Friday
Jan302009

Apple Remote Desktop

I have a variety of headless Macs, including an instrument control computer and two Mac Pros for heavy duty processing.

Apple Remote Desktop isn't cheap, but is well worth it for helping to administer a bunch of Macs.  Especially nice is the VNC client that comes with it, which has a number of controls for adapting to low bandwidth situations (e.g. turning down the color depth, including all the way to B/W).

Not an absolute necessity, but it makes my life easier and is therefore worth it.  (Especially when needing to eavesdrop remotely on robotic observing sessions via crummy low bandwidth connections.)

Install from disks.  Will need serial number (is on box of disks).

Friday
Jan302009

Firefox

I typically keep both Firefox and Safari open simultaneously.  Each has its strengths, plus you can then be logged into two different gmail accounts at the same time.

Download Firefox.

Thursday
Jan292009

Omniweb

Do I really need a third browser (beyond Safari and Firefox)?

Not really.

But, Omniweb has one feature that I keep coming back to.  Open "Window -> Error Log" and make sure "Show HTTP requests" is checked.  You now can see all of your http requests.  Very very useful for when you're trying to figure out how to script web-site interactions.

Thursday
Jan292009

Emacs on the Mac: Aquamacs

I've used a variety of emacs/xemacs installations on the Mac.

While not 100% perfect, I usually come back to Aquamacs which is a version of Emacs specifically compiled for OSX and that integrates with the rest of the system well.  It's free (but, donate if you can) and includes all the usual Emacs goodies (syntax highlighting etc. for nearly every language you might ever touch) and responds to all the usual emacs key-combos as well as the Mac equivalents (e.g. saving can be accomplished by either ctrl-x-s or cmd-s), which is good for those of us whose muscle memories sometimes forget where we are.

http://aquamacs.org/

Thursday
Jan292009

OmniFocus: For lists and reminders

I use OmniFocus in a relatively simplistic way compared to what it can do. But it's great for tracking to-do's on different projects and popping up reminders at me to pay my credit card bill or change the water filter at our house.  One of these days I might even explore some of its fancier features.

http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnifocus/

Tips:

To copy to a new Mac you need to copy over:


  1. ~/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus

  2. ~/Library/Preferences/com.omnigroup.OmniFocus.plist


NOTE: OmniFocus keeps a lot of backups in ~/Documents/OmniFocus Backups. In switching to my new laptop I noticed that it had 1 gig of backups on my old laptop. Presumably one could delete some of these backups on a regular basis. (Hello Hazel, who now keeps this folder cleaned up for me.)