Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Continuing my belated adoption of Mac OS X

Well, I don't know what's come over me but I'm actually beginning to like, and even appreciate, some of the finer points of OSX.
Some of the things I did today were:

1. I really miss not having yakuake in OSX. However, all is not lost as there is something that's almost the same called Visor. Here's how to install it and here's a set of comments when this was dugg (some useful comments here).
Installing is simple. I set F8 as the hotkey as almost all the other F keys do something on the Mac (F12=Dashboard, F11=Clears desktop, F10=move the current app page back, F9=does the same, F6=Numlock, F3-F5=Sound volume, F1-F2=Screen brightness)
Although the dropdown terminal works fine, its not as "pretty" as Yakuake and is not nearly as configurable. Indeed, it looks more like Guake which is the Gnome version of Yakuake.
Also, once Visor has been added as a terminal plugin, the terminal in the dock no longer launcher when the dock icon is clicked. You need to right-click the icon and choose and option to get it to launch in any of a variety of skins.
Nevertheless, Visor does work fine.

2. Gmail notifier. I installed this easily in the menu bar from here.
In addition, I was able to locate a Gmail widget in the vast list of extra widgets which is now in my dashboard.
Actually, I'm finding the dashboard to be a very convenient way to easily retrieve a bunch of frequently used small apps (middle mouse button click) and get rid of them as easily. Right now I have in my dashboard 3 weather icons (for cities I either live in or frequently visit), Gmail notifier, LastFm player, Time, iCal, RTM, Flight Tracker and a translator.

3.One thing that has annoyed me about OS X is that my browser page doesn't fill the screen although it's easy to drag the page so that it does fill the screen. However, it's a bit of a pain having to do this every single time you restart the browser.
It seems I'm not the only one inconvenienced by this. This guy suggests a workaround. However, even the workaround still requires some action to get the page activated. Nevertheless, it is better than nothing.
haven't tried this yet but I probably will soon.

4. The time shown in the menu bar shows only the day of the week but not the actual date despite the fact that I have the "Show date and time in menu bar" box checked. I posted to the MacRumors forums about this and apparently it's not possible to see the date. However, and I'd never noticed this, the iCal icon in the dock always todays date.

5. I wanted to edit speeddial.ini to provide more speeddial locations. However, I realized that I didn't know how to edit text files in OSX. But, I quickly found out how:
$ open -a texteditor ~/Library/Preferences/"Opera Preferences"/speeddial.ini
Actually, I couldn't find the link where I got this stuff from and I don't fully understand the command, in particular, what's the -a for?

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