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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Friday (12/9/11) 12:43am - ... wherein Peter posts mac-related questions.

So I set up my iMac yesterday, and so far it's working fine.  I'm hitting a few snags, though, so I figured I'd post about them and see if any mac enthusiasts knew how to fix them.

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On my PC, I have AutoHotKey set up so that the Escape key will close the current message window in Thunderbird.  Is there any way to convince Thunderbird to do the same thing on the mac?

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If I type ctrl-asterisk on my PC, one of two things happens.  If text is selected, AHK will put an asterisk before and after that text, and leave the cursor after the second asterisk.  If there is no text selected, AHK will type out two asterisks, and leave the cursor between them.  (This is handy for adding *emphasis* to plaintext.)

How would I even get started adding a feature like this to my mac?  Is there some way to get AppleScript to do it?

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It looks like there's no Notepad++ port to OSX (boo), and it looks like getting it running under WINE on my mac is a big hassle (boo).  What text editor *should* I use on the mac?

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On my PCs, I have a little AHK script that runs every ten minutes.  It picks out a quote from a text file of quotes I have onhand, formats that string into an email signature, and saves off that signature as a text file.  (Then, Thunderbird looks in that text file for my email signature.)

Again, where would I even get started on this on the mac platform?  Am I writing a Perl script or something?  And once I have it written, how do I automate running it?

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That's all for now.  So far, so good.

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Mood: [mood icon] tired · Music: none
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Comments:

From:puppybane
Date:Friday (12/9/11) 1:35am
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There are a number of utilities like this one: http://startly.com/products/quickeys/mac/4/

I don't really use any, though, as I end up spending too much time fiddling with such things, and getting frustrated when system updates invariably cause them to break.

Escape is not really allowed as such a commanding key. If you want to add commands for other key combinations (looks like it requires cmd, option, or ctrl to be pressed), you can add any command sequence to any app to activate a menu option from within the keyboard settings.

I always use the built-in TextEdit app for my editing needs. It can read Word files, and has a decently robust set of formatting tools. Many Mac users swear by BBEdit.

The Mac has something called "launchd" which can be configured to periodically do something. However, I recommend you open your Applications folder, and play around with Automator. There's a lot it can do. And AppleScript can definitely do much of what you want, but I'm not an expert at it. On the other hand, I believe that Automator can run shell scripts, so perl should work.

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From:hujhax
Date:Friday (12/9/11) 1:46am

useful info

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Thanks, Andy!
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From:majcher
Date:Friday (12/9/11) 1:34pm
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Text editor: I use Textmate (http://macromates.com/), and it's pretty rocking for all kinds of tasks. Some people prefer BBEdit or TextWrangler or whatever it is these days, but half a dozen of one. Since OSX is basically unix, there's always emacs, too, if you swing that way.

Automation: cron!

Etc: I've been using Alfred (http://www.alfredapp.com/) for a good while now, and I'd be crippled without it.

Etc, etc: Get a cheap 500gb+ usb drive, plug it in, set up time machine, and love it. When shit gets broken (or your mac gets stolen), you will be so very happy.
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From:hujhax
Date:Friday (12/9/11) 4:57pm
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Ooh, thanks for the reminder.  I just set up Time Machine with an old 1TB drive.
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