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Mac tips

Mac tips

I am now in possession of a MacBook Pro, which I will be using as my development machine. This page contains tips and advice on setting up or using a Mac.

Useful software to install

  • Aquamacs Emacs (text editor, emacs that uses aqua)
  • Things (task manager)
  • Firefox
  • Eclipse (IDE)
  • Thunderbird (although I am going to give a go)

Switching from Thunderbird to

I am trying out to see if it is better than Thunderbird. I wanted to import not only my address book but also my email groups that I had set up on Thunderbird. Os/x includes a system wide address book application which is used by and many other programs. Here's how I got my address info across from Thunderbird.

Importing addresses

  • Start up Thunderbird
  • Open up the address book (Tools>Address book)
  • Export the address book (Tools>Export). I chose to export as LDIF as I knew LDIF import is supported on the mac.
  • Transfer the LDIF file across to the mac
  • Start up the address book application
  • Import the LDIF file (File>Import>LDIF)

Importing groups

This was a bit trickier.

  • Download the Thunderbird addon MoreFunctionsForAddressBook, xpi file available here:
  • Install the addon (Tools>Add ons then click install and select the xpi file to install)
  • Start up the address book (Tools>Address book)
  • Right click on a group and choose export as vcf (this creates a single vcard file with the members of the group on it)
  • Transfer the vcf file across to the mac
  • Start up the address book application
  • Import the vcard file (File>Import>vCards)
  • Select all the names listed under the "Last Import"
  • Create a new group from the selection (File>New group from selection)

Syncing ical with google calendar

It is possible to get ical to sync directly with google calendar (push and pull both ways):

Set up of ichat

ichat can use your google chat account as well.

Configuring GUI

Enabling active corners for expose shortcuts is a good idea (quicker than using function keys). I set up one corner as my screen saver, one as clear desktop and one as display all windows. (System preferences>Expose and Spaces, click on expose)

The trackpad can be configured to give right click and left click behaviour. (single finger for left click, two fingers for right click). There are some other nifty options too. (System preferences>Keyboard & Mouse>Trackpad)