventure and exciting experience for me to learn the Mac computer. I have been Windows user since I started to use computer, back to DOS 3.0. Then I installed Ubuntu last year. The reason I tried to explore other computers is that I find out it is very hard to handle security and OS stable issues.

Any way, cut in short. This blogger will be my experience for Mac computer. My initial experience is a very exiting and happy one. As a long time Windows user, I always try to find out if there is similarities I can use in Mac.

First, I created several user account in the Mac. It looks very nice. I am admin and other family members are standard users. Each user has their own space and very secured, unlike Windows sometimes I can see other user's information, files, and applications. I think this separation in Mac is very well done. I hope I would not worry about other people to mess up my account any more.

I tried to use Safari first. However, I am not very happy with it. It would not save my tabs and I could not find good addins for Safari. Then I had to install Firefox. That is a very good decision. I know Firefox very well. All the addins I used before I can add to my Mac Firefox, with addition ones, such as Yoono and color tabs. I think Firefox is the best web browser!

For office jobs, I installed Open Office. The installation is very smooth. I also install other applications. Installation in Mac is so simple. Just copy the package to a folder and it is available right away. I don't like to install other party applications to Mac's default Application folder. I would like keep Mac's stuff there. What I did is creating a folder MyApplicaiton in the root. All my other apps are copied there (instead of copy to Applications as recommended by most installation package). In this way, I can easily to add an alias to other user's account(of course, I had to log in to add alias to other user's desktop, not directly from my account to do that!).

For emails, I use web based emails most. I used Mail for my Shaw account but it is not very commonly used.

For on line messenger, I tried iChat but not like it. It does not support adding people for other messenger users(may be I don't know). I tried PSI but with no luck to find a server. Finally, I find out Adium. It is a very impressive one. I can add my .Net messenger, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger there. That is my first experience. I may have to further to find out how it works. By the way, QQ is available for Adium as well.

I installed RealPlayer and it works well.

I tried to open my mpg videos I recorded by Sony HD cam-recorder. I cannot open it in iMovie. I tried to find some other conversion tools such as iSquint, but no luck. This is a big concern for me. I think I have to purchase MEPG-2 convert tool either from Apple or other parties.

So far, I am very happy with this new computer. It is amazing computer. I like its interface, easy use and security. More experience will be added later on!