Category os x

  • As extension formats go, Apple clearly chose the most obscure and least documented one for their Safari browser. It’s based on the XAR (eXtensible ARchiver) format which is a dead project with barely existing and outdated format documentation (note how it suggests setting XAR_HEADER_VERSION to zero even though current header version is one). But Apple went further and added signing support to the format without documenting it. Why bother if everybody can use Safari to create an extension package? And so for a long time your best choice to automate the build process was a complicated list of instructions relying on a patched version of the xar command line tool. A year ago somebody apparently added a much more convenient xar-js library to the list but I didn’t find out until I started writing this blog post.

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  • One of the biggest quirks of using a Mac is its keyboard — in addition to the usual Control (⌃) and Alt a.k.a. Option (⌥) keys you also have the Command (⌘) key. Unlike on Windows or Linux, the Control key is rarely used at all, the only really important shortcut key being Control-Tab. Instead, most shortcut keys use Command as modifier. So as a Mac user you quickly learn to press Command for pretty much any key combination.

    This works well as long as you stick to native OS X applications. As soon as you run Windows applications via Wine however you get into trouble: in order to map Mac keys to Windows keys Wine associates the Control key with Control. Consequently, in Wine you have to for example press Control-C to copy text instead of Command-C. You also have to remember that all other shortcut keys use Control instead of Command which is very annoying.

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  • Maybe you are like me and tend to drag along your favorite Windows applications even though you switched away to a different operating system a while ago. Well, maybe not… Still, I couldn’t find any file manager for Linux or OS X that would work as well as Total Commander. So I keep running it via Wine and it works surprisingly well.

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