MacBook tips

A summaric post about making my recent macbook more habitable; some ouch!s, and their solutions where I've found one.
The bottom left key on the keyboard isn't bound to Control!

Page Up and Page Down are both double-hand, double-key bindings!

DoubleCommand addresses both issues, letting you bind the fn key to Control and the key to fn (so plus arrow keys becomes Page Up, Page Down, Home and End). Side note: this does not change the keyboard combinations for the function keys with respect to fn, if you choose to use that combination to access the brightness and volume keys. This is a Good Thing that will hopefully stay the same in future versions of DoubleCommand too (I picked up 1.6.1).

Most buttons on my Logitech MX500 mouse don't do anything!

Apparently, all Logitech input devices products have a common driver that lets you configure them to do the most extraordinary things; pick up the Logitech Control Center (lcc211.dmg) download from any product on the site and set it up.

I'm very happy with my own setup, where I set the mouse wheel to button 3 (lets me paste the clipboard in Carbon Emacs), the Back button to ⌘←, Forward to ⌘→ (makes them work in web browsers, iTunes playlists, and with a bit of extra work, Finder), Quick Switch to F11 (default MacOS X binding for [show] "Desktop"), Cruise Up to F9 (default MacOS X binding for [show] "All windows") and Cruise Down to Switch Application.

In Finder, where Back and Forward are by default bound to ⌘[ and ⌘], you can rebind ⌘← and ⌘→ using System Preferences, Keyboard & mouse (the next few tips act out here, so you might as well keep it up). Click the plus button, pick Finder.app, name the Menu title Back and Forward respectively, and feed it the new bindings. You'll have to relaunch Finder to have it recognize the change -- tap ⌥⌘⎋ (that last sign is mac speak for escape, despite not being printed that way on the keyboard) and pick Finder.

To assign the F9/F11 key bindings in Logitech Command Center, you need to temporarily disable those bindings in the Keyboard & mouse preferences (below Dock, Exposé and Dashboard), or those commands will be invoked when you try to bind them to your mouse buttons. Re-check them to turn them on again when you're done.

Tabbing between web page input fields skips check boxes and selection lists!

There is another setting at the bottom of the Keyboard & mouse menu, "Full keyboard access". You want this set to "All controls" mode.

How do I get QuickSilver to start automatically?

In the System Preferences Accounts view, in the Login Items section, you can add new applications that you don't want to have to wake manually every time you start up.

When connected through wifi networks in the wild, how do I securely tunnel through my home stationary machine?

This is actually not something I've done in full myself yet, as my stationary machine recently lost name resolution for some reason, but TunnelBlick nicely wraps OpenVPN (just install TunnelBlick and you get both the UI and core application in one installation), and seems like a match in heaven for the task.

How do I spawn a Pike on this system?

The quickest and easiest way is probably installing Fink, downloading James Tyson's binary mactel deb:s. (In theory they should be buildable from source as well; I didn't quite have the required time / karma combination to get it flying.) Thanks a ton, James!

What essential applications do I miss?

A really good place to find out about good utilities is I use this, especially if you have close friends with a presence there that might be able to help you out or advocate their tools and give good advice. Browsing through your friendship network or people in general and reading user comments about the applications is rather instructive.

Setting up shop for Parallels for managing multiple browser/OS test bed environments in parallel and without spending weeks baby-sitting Windows Update is a whole post on its own.

I also have an oustanding list of issues I'd like to find solutions for, which I'm ticking off as I figure them out. Should you have any ideas or solutions, please tell and I'll migrate them to the end of this list.
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