HOW TO USE A MAC: A LUDDITE’S GUIDE

Keyboard3So I have been using my MacBook Pro for several months now. I tend to only use the Mac when I am working on some of my hobby projects so I don’t have the luxury of a full immersion. This is less a guide and more a description of my voyage of discovery, with a modicum of whining and complaining.

Lately I have been creating various nodeJS skeleton projects. I will admit this is proving to be much easier on the Mac than on my Windows PC. Most of the open source guides are built around a Unix prompt which removes the need to translate the commands to Windows. I really do appreciate how painless the process is when most of the commands just work on the Mac, without the need to install emulators and one off tool sets.

So what have I struggled with the most on my Mac? Let’s talk about the touch pad and multi-finger scrolling. I love all the ways I can use the Mac without needing a mouse but for crying out loud, how about a little help. Every time I turned around one my fellow Mac users was showing me yet another gesture that works miracles on my Mac. Single finger double tap (select), single finger tap and hold with second finger scroll (mass selection), double finger tap (right click), two finger scroll, that would have been nice to know a little earlier, and finally, three finger scrolling. My favorite of all of this is the ability to swap between desktop, very nice feature. My only real complaint is the lack of instruction. I get the sense that there is an expectation that only experienced Mac users would be using a Mac. I thought Macs were so easy even a small child could use it, I don’t buy it.

Since I have been doing a lot of nodeJS development I spend a lot of time at a command prompt. Yet another Mac user showed me a way to split by my terminal window vertically (command+D) and horizontally (shift+command+D). Full screen, six-pane terminal windows meets all of my needs. Yet another really cool feature. This falls into what I consider an advanced feature so I won’t complain about not discovering this myself. I will also admin here that I miss this feature on my Windows box.

Let’s talk a little bit about the delete key, or what any sane person calls a “backspace” key. This is probably my number one source of frustration coming from the Windows world. Having to hit fn+delete to actually perform a delete is proving difficult to overcome. I guess my real complaint here is that the key should be named backspace, not delete. I guess if I were a better typist and developer I would never need such a thing as a “delete” key.

So, after three months of sporadic usage I am still far from comfortable using my Mac but I have not given up, nor will I. I am sure there are many more hidden gems that will improve my productivity. I just need to stick with it.

Do you have a Mac Tip? Comment below!

In case you missed it, check out Part 1 of Scott’s MacBook journey here.


Wolf Facts — There are two recognized species of wolves in the world, the red and the gray. Scientists continue to disagree over how many subspecies of wolves exist, anywhere from 4 to 24 worldwide, stay tuned 🙂

Gish_Wolf4BW
– Scott Gish, Launch Architect/Dev Manager

Scott Gish is an Architect & Development Manager at Launch Consulting. When he’s not coding for work, he’s often coding for fun. You’ll find him tinkering with his Raspberry Pi and creating 3D spiral galaxies in nodeJS. ~~implementa facere~~

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