When Apple released new revs of the MacBook Air and the Mac Mini, I decided to go for it and get one of each. As I find migrating my old stuff to a new computer distasteful and somehow unclean, I set them up from scratch. Here’s a rough description of what I did, pretty unedited, and mostly so I can remember what to do next time.
First, there are a bunch of settings in control panels that I had to change:
Language & Text Preferences
- Switch my keyboard layout to Dvorak, leaving qwerty as an option for games, etc.
- Switch off “Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling or navigating.” Yeesh!
- Bump up the tracking speed quite a bit. 30″ is too big for that slow speed.
- Turn on screen sharing, file sharing, and remote login (sshd)
- Start up automatically after power failure
- Restart automatically if the computer freezes
- sign in, click sync automatically. Check Bookmarks and Contacts, enable Back to my Mac and move on. Say replace information on this computer when asked. Boom.
Mail, Contacts & Calendars
- This new control panel makes it pretty easy to set up sync for these accounts, but Add my mobile me account for calendar and mail here, then add my gmail accounts for mail and chat… Doh! First snag. “Mail couldn’t discover the account settings for the Mail server “hudson-trading.com”. Fail! It popped open Mail.app and needs me to enter settings manually. Sigh. Tried imap.google.com, but I guess that was wrong… Ah ha. imap.gmail.com. Ok fine. Done. Wasted about 3 minutes on that foolishness.
- One other detail here is that I want to have my tripit calendar sync, so I have to actually open up iCal to set this up. I wish I could pair it to my mobile me account or something, but that’s not available.
- Home network was easy to set up during initial setup.
- Set up work VPN.
- Turn on remote login (sshd) and screen sharing.
- Turn on tap to click and secondary click with two fingers in the point & click pane
- Turn off Scroll direction: natural in the scroll & zoom pane
- In the more gestures pane, turn on app exposé
As an aside, regarding Mission Control, I am really not a fan so far. It takes too much power away. No vertical spaces? Dumb. I’m not on a fracking iPad. I can use the up and down arrow keys, thanks.
Anyway, at this point run Software Update to get system updates and run App Store to get updates for preinstalled apps. Then open mail to start syncing. It’ll take a while to get my whole account.
So now I’ve got my mail, calendars, and contacts. Everything is syncing nicely. I’m on the home network. Next step is to get my essential apps:
First, the ones that aren’t in the App Store and are therefore a pain to get:
Dropbox is completely essential to my computer use nowadays. I store all kinds of stuff, sync, app state, store my 1Password info. Yet I still use the free account. If i need more space I’ll sign up for the pay version, but so far it hasn’t been a problem. When I installed it, I got a weird error that said “URLs with the type ‘nwnode:’ are not supported.” but everything still seems to be working fine, so no big deal.
I use Dropbox to sync my papers for Papers2, my 1Password data, my Delicious Library content, scans of important documents. Various files for projects I’m working on. Important images like copies of my passport and license, etc. It’s great. Sometimes to sync an app’s content you need to use some symbolic link action. Like for Delicious Library 2, I’ve got a ~/Dropbox/AppSync/Delicious Library folder and I use a symbolic link to point Delicious Library 2 at the right spot.
ie: ln -s "~/Dropbox/AppSync/Delicious Library" "~/Library/Application Support/Delicious Library 2"
I really couldn't get online without 1Password. My passwords are too complicated to remember and they're all stored in here. So are my credit cards and all kinds of other important information. It's a great app and makes all my info available on my iPhone, Macs, Windows boxes -- everywhere. However, I can't really start using it until my data syncs down from Dropbox, since that's where all my encrypted info is maintained. And, that's going to take a few hours to sync.
At this point I opened the Mac Mini box about 1 hour ago, just to keep track of how long all this is taking.
Sonos Desktop Controller — I’ve got Sonos all over my house. It’s fantastic. Get it. My computer audio goes through the Sonos in my office, so this is necessary for me to get sound turned on.
PandoraJam — Great app if you listen to Pandora.
Papers2 (and Open In Papers Safari extension) — When I find a journal article I want to read or a spec I need to keep track of, or even an Intel manual, I stuff them into Papers 2, which is kept in sync with my iPad whenever I remember. I sync the papers between my Macs using Dropbox.
Mathematica — I don’t install this everywhere. Just laptop & home. But it’s totally sweet. However, it seems to be a bit of a pain to move from one machine to another, copy-protection wise.
R — I’m just learning to use this, but it seems pretty killer for analysis of large datasets.
VirusBarrier — All those dimwits that say Macs are totally safe and only Windows users need to fear are living in a fairy land. Malware is going to hit Macs hard and when it does, people are going to be totally caught by surprise. Anyway, VirusBarrier seems to be the best of the lot and, what I particularly like is that it claims to try to prevent ssh attacks. I’m not 100% sure I believe it yet, but at least it’s trying.
Rosetta Stone — I mean to learn French & Italian at some point… Maybe Mandarin?
ScanSnap software — I’ve got a ScanSnap 500. It’s critical. I scan bills, documents, prescriptions, reports. All kinds of stuff. Indispensable.
Ok. That’s it for non app-store apps.
Now the apps that are in the App Store and are super incredibly easy to install:
Xcode — Hm. It says “In order to continue installation, please close the following application: iTunes”. But iTunes isn’t running. iTunesHelper was running, but I killed that, too and it still didn’t continue. So I tried killing the alertAll window directly. That let the install continue to completion. Crazy. Did they test this OS at all? This would never have gotten past a Windows Beta cycle. Anyway, it all worked out. (Update: They’ve fixed this with a new release of the Xcode installer.)
