Friday, May 29, 2020

making a new mac feel like home

When I replaced my 2012-era MacBook Air with one of the new models I used Apple's Migration Assistant - good results in the end.

With my new work laptop (mercifully one of the new MacBook Pros with a proper escape key) I was setting it up from scratch, so here were some notes on the quality of life improvements I make, most of which I've written about before:

Settings I fix up:
  • Add a "Quick Action" for convert to jpg (for HEIC images bumped over from iPhone)
  • Make Paste and Match Style the system wide default for cmd-V - especially noticeable for the Stickies application
  • Change the default Screenshot location to ~/Downloads
  • Arrange the Finder sidebar - I do favor ~/Downloads as my generic "temp" space so it makes sense to make it higher in the shortcut list there.
  • Get all that extra crap out of the Dock and make it automatically hide
  • Make Terminal automatically close when I exit the shell ( Go to Terminal|Preferences|Profiles|Basic/Default and select “When the shell exits:”)
  • Finder I set to always show extensions
  • I don't like most of the "More Gestures" under Trackpad settings except for Mission Control (3 finger swipe up to see all windows) and I enable App Exposé (3 finger swipe down for just the windows of the current app - not sure why that's disabled by default.)
  • MacOS' default shell is now zsh. I fire up `pico ~/.zlogin` and set the following:
    alias ls="ls -F"
    That shows me which directory entries are directories themselves, and then a nice minimalist prompt with a condensed version of the path, and the rocketship (from Edit | Emoji & Symbols) reminds me I'm on my home system.
Some Apps I add:
  • SizeUp and HyperSwitch - I set up opt-cmd-arrows to bounce around windows like a boss with the keyboard in SizeUp, and HyperSwitch restores sanity to switching to Terminal or Finder - opening a window if there aren't any there, just like clicking on the Dock.  
  • Add the convenient menu bar status menu quick note apps Tot and Tyke - (also for the first time I noticed I can use cmd-drag to rearrange that top bar! My employer has a bunch of VPN and file sharing stuff that has to live there but I can shunt it off to the side)
  • Add Haptic Touch Bar, switch over to traditional button like controls, and shove them over to the side where they won't be accidentally brushed... (still so foolish that a finger brush is the same as a click for the touch bar!)
Common Apps I need to tweak:
  • In Chrome I like the "Humble New Page Tab" for getting a view of my bookmarks, and adding the React plug in etc.
  • Install Visual Studio Code... I like the “Quiet Light” Color Theme, and then I've been using plugins Prettier - Code Formatter (making sure format on save is on), ESLint, ES7 React/Redux-Native snippets, Babel JavaScript - and I disable auto-completion of quotes and braces

Anyway, nice to have reference to the little things that make a Mac more comfortable for me.

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