Strange Brouhaha

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mac Software I Am Using

For no good reason, I'm trying out the Firefox web browser on my Macintosh. I've been using Firefox for a while on my Windows and Linux machines (back when I actually had Linux machines) and it's a great browser. I just never got around to installing it on the Mac; after all, there's nothing really wrong with Safari. It does, however, make for a more unified cross-platform browsing experience.

(I do find it annoying, however, that Firefox doesn't recognize some of the keyboard shortcuts that I'm used to using with Safari, like cmd-up for "top of page" [the same, I know, as fn-left]. But I'll get over it.)

Also for no good reason, I've replaced the default with a free terminal program called iTerm. Actually, there is a very good reason I'm using iTerm, and that is that you can redefine the ANSI colors. I'm a light-gray-text-on-black-background guy, and the regular ANSI blue--which ls -G uses to denote subdirectories when you do a directory listing, and which is also an important color in the vim colorscheme I use--is too dark to see comfortably against a black background on the Macintosh. (I've had that problem under Linux with gnome-terminal, too.) You can see it against a white background, but I don't like a white background. I've been able to considerably lighten the blue, which is fantastic. It makes Terminal usable with the backlighting turned down.

The one thing I don't really like about iTerm is that it's very poorly documented. I'm considering offering to write a manual for the application, actually, because it's a fairly good piece of software. There are a lot of interface clunks to deal with, and if the app itself can't be revised to be a little more consistent, at least the inconsistencies can be documented.

I've also switched from to an adaptation of OOo called NeoOffice/J. NeoOffice/J is a true Mac OS application; the only available Mac OS version of required X11 to run. This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it meant among other things that it was a Unix app, not a Mac app, and if I recall correctly, you couldn't cut and paste from OOo into a Mac app like TextEdit. Bad bad bad. I have yet to really stress-test NeoOffice, but it's certainly better than having to run the "" script to launch X11 to launch OOo.

Let's see, what else? This isn't exactly new, but I'm using Eclipse for Java development, as well as to deepen my understanding of JUnit unit testing. I like using Apple's XCode, but (because I'm dumb) I can't figure out how to integrate JUnit into it. I dunno, maybe you can't. There's certainly no info on it on the web.

I have yet to spring for the upgrade to Tiger, the new version of Mac OS X. It has a lot of cool new features (like Dashboard, although the horrible security hole [which they're fixing] is a big turn-off), but I think I'm going to wait a bit before I drop my dough on it. I don't really need any of the new features, and I'm comfortable with the way things are working right now.

Digression: I ordered replacement feet for my iBook yesterday. They arrived today. Now, I like Apple a whole bunch, and it kicks ass that "3 to 5 business days" turns out to be "under 24 hours" but the feet came in two small plastic zip-top bags packed in a 9x5x2-inch cardboard box with acoustical foam padding. I think that a #11 envelope would have worked just as well. But I'm not complaining, really, since my iBook no longer wobbles when I type. (No, it was not free. I wasn't expecting it to be. It was worth the small price.)


  • By the way...yes, you could just code up some unit tests for individual modules using vim on the command line, then run the tests using junit.textui.TestRunner, but that's not exactly integrated, is it?

    By Blogger Robert, at 12:15 AM  

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