Evernote — Syncs and has notes. Easy and good.
Reeder — Great for reading your google reader blogs.
Kindle — I use this to look up stuff in technical books on my compy.
MarsEdit — I’m using thsi to help write this blog. It’s not really that great, but it seems like there isn’t any decent mac blogging application. Nothing to compare with the superb Windows Live Writer for PC. I almost want to install Windows in parallels just for that.
Coda — Great for web page editing. I don’t use it much, though. Mostly just to upload the 1st version of WordPress I put on. But now WordPress has update right from the webpage.
LimeChat — Best Mac irc client.
Scrivener — Amazing for working on big text research projects or, perhaps someday, a novel.
Things — My personal todo list. I tried briefly to use Wunderlist, but it just wasn’t up to the task (it is basically a prettied up Fisher Price My First Todo List App — no contexts, no tags, no recurring tasks. Bah.). And now that Things has cloud sync in beta, I don’t think I’ll suffer too long before everything is syncing around with Things. I use taskwarrior at work since I spend so much time at the command line. But I use Things for my personal todos.
Day One — A diary app. On 1st run sees that I’ve got my journal in my Dropbox, and everything is ready to go.
Delicious Library 2 — I actually didn’t buy this on the App Store, but the App Store is so convenient that I purchased it again via the App Store, just so I can install it all around without worrying about serial numbers and licenses and such nonsense. This program is great for keeping track of my books, movies and games. I wish it did something with comic books and barcodes, but it doesn’t. I’ve got the bluetooth infra-red barcode scanner and that makes entering books a breeze.
And now the super nerdy command line things — these need to wait, really, until Xcode is installed.
Homebrew + brews:
git — Looks like this comes ready to go! No need to do anything.
zsh — Lion comes with zsh 4.3.11, but the latest is 4.3.12 (from 5/31/2011) and it has some fixes I want, especially for syntax highlighting at the command line, so I’ll get it with brew.
macvim — Not quite as necessary as it was with Snow Leopard, since Lion comes with 7.3, but it’s compiled without python support, ruby support, etc. And I want those. So with brew again! The brew automatically gets perl, python, ruby, tcl interpreters, sets features=huge, etc. But it doesn’t come with cscope support automatically, and I want that. (Speaking of which, Lion keeps trying to autocorrect cscope –> scope, which is annoying as hell.)
So I’m going to run: brew install macvim –custom-icons –with-cscope –with-envycoder –override-system-vim –enable-clipboard
ack — Soooooooo much better than grep.
auto jump — Sooooooo much better than cd.
My dotfiles First, I need to get github ssh keys set up on this new machine. Here’s a fun tip to get it to your system clipboard ready for pasting with no fuss.
cat .ssh/id_rsa.pub | pbcopy
mighty:~ john$ git clone firstname.lastname@example.org:jsholmes/vimwiki
mighty:~ john$ cd .dotfiles
mighty:.dotfiles john$ rake install
mighty:.dotfiles john$ git submodule update --init
then I also have to update my oh-my-zsh submodules. I’m not yet 100% great at git. I’ll say that. But I’ve got a pretty cool setup.
mighty:oh-my-zsh john$ git submodule update --init
Edit /etc/shells to add my newly installed zsh in /usr/local/bin/zsh
I’ll write a separate post about my dotfiles in their entirety and why I uses certain vim plugins, zsh settings, etc.
Optional stuff (ie: only on some computers)
Prey — Only on the MacBook Air. If someone steals my computer, I can do all kinds of cool stuff to track them down with Prey. I’ve never had to use it, but I almost want to leave an old mac somewhere just to see it in action.
Isolator — Only at work. It’s a productivity tool that blanks out everything but the frontmost window. I’ve found it useful for focusing on a single app / window.
Vitamin R — another productivity aid. Keeps track of what I’m currently working on and for how long.
Time Sink — again, just at work. Keeps track of what you’re doing so you can see where you spend your time
Skim — pdf reader
Parallels — VM where I can run windows 7 (or windows 95 maybe for Atomic Bomberman??)
MondoMouse Zooom/2 — lets you move & resize windows more easily (MondoMouse wasn’t compatible with Lion and it turns out Zooom/2 is just as good if not better)
Flash MacOS 10.7 (Lion) really shows Apple’s distaste for Adobe Flash. When you see a webpage that has a flash plugin, it’s much harder to tell than on previous MacOS versions or in Windows. And it’s much more annoying to install now as well. Oh well. You can’t really get away from it, so I need to install it. Wow. Worse than I thought — you have to close Safari to install it. Good grief!
Online backup — right now I use time machine for all my macs at home to one destination or another. But having an online backup solution would be really great. I’ve been using Arq, but am thinking of switching over to Backblaze.
Other content I need to sync over still:
- Photos – will discuss in a future post
- Music – will discuss in a future post
What I still need to do / get:
- screen capture software for this blogging thing
- secure sshd and harden the mac otherwise
- remove my secure data from the old mac mini since it’s now the gatekeeper for the home network
Things I left on the old box:
ShareTool I access my home network from work using this. I mean to set up a VPN using my dd-wrt router, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.
SecuritySpy I look at my home security cameras with this.
Drobo An old drobo used for long term stable storage of old files.