Setting up a new Mac

May 11th, 2020
I've had somewhat bad luck with computers lately. In late January my work computer stopped charging, and they replaced it with a used model because they were having supply issues. Its replacement had a broken webcam and, as expected for a butterfly mac, inconsistent keyboard. In April the WiFi stopped working, and while I had just run a cable to my desk we replaced it again. The supply issues have gotten worse, and my current laptop has some minor issues: inconsistent keyboard, splotchy screen, but otherwise good.

With setting up these two Macs, and a third one for music, all within a short time, I think I now have complete list of the changes I need to make before I'm happy using a Mac. Here's the big list, roughly in the order I'd go through them:

[EDIT 2022-06-03: I've updated this from setting up yet another Mac]

  • System Preferences:

    • Trackpad:

      • secondary click > bottom right corner
      • Look up & data detectors > off -- turns off longpress lookups
    • Keyboard:

      • Key Repeat: Fast

      • Delay Until Repeat: Shorter

      • Modifier Keys > Caps Lock Key: Control

    • Touch ID: add fingerprints, and enable fingerprint unlock

    • Displays > Arrangement > Mirror Displays (keeps me from bending my neck down at my laptop screen by making it redundant)

    • Notifications > Do Not Disturb > uncheck "When Mirroring to TVs and Projectors (makes my notifications still show up with a mirrored display)

    • Sound > Output > Internal Speakers (keeps it from trying to send audio to my speakerless monitor)

    • Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver > Hot Corners > unset all

  • Web Browser:

    • Use Safari to install Chrome

    • Sign into Chrome with my personal account

    • If this is a work laptop, make a second profile for work account

  • Backup and Sync:

    • Install Google Drive for desktop and set it to stream. Right click the dotfiles directory and tell it to make it available offline.

    • When that finishes, set up symlinks for each dotfile (ex: ln -s ~/Google\ Drive/dotfiles/_emacs ~/.emacs)

  • Terminal:

    • Preferences > Profiles > Keyboard > Use Option as Meta key

    • defaults write FocusFollowsMouse -string YES

    • Colors: set terminal to black background, and set this as the default

    • chsh -s /bin/bash

  • Iterm2:

    • Install

    • Profiles > Keys > Left Option key > Left Option: Esc+

    • Profiles > Text > Monaco Regular 10pt non-antialiased

    • Profiles > Terminal > Terminal may enable paste bracketing: no

    • Pointer > Focus follows mouse: yes

    • Pointer > Command-click opens filename/url: no

    • General > Selection > Copy to pasteboard on selection: no

    • Make my preferred terminal layout and save the window arrangement

  • Remove everythig from the dock (I start programs with spotlight)

  • Install command line tools: run git, see it fail, click "yes" on the popup that asks if I'd like the OS to fix things so it will start working.

  • Tell git who I am: git config --global --edit

  • Install Homebrew, and then brew install emacs inkscape gimp icdiff imagemagick mplayer wget lame ffmpeg

  • Safari > Preferences > Advanced > Show develop in menu bar

  • Install Firefox

  • Install Chrome Canary

  • Run launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/ to disable iMusic auto-play on plugging in headphones.

  • Install Karabiner to control foot switches

  • System Preferences > Keyboard > Dictation > Shortcut: press [globe] twice

The symlinking dotfiles saves me quite a lot of configuration, including:

  • thorough history logging

  • export EDITOR=emacs

  • All my emacs configuration...

  • Reasonable PS1

  • ~/.inputrc: set blink-matching-paren on

  • My .ssh directory

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