Mac Tips

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Revision as of 14:30, 3 June 2009 by Dfalik (Talk | contribs) (Quicksilver)

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This list was compiled by Or Sattath from the Theory lab. Please fix unclear/incorrect/incomplete stuff that you find.

Recommended Configuration after a fresh install

Hebrew Support

On the dock (gray stuff on the bottom) go to System preferences => International => Input Menu Tab and check Hebrew (not Hebrew QWERTY). In order to switch the language using the keyboard shortcut, goto System preferences => Keyboard & Mouse => Keyboard Shortcuts. Check "Input Menu", and uncheck "Spotlight". Now Cmd+Space switches languages.

The Mouse

The mouse should be connected to the keyboard (There is a USB port in both upper corners of the keyboard, from the bottom).

You might want to have the regular 3-button mouse that we all know and love from Linux or Windows. So, go to Finder -> Go Menu -> Applications -> System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse. Choose the "Mouse" tab. Change the left button to be Primary button, the right to be Secondary button, and the middle to be Button 3. Your mouse has two buttons on the sides. If you squeeze both of them it starts "Expose". Try it and see...

The Keyboard

There is no Home and End keys. Press Cmd+left for going to the beginning of the line, and Cmd+right to the end of the line in most of the applications. For some reason, it doesn't work in Gmail. The workaround is to use Ctrl+e to go to the end of the line, but I'm not aware for any other shortcut that would bring you to the beginning of the line... Alt+left and Alt+right skip words.

Generally speaking, use the Cmd button, whenever you are used to the ctrl button (such as cmd+C to copy, and cmd+T to open a new tab) etc. Ctrl is only used for linux shortcuts in the terminal, and rarely elsewhere.

Finding Your hard disk using the terminal

If you are used to using the terminal, OS X has one. Start Finder -> Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal. Note that it has mutliple tab support (press cmd+T to start a new tab). The local hard disk is located in a strange place: /private/var/netboot. I suggest doing the following: cd ~ ln -s /private/hd/netboot hd

Whenever you want to go your hard-disk, you can do cd ~/hd .

And another tip: If you want to go to the top Finder widnow, type cdf in the shell. If you want your finder top window to go to the current terminal directory, type fdc (the opposite cdf, it is easy to remember).

And second tip: If you want to open an application, say firefox, then typing firefox won't work. In mac you need to do: open Firefox. I hate that! Quicksilver (see below) is a nice replacement.

Applications and the Dock

Some of the non-apple applications are at CS-applications, which is located in the Applications directory (open Finder, and press Cmd+Shift+A). You might want to add some of them to your dock: just drag them to the place that you prefer.


This is a nice application launcher. You can find it in the CS-applications directory. On initial startup, simply click "continue" until you're finished. After you start it, press Ctrl+space and start writing an application name or a file. It will find it... Google quicksilver to see all the magics it can do.


Currently, spotlight only works on files which are on the hard drive (and not on your home directory). The system have some technical explanation for that, in case you're interested. Spotlight is like google desktop for mac, and you can use it by pressing the magnifier glass on the upper-right corner.

Bluetooth & iSync

Your mac has a bluetooth connection. You might want to use it to sync stuff with your mobile phone. I'll update this section later on.

Quota, Door and some other commands

Currently the commands door, nquota, stquota, and some other commands that were created by the system for linux, don't work on mac. You can always rsh to inferno, and run the command there.

Firefox Profile

You can use the firefox profile that you used in linux.

Run firefox at least once, and exit completely (press Cmd+Q inside firefox).

Open the terminal, and type: > cd ~/.mozilla/firefox > ls You will see a directory which might be something like cnojy200.default (the cnojy200 shoud be some random string). We will call this directory YourLinuxProfile.

> ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles > ls Again, you will see a directory which might be something like gabum400.default. We will call this directory YourMacProfile.

We will move the Mac profile (you can delete it if you don't need it...), and will create a soft link to the linux profile.

>mv YourMacProfileName YourMacProfilename.old >ln -s ~/.mozilla/firefox/YourLinuxProfile YourMacProfile

Quota problems

The "Library" directory contains all your data. This directory, unlike linux, can become pretty large. If your quota is exceeded (you can see your file quota by running nquota on a linux machine: use rsh for that), you might want to move your Caches directory to your local hard drive, and create a soft link to that. This might prevent you from using browsers on a different mac than your own.

Running windows apps: VMWare

In the CS-applications, there is a program called CS-VMWare. I think that it is better than the Fusion VMWare program that is installed in the Applications directory. This runs a windows virtual machine on your mac. I didn't play with it too much. If you know whether there is a way to save changes of the configurations (such as the default printer, adding the home directory, adding stuff to the desktop, etc.) please update this section.


Use Texshop (Applications->Tex->TexShop) - it's great. Press Cmd+click on a point in the source to move to the pdf, and vice versa.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts for all of the applications can be configured: go to System Prefreneces -> Keyboard & Mouse and press the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.