Something Something Darkside

The one where I spent all my tax refund on something shiny

Published on March 1st, 2016

For the most part, I’m a linux guy. I haven’t willingly used Microsoft Windows for at least 20 years. Linux has been my default système d’exploitation ever since that day in the earlier 90s when, in my excitement to try “that linux thing”, I wiped my Windows partition and no rescue diskette to be found (yes, “diskette. I am that old), I had to learn linux if I wanted to use my computer.

Now, I’m no Linux Zealot by any stretch of the imagination. I know each OS has its strengths, weaknesses and place in The Computer Universe. I have owned and used computers with FreeBSD, Linux, MacOS(nee OS X) installed on them. Before I get too nerdy (Too late? Meh.) and lose you, a little story:

Years ago I was a in “Mac Mode” and owned an Indigo iMac. While at my then-employer, I was also a member of the Mac Business Unit (an homage to Microsoft’s department of the same name). As many of our clients were Early Adopters of all things Apple, both software and hardware, the team was fortunate to be privy to many things Apple before they were available to the general public.

One of those Things was a ground-breaking new version of Apple’s operating system: OS X 10.0, code named “Cheetah” and we got an in-depth tour, of how it was Thinking Different, how to use it and how it worked.

Back then, Linux wasn’t very pretty:


OS X, well, she was gorgeous in comparison:


But it wasn’t until the presentor had said, “it’s basically FreeBSD under the hood…all the tools are there, if you want or need to use them.” and opened up a terminal window and ran a handful of Linux commands that I nearly peed myself and instantly fell in love with Apple all over again.

To make a long story even longer, in the years since then, I’ve had a Macbook, countless AMD/Intel boxes that never saw the ugly light through Microsoft Windows (hooray for paperclips and emergency CD tray opening holes!). Mostly it’s been Linux and I’ve grown accustomed to having one or more terminals open doing various things via scripts, GIMP, OpenOffice, compiling programs from the source code – things that most any self-respecting Linux geek knows how to use and do.

This year’s tax refund was very embiggened compared to the last few years and I decided to blow it all in one swell foop and I bought myself a shiny new MacBook Pro with Retina Display and a 23" LED backlit monitor for good external viewing measure (I have been saving up for it for a while, but the tax refund brought me to the goal).

The hard part, other than watching my ‘splurge account’ go from huge to zero in the click of a mouse, was finding, then downloading and installing comparable applications for OS X that I’d gotten used to or very proficient in using on Linux.

Fortunately, thanks to the growth of Linux on the desktop, that wasn’t a hugely daunting task. Many of the programs I have used for years also exist for OS X (either because open source or the developer makes versions for all 3 flavors of the popular operating systems).

In case I ever need to come back to it or if someone happens upon my humble little blarg and they find themselves in a similar boat (or perhaps the same boat, in Opposite World), here’s what I used on Linux (“Tank” and what I’m using on the MBP (“Macquarium”). If I found an app I liked better it’s listed first for Macquarium:



Spotify (Music)


KeepassX (secure password storage)

KyPass Companion, KeypassX

SublimeText (Best. Editor. Ever.)

SublimeText (Best. Editor. Ever.)

Seafile (cloud storage sync)


Autokey-py3 (text hotkeys for WorkyJob)

aText (might as well be autokey’s OS X-native twin)

Steam (games. duh.)


GIMP (graphics and photo editing)

GIMP, Pixelmator

MultiBitHD (Bitcoin)


packer/yaourt (software install)

Brew (installs *nix software not part of OS X)

Pidgin (XMPP messaging)


Transmission (BitTorrent)


Filezilla (FTP)

Cyberduck, FileZilla



There are a few paid apps on that list, but IMNSHO, worth the few bucks (each under $8 or the minor nag is not a big hassle).

These are miscellaneous programs I use for things like this and other sites, and they’re related to the above in a way: lftp for scripted ftp syncing (rsync can eat me) – installed with Brew.

The latest versions of Ruby and Python were also installed with Brew, so I can use jekyll and pelican, respectively.

Afterthought: one thing I really started to miss almost immediately is Linux ability (via the window manager) to “highlight, middle click copypaste”: highlight text with the mouse (web page, document, etc) and the “system” automagically copies it and then with a middle-click of the mouse, it gets pasted.

Enter USB Overdrive.

My mouse has 5 buttons (left, right, middle/scroll and two side buttons, aka “button 4 and 5”). With USB overdrive, I configured button 4 to perform a keyboard ⌘-c (copy) and button 5 to perform a keyboard ⌘-v (paste). Only took a few times to make it 2nd nature and problem solved.

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