Life with the new toy
is going well. So well that it has already moved up to the "front and center" position on my desk, and is currently the only computer with a monitor attached.
After some foolish dilly-dallying with Fink and Darwin Ports, I came to my senses and realize that they represent much of what I was trying to escape in the first place. I expect to be using neither of them very much if at all. Most useful things that actually work on OSX (e.g., Privoxy) have normal .pkg installers.
Playing movies: out of the box, QuickTime works fine for QuickTimes, and I held my breath and installed Windows Media Player (shut up. I don't care.) which works ok for WMVs. Then I installed some plugin from divx.com which made QuickTime able to play AVI. But there are still some MPEGs that I can't play; I don't know what's special about them, but is there some other obvious thing I should install? (If the trick involves the word "mplayer", with which I already have some experience, then I will take that to mean simply, "get used to the fact that you can't play those." I'll live.
SSH KeyChain is awesome! This is what "ssh-agent/ssh-add" always wanted to be when they grew up.
Second screen: iMacs have a miniVGA port on them, but are advertised to only do mirroring, not multiple desktops. But, there's a hack for that that makes it work, so now I've got two monitors hooked up, yay!
Five monitors! Something Must Be Done.
But, compared to the built-in LCD on the iMac, the other monitor (a Mitsubishi DiamondPro 2070SB, that I apparently paid way
too much for only a year or two ago) looks like shit! All the text looks blurry. I know there are settings for antialiased fonts that are different depending on whether you're using LCD or CRT, but that's not what's going on, because it still looks like crap even in windows in which no antialiasing is going on (e.g., remote Xlib programs.) This makes me sad. I sense a new monitor in my future.
Keyboard: My keyboard has both PS/2 and USB connectors on it, so you'd assume that would mean it just does both, right? Uh, no. Turns out this keyboard contains three separate devices: a PS/2 keyboard, a PS/2 left trackpad, and a USB right trackpad. WTF? So I had to get an adapter, and it takes up two USB ports if you want to enable both trackpads. Craziness. Works fine, though.
Mouse: By default, the Evoluent mouse only has the wheel, pointer-finger, and middle-finger buttons enabled. USB Overdrive lets me enable thumb, wheel-click, etc. But it's nagware. Is there a free driver, or is USB Overdrive the only game in town?
Perl hacking: I haven't had any luck installing Perl libraries with CPAN. E.g., "cpan install Image::Magick" has compilation errors even after I've Finked as many relevant libraries as I can. What's the trick here?
Update: Apparently the problem is that Fink was installing ImageMagick 5.x and Perl wanted to install PerlMagick 6.x. I got it working by: uninstalling the Fink version of ImageMagick 5.x; installing the DarwinPorts version of ImageMagick 6.x; hand-hacking the Makefile.PL that CPAN downloaded to include -L/opt/local/lib and -I/opt/local/include; and running "make all install" from inside the .cpan build directory. That sucked, but it worked.
XEmacs: The Carbonated XEmacs was easy to build and install, but it's crash-happy. With my .emacs file loaded, it crashes as soon as I visit the first file. And I am sad. I'm typing this in XEmacs running under X11, and that's not so bad, but X11 programs have some goofy keyboard-focus issues (Growl notifications steal focus from X but not from "real" Mac apps, for example.)
Maybe I'll try to kick it all 1980s style and learn to live with xemacs -nw in a Terminal. How do I make the Meta key work there?
Fonts: OSX does something wacky with fonts. I think that it notices when it is rendering light text on a dark background, and uses a different font in that case! And that font looks to have been software-boldified or something. Try it! Take the DNA page, save a copy, and swap the foreground and background colors (or make it white-on-black.) Look at them side by side: they're different! The dark one is bolder. And it's still bolder if you grab a screen shot and invert the colors, so it's not just an optical illusion. Both Firefox and Safari do this, so it must be an OS-level thing.
Dock: The Dock still really sucks. Aren't the Apple UI designers supposed to know about Fitt's Law, and that it's a bad idea for click targets to move around the screen at random? Because the dock centers (no matter where you put it) the Trashcan is never in the same place twice! (But the Gnome Panel Window List applet was even worse, so hey.)
Dashboard: Monumentally, stunningly useless. Some of the apps might be useful if they were apps and not segregated into some weird all-or-nothing layer of their own. And you can't seem to turn it off. Did they have to hype this dumb thing up because saying "10.4 is the bug-fix release of 10.3" wasn't sexy enough?