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Getting Things Done on MacOS


I've been back working in the office for the past few weeks now though I'm still the only one on the team to do so. Part of that means trying to learn how to work on a Mac again since IT thinks they're more reliable than the Dell machines they would otherwise be buying.

We've all got the 2018 Mac Minis. Back when we had the slightly older models something like half the dev team had Linux installed. But Apple in their infinite wisdom introduced the T2 security chip, which as far as I can tell only serves to complicate things if you're looking to install any other OS.

Fortunately it looks like the state of Linux on T2 Macs is a lot better than it was when I last checked on it. As soon as we get done with the current project and I have a little downtime, I'll have to look into it a bit more.

In the meantime there's a few things I've done to make macOS a little more tolerable to work in.

The first thing I sought out to do was fix macOS's horrendous window management. Out of the box you can't even snap windows to edges or corners of the screen. You can splitscreen two maximized windows but this forces them to their own separate workspace and hides your top bar for some reason.

I installed yabai which is a pretty neat tiling window manager. As someone who's gotten used to tiling windows I feel almost right at home. It's not perfect (some apps hate being resized) but it's a huge improvement over the default behavior -- at least for me. If it weren't for macOS's insistence on making you learn it's weird keyboard shortcuts it would be amazing. Maybe I'll find a way to tackle that next.

I also installed Alfred, a replacement for spotlight search, based on a recommendation but haven't found much use for it. It's a good tool but I just have everything I need launch on login.

Other that what I've talked about so far, macOS is decent to work in and pretty much just stays out of my way. The built-in terminal emulator is good enough and zsh even ships as the default shell. I'm not sure yet if I'll end up trying to install Linux over it or if I'll just get used to it. If anybody has any other productivity tips for macOS or has experience running Linux on T2 Macs, feel free to drop me a line. Contact details are over on my homepage.

- moddedBear





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