Clocker: A nice world clock app for the mac

November 14, 2019 mac , ,

Our company is scattered to the wind around the world, and I’m often left wondering “what time is it there, right now?”

There’s lots of world clock apps and websites available, but I’m really liking clocker for this at the moment.  Here’s my current view of the local times for my colleagues

( I often work with people in Brussels, Paris, and the UK too, but that’s all in the Zurich timezone. )


Issues with macOS catalina

November 12, 2019 mac

This is one upgrade I really wished I hadn’t done.  The system has been pestering me for a month to do it, and I made the mistake of letting the upgrade go ahead a few days ago.

  • It turns out that this “upgrade” is a massive feature breaker and removes support for all 32-bit applications.  For myself, this means I’ll probably have to pay to buy a new version of Mathematica, as Mathematica 11.2 used a 32-bit front end, that is now useless.  I suspect that this is going to cost me $150 or so, which is pretty crappy given that I’m not actively writing any Mathematica code at the moment, but would still like to be able to run my old notebooks.
  • If I try to use Microsoft Word, it seems to crash my entire system within about 1 minute (2 out of 2 times so far.)
  • Since the upgrade, my keyboard was behaving like crazy, repeating things that I’d typed.  For example, typing macbook might give me “macacbookok”.  Uninstalling the wacom drivers for my old bamboo pen, turning off system preferences->keyboard->repeat, and then installing the newest wacom drivers appear to have solved this, but now I have to press space 30 times if I want 30 spaces, so it doesn’t seem like a good nor permanent solution.
  • I had to reinstall a few other applications to get them to work, in particular, the vpn client that I need for my work.  I’d lost my notes on where to install the vpn client from, so I had to try to access our support site using firefox+x-windows+linux-ovpn to figure that out, and it cost me a 1/2 hour just to get up and running again.
  • Shell is noisy about bash being replaced by zsh.  Fix is here.  When I did this it inhibited the sourcing of my .profile, but I fixed that by adding the line to my .profile, and then move that .profile to .bash_profile

I suspect that I’ll be finding out what else is broken as I continue to use the new OS.

Some basic keyboard operations on a mac

April 22, 2016 mac , , , , , , ,

I unpacked the macbook pro that I’ll be using for work, and quickly found myself slightly flummoxed by a combination of the keyboard and the os.  This blog post accumulates a running list of notes made as I learned my way around the new machine.

The list below was accumulated over time.  Here’s a recent popular science article that includes many of the shortcuts below, plus some other good ones.

Cut and Paste

The usual windows shortcuts work on a mac if you replace control with command:

copy: command-c
cut: command-x
paste: command-v

On a PC keyboard mapped mac-style (i.e. command=Alt, option=Windows, control=Ctrl):

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 10.08.21 AM
these would be Alt-c, Alt-x, and Alt-v respectively.


right click: control-click, or two fingers simultaneously on the touchpad

page up/down: fn+arrow up/down

home: function left-arrow
end: function right-arrow

control-arrow (word skip in text editors): use option-arrow (Windows-arrow with a PC keyboard).

Some applications seem to use Alt-arrow (i.e. mac command-arrow)

command-tab switching to minimized window:

command-tab to select window.  hold option key, release command key.

trackpad tricks:

three finger swipe left/right.  This is like Windows control-tab switching but only between maximized applications.

“tab” switching between windows of the same application (i.e. Mathematica):

command-tilde (~)


delete in finder: command-delete

enter/exit fullscreen mode: command-control f

delete next character: Fn+delete


undo accidental split of terminal (command d): command-shift d (command D)

function keys in terminal window: Fn+function-key

cycle between all terminal windows, even minimized ones: command left/right arrow

cycle between active windows: command `

equivalent to cmd explorer . : terminal: open .

equivalent to powershell open here:

System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services

Enable New Terminal at Folder.

There’s also a MacVim open service that you can use in Finder that I’d never noticed until trying this.

smooth scroll up/down

alt/option + command <arrow up/down>.  Not sure what keys to do this with on the mac keyboard itself, but with my windows keyboard this ends up being the page up/down keys.  Also doesn’t work properly in a screen session.

Moving Windows between displays

I found no builtin method to do Windows-Arrow like monitor switching, but the Sizeup freeware app seems to work nicely.

Cntl-Windows Arrows (i.e. mac Control-Options Arrows) does the window move for me with how I have my PC keyboard mapped.

There are also some split screen shortcuts:

^ \- % [arrow]

That work really nicely on a big thunderbolt monitor.

Virtual Desktops

On the mac keyboard, the virtual desktop manager control is available by pressing the F3 key (which shows three windows).

On a PC keyboard, use Ctrl-UpArrow

I’m using this to move any non-work windows to a separate space before starting work for the day.  This way I can’t be distracted by having a cool mathematics or physics puzzle left open and taunting.

This is also a way to move windows between multiple monitor displays.

PC keyboard

One nice thing about a PC keyboard is the function key mappings in Terminal might just work (without having to press Fn-Function-key).  That was true of my logitech keyboard, but not a Windows wireless keyboard (I still haven’t figured out how to get that wireless keyboard to work well with the mac).

Can use Karabiner to map the Menu key to Fn. After installing select:

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 12.35.37 PM


snip: command shift 4

full: command shift 3


page down: spacebar

page up: shift spacebar

two figures up/down: scrolling

tab switching: option-cmd <- ->

new tab: cmd t

close tab: cmd w

Finder dialogue

Go to the parent directory: Command+up-arrow

Another way is to add a Path button to the finder using View -> Customize, as described in method 5 of the linked article.

Save as, to a different directory: Use the little sneaky triangle symbol in the file dialogue.


Copy a link: Link on the url tab, then Cmd+L ; Cmd+C