New Keychords to know

April 23, 2006

Spent a bit of time figuring out some new short-cut-keys to make life all the more efficient on the mac.

The first new shortcut is a way to move around in text.

I have been using the command+left / right arrows to go to the front or back of a text line for some time. It’s a really nice way to quickly get around in paragraphs. But there are times when you need to get to the middle of a line quickly. So for this, I just found new short-cuts to jump through a line, one word at a time:

alt + left / right arrow.

Combine this with the shift key, and you can highlight one word at a time. Pretty nice.

Another handy use of the alt key is clicking on hyperlinks in web pages. Some times you don’t want to view the link, you want to download it (i.e. pdf’s). alt + mouseclick will download the link to your disk drive. A quick alternative to right-clicking (ctrl-clicking) and selecting “save link as…”

Finally, I have been looking for sometime now for a shortcut to canceling out of system prompts like the one pictured above. Well, this might not be an end-all solution, but it’s a good start:

command + .

Will select the cancel option automatically and close the prompt.

For other programs, when a prompt comes up that asks if you want to “save”, “don’t save”, or “cancel”, the options seemed to be mapped to:

command + . = cancel
command + d = don’t save
command + s = save

I’m not sure it these work for all prompts yet, or if only for those implemented in cocoa, but it’s a good start. Now I just need to figure out the password remeber shortcuts in Firefox…

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Symbols say Something

April 8, 2006

SymbolsI really enjoy having folders on my Bookmark-Toolbar in Firefox. They allow me to group sites with similar themes, or sites I usually check at the same time.

But The toolbar can quickly fill up with wordy descriptions, and there's nothing worse than a filled Firefox toolbar. That's why I've started using symbols as indicators for what lies beneath. In the picture you can see my symbols for sites that change often (delta), security sites (squiggly S) and torrents ( the cross being fed with arrows). This way I associate the cool symbols with the actual things they represent (and I think it looks cool too).

To get these symbols, the alt / option key is your friend. Recently a friend of mine was happy to find out that the é symbol could be easily created using the alt+e, e combinition.

If you have trouble remembering whats underneath your standard keys Quicksilver can help. Simply start it up and start typing "Keyboard". It should come up with the "show keyboard viewer" application. This shows you what you are typing now and what are the possibilities from the various function keys.

This is a great little feature that I believe is built into the OS but Quicksilver makes it trivial to access. I plan on using this function to demonstrate different keyboard short-cuts to people in the future.


A House Hunting we shall Go

April 7, 2006

Pretty exciting stuff, we might be making an offer on a house today.

We started looking at houses with a Realtor this last Friday. It was a bit of a rush job as we met her in the parking lot of Reece & Nicholas, jumped in the car, and went to 5 or 6 vacant homes and townhomes in the dark. While she stressed that this was not the typical meet-and-great she usually does the first time she meets clients, for us it made house-hunt much more real and made us more comfortable with this stranger who would eventually sell us a home.

Nothing we saw was really great that first day, and so we scheduled to meet Wednesday night and go out again, this time with a more focused and accurate search criteria, and with the opportunity of seeing houses that were currently occupied, as most people want 24 hour notice before the Realtor comes through.

It is kind of a strange feeling going through someone else's house while they're away and looking at the placement of their stuff, as well as flaws in their home. I probably spent too much time making fun of their stuff and not enough looking at the actual house, but that's ok.

We looked at probably 7 more places on Wed.  When we got to our (hopefully soon to be) house, it just felt a lot different then everything else we had seen.  It is not the same stock cookie-cutter place.  It is essentially a two story, two bedroom, two bathroom townhome with a one car garage and a basement.  All pretty nice for the price.  Some of the things that make it a bit more special are: the second bedroom is actually a loft that looks down onto the living room, the kitchen has a very cool white-wood paneled finish that's probably from the 70's, but looks very unique, and there is an enclosed patio on the side which will be great in the summer to hang out in and eat lunch.  The place has also been owned by the same elderly lady for at least 20 years, which gives the place the feeling that it has been very well taken care of.  All and all, it just feels very much like a home instead of a house (how cliché can you get?).

We went out again yesterday, to look at some more places, but I think we had already made up our mind with this one, and everything else just looked flawed.  This will be a problem if we don't end up getting this place, but for now, that's a good thing. 

The hardest part so far, not surprisingly, has been the mortgage work.  We initially went with Commerce bank, thinking that since we do all of our banking there, it would be an easy thing to get a loan from them.  This is turning out to be the wrong idea.  First, the loan guy there said it might take a few days to get pre-approval.  Which seemed fitting, since we didn't know anything about the process.  Now we know that almost everywhere else preapproval takes just minutes to complete, once you have the correct paperwork together.  Then he really pushed a 5-1 ARM loan, as the interest rates would be lower for the first 5 years.  Seemed good, as we plan on moving in 3-4 years.  But now we understand that not all 5-1 ARM's are that simple, and the original quoted APR is quite different from the one he sent us in the paperwork.

For some reason, this loan offer started looking pretty shady really quickly.  I'm still not sure what's going on, but I don't think we are going to go with Commerce, now that we know what we know.

Our Realtor is about as good as you could ask for.  She just turned 23, drives a modest but cool car, and likes to talk (which is good cause we get quiet quick). She has seemed very up front with us through the entire process.  Every place she's taken us to she doesn't try to push, but just ask's us how we rate them compared to previously seen places.  She seems real, and on top of things (though she has a pretty bad sense of direction and we got lost on the way to almost every home).  If anyone needs a good Realtor, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest her. 

She turned us onto Wells-Fargo, who I think we will go with for a loan, if everything works out.  A very nice representative from Wells-Fargo just called me, and said everything looked great and that pre-approval should be sent to our Realtor in a few minutes (this is after we applied for pre-approval just yesterday!).  Plus, she said we might be able to get a "Mortgage Express" loan which means we wouldn't have to worry too much about digging up tax info and W2's.  Quite different from Commerce's tone, who wants everything for the last 2 years, including transcripts from Pittstate.

Things are looking good.  Should know more tonight.
Pray, and keep your finger's crossed that we get it and there isn't a huge termite colony behind a wall or enough mold / fungus to call it a garden.


Boot Camp is the Kicker

April 5, 2006

Apple just released a new application called 'Boot Camp' that will allow Windows to be installed on Intel based Macs.  Lots of people speculated on something like this, but I can't believe it happened so soon.

Looks like right now, you will be able to boot just one or the other at a time.  But in the next revision of Mac's operating system, 10.5, this might be built-in and allow you to startup Windows, or maybe even just specific Windows applications when you want, which would be very cool. 

Right now this will give people really no reason NOT to get a Mac, as any critical Windows application would be runnable on the Mac.  Perfect. Just boot up the Windows partition, and stop complaining. 

I liked Apple's little dig at Windows security:

"Word to the Wise:

Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it’ll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes."

I'd be interested in seeing the speed at which Windows will run in this environment.  Hopefully virtualization will be a part of the next Mac OS, and I will never technically have to boot into a Windows machine again.