PC or Mac

About two weeks ago I started to look at what my next laptop would be. I started looking at Apples Macbook Pro and it is very tempting since the hardware is far better than any PC, but will I stand with using Mac OS X?

I started using my wifes old Macbook as my daily driver as a test to see if I can get used to it. Since I'm a Linux user chosing a locked down Macbook would be a big step. I know you are able to install Linux on the Macbook, however that is not problem free.

Here is a list of things Apple to well:

  • Good looking hardware.
  • Excellent thermal design using the space in the display hinge instead of fan ventilation holes on the sides or bottom.
  • Good hardware components, like the Intel graphics iris 6100.
  • When you open the screen, the resistance on the screen hinge is balanced so that the rest of the computer stays in place instead of following the screen up in the air.
  • Good touchpad, when typing I don't acidentally make the cursor jump randomly by hitting the touchpad with my palms.
  • Long battery life.

Now to the bad parts:

  • There are no dedicated home/end keyboard buttons, instead there are multiple keyboard combinations you can use. I first found out about cmd+left/right arrow keys. That seemed good enough, but it turned out that it does not work in every application, and in the terminal that combination is used to switch between multiple terminal windows. So in the terminal you can use ctrl+a/e which also works in other applications as well. But the ctrl+a/e combo does not behave like home/end should in Sublime Text, there I need to use cmd+arrow keys. Why this inconsistency.
  • Copy/Paste typ operations is done with cmd+c/v instead of ctrl. I guess it makes sense to seperate copy (cmd+c) from sigint (ctrl+c, used to terminate terminal processes), I do however feel it's easier to use the same modifer key (ctrl) instead of adding another key. You just need to remember to use another combo in the terminal (which most normal users never use anyway).
  • When you use the cmd key in a combo like copy or paste, the Edit menu item in the top of the screen is highlighted blue, which causes an annoying blink effect.
  • There is no way to maximize a window, yes you read it correctly. You can't maximize windows, there is an option to maximize a window to full screen which creates a seperate virtual desktop for the app, however in this mode no other window can be floating over the maximized window. There is also a small plus button on each window which maximizes the window vertically but not horizontally, there you will need to drag the window border to the correct size which rarely fits the screen properly.
  • When you browse folders it leaves a .DS_store and a ._.DS_store file in each folder, these are hidden an not visible by default on your Mac, but then browing remote network shares it will polute those other systems to. I found some command online which was supposed to disable this, but it did not work for me, might have been for some other Mac OS X version?.
  • The Mac OS X filesystem is bad, this is not something that is visible to the users, but it is still in there in the back of my head.

At the moment I am back on my PC running Ubuntu to write this. And I don't see me going back to Mac in the near future.

Trackpad issue on Thinkpad X230

I have a Lenovo X230 laptop, the trackpad works fine in Windows, but under Linux the pointer jumps about 3-4 pixels at a time. Which caused me to disable the trackpad and only use the trackpoint.

But I recently found a fix for this on this bug report

Thanks to Andy Hayward for the solution.

Add this config to /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf

Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "touchpad"
    MatchProduct "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad"
    Driver "synaptics"
    # fix touchpad resolution
    Option "VertResolution" "100"
    Option "HorizResolution" "65"
    # disable synaptics driver pointer acceleration
    Option "MinSpeed" "1"
    Option "MaxSpeed" "1"
    # tweak the X-server pointer acceleration
    Option "AccelerationProfile" "2"
    Option "AdaptiveDeceleration" "16"
    Option "ConstantDeceleration" "16"
    Option "VelocityScale" "32"
EndSection

After that restart your X server.

However after a while I decided to disable the trackpad again since I so often accidentally touch the trackpad while typing causing the cursor to cause havoc.

Mattermost

Today I installed my own Mattermost server.

Mattermost is an open source alternative to Slack.

Slack has become very popular, but the drawback is that all your data is stored in the cloud. Mattermost solves this by allowing you to self-host your own server.

Mattermost was relativly easy to get running. I went with PostgresSQL as database backend since I experience issues with using MySQL 5.5.

It looks and functions very similar to Slack, however Slack do have some more features like pinning messages in channels, desktop app and mobile clients.

Both Slack and Mattermost are more focused on providing internal communication within an organization, rather than providing instance messaging between friends.

New website (again)

In March of 2015 I deployed a new website/blog to replace the wordpress site I used before. Now I it was time again to deploy an even newer website.

This time I have used Python with the Flask framework. The posts are written in Markdown.

This time I have also improved the search alot over the previous site by using Elasticsearch as search engine.