John Woltman's
Attempt to Stay Current at Bleeding Edge Blog Technology

Moving to a new computer

Posted Nov. 13, 2009 by John Woltman

My wonderful wife bought me a new 21.5" iMac for my birthday. It is speedy, slick, and has all sorts of nifty features (hardware virtualization!). But all is not rosy, because while people like to think that setting up an Apple computer is a breeze, it takes awhile to get your environment configured if you're as set in your ways as I am. Here's a quick list of applications I can't live without.

  1. Firefox from mozilla.com is my favorite web browser.
  2. Adium is the OS X version of Pidgin (but actually light years ahead of the Linux chat client).  Talk on ICQ, Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Facebook, and more.
  3. Growl is a notification framework used by other programs like Adium and Cyberduck.
  4. Cyberduck is a powerful yet barebones file transfer program.  I use it mainly for SFTP.
  5. Lightroom lets you manage and edit your photo library.  More features than Apple's basic iPhoto.
  6. Photoshop CS2 is an essential tool.  Don't worry, I deactivated the license from the old 20" G5 iMac.  They don't sell the CS2 version anymore, but I'm too cheap to upgrade.
  7. Mac GnuPG manages encryption keys.  I use it together with a GPG plugin for Vim to keep my files secure.
  8. Coda is the one-window web site development system I use.  Well worth the price.
  9. Quicksilver is an application launcher.  It's one of my favorite things about using OS X.'
  10. OpenOffice.org is a free Microsoft Office replacement.  Works much better on Intel Macs than PPC Macs.

Since I used all these programs on my previous iMac, that meant I had to bring over all the configuration files from the old computer.  I didn't want to depend on Apple's built-in migration tool because whenever I get a new system I like to start as clean as possible.  Bringing all my old email over was a snap, but the preferences for Mail.app are stored in the ~/Preferences folder, not in the ~/Library/Mail folder, so be sure to restore both if you want all your settings back.  Other than Mail, it was a pretty straight-forward process.  I'm settling into the new computer, and I hope it serves as faithfully as the last iMac (2005-2009, a pretty good run).

One more cool thing: I noticed is that a newer version of Subversion (v1.6.5) is included in the default Snow Leopard install.  Leopard was limited to 1.4.x, which meant it couldn't access newer repositories.

I'm heading to bed, and when I wake up all 132GB of photos should be finished being copied to my new 1TB drive.  Goodnight, world!

PS: Open Terminal.App: defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool YES, then log off and back on