Now that my work computer is a MacBook Pro, I’m spending a lot of time on a Mac. Overall, I enjoy it… after some tweaks from the default configuration. I rely on a few applications to really make macOS work for me. Here are four that make my experience in macOS much more enjoyable and productive.
Near the end of last year (2022), I was eligible for a laptop refresh at work. This time around, I chose to replace my 7th generation X1 carbon with the 16" Macbook Pro option.
After months loving my ferris sweep, I decided to build a second one. Specifically, I wanted a wireless version so I could avoid all the wires when using it in portable setups. However, the nice!nano controllers used for bluetooth keyboard builds, uses the ZMK firmware instead of QMK, which I had previously used. So, I had to convert my ferris sweep layout to ZMK. Here’s my experience.
A few months ago, I took the plunge and migrated my dotfiles system into my home-manager (nix) setup. Around the same time, I also switched to a desk in the office that is next to a window. I love all the natural light, but need to use light colored themes during different times of the day due to the brightness.
Manually switching my terminal and neovim themes every time I wanted to toggle between light and dark themes was tedious. So, I turned to my new dotfile system to see if I could figure out a more automated approach.
Years ago I enjoyed using minimal tiling window managers. Now, I prefer to use a ’normal’, full desktop environment (ex: Gnome or Plasma). That said, I still prefer to arrange and manage my windows from the keyboard. On macOS, I’ve been using betterTouchTool for improved window management (rectangle is also great).
During my time using betterTouchTool, I’ve been annoyed that I didn’t have an equivalent method to set windows quite the same way on Linux. While testing out an ultra wide monitor at work, I really needed a better solution. So I searched a bit harder. It turns out there is an option that does exactly what I want in Linux (at least on Gnome): gTile.
When I run the
pytests for my website, they run against
whatever hugo server I have running. While writing a post, this is usually the
same machine I’m writing from. When I commit changes, the CI pipeline
automatically runs the tests on my gitlab CI
runner node. The IP address of the server
to test is determined by a
BASE_URL constant variable defined in my
Changing the variable in this file, and not accidentally pushing it in
super annoying. So, I finally sat down one night and moved this variable out of
the constants file, converting it to an optional pytest argument.
The other week, I worked from Red Hat Tower (Raleigh). In that office, IT is testing out a few flex-workstations with an ultra-wide monitor (Samsung S65UA), which I decided to try out. It was the first time I used a real ultrawide monitor for an entire workday. Since then, I have continued to occasionally experiment with working in a 21:9 aspect ratio… on my 16:9 monitors.
As mentioned in my previous post, I found myself trapped on the couch, bed, or generally away from my desk when my son was born. However, I still wanted to work on projects when possible. As a result, I started grabbing my 11" iPad Pro more than ever. Using the iPad for nearly everything, I began to wonder… should I get the Magic Keyboard to go with it?
I hate typing anything on my mobile devices. If I need to write more than a few words, I prefer to sit down at a computer. However… I recently became a parent, and suddenly found myself trapped on a couch at all hours. From my nest, I didn’t have enough space or mobility to use my laptop easily. So, I needed to start using Obsidian on my mobile devices.
In my previous post, I detailed the build process for my ferris sweep keyboard. After building it, I needed to flash the keyboard with firmware. Like many custom keyboards, it uses qmk. Here’s how I flashed my 34 key layout on the ferris sweep.