Mmmmm … VNC

As I’m heading out of town in, oh … six hours … I figured I needed to set up VNC between the mini and the iBook. Anyone who’s spent a few minutes at this definitely knows the score, but man … OSXvnc was drop-dead simple to set up as a server, and Chicken of the VNC was a simple solution for the client. Add a little port-forwarding action with the router and … voilà! Between this and the fact that I do most of my work server-side, I can go off to Detroit and not miss a beat.

My only problem now is that I need to wind down enough to get three or four hours’ sleep. Tomorrow’s a long day—drive 10.5 hrs, check into the hotel, then make it to Ford Field, cover the CHA awards ceremony, then go collapse back at the hotel to rest up for the games.

WOOHOO! I may not be able to sleep at all.

I’m No Wardriver …

… but I really should thank whichever one of my neighbors has an open wireless network. Because of them, I don’t have to dig out the 8-port switch or my wireless access point tonight to muck around with the iBook. 😉

Update a few minutes later: Ugh. Too frustrating download speed here. Their net is pretty saturated. I ended up stealing the cable from the TiVo; I only need this for tonight, anyway, to let the iBook do Software Update downloads while I get ready for sleep.

I’m No Wardriver …

… but I really should thank whichever one of my neighbors has an open wireless network. Because of them, I don’t have to dig out the 8-port switch or my wireless access point tonight to muck around with the iBook. 😉

Update a few minutes later: Ugh. Too frustrating download speed here. Their net is pretty saturated. I ended up stealing the cable from the TiVo; I only need this for tonight, anyway, to let the iBook do Software Update downloads while I get ready for sleep.

Mail Act-On

I think the true test of whether software is worth me writing about it is when it reaches the point of ubiquity. For me, that happens in the Mac world when I find myself sub-consciously keying the strokes I’d use on a Mac here at my office PC.

Need an example? Let me provide it: Mail Act-On. I subscribe to the Getting Things Done modus operandi of dealing with email: either respond/act on it right away, or do one of three things:

  • File it in an @Actions folder so you can process the action later.
  • File it in an @Archives folder for later reference.
  • File it in an @Responses folder so you can respond at your leisure.

Now, I don’t do this on all platforms and in all situations; here at the office, I pretty well have to file by project—partly beacuse I work so many projects at once, and partly because I stink at working the ability to edit Outlook subject lines into my daily workflow. But with my personal email, save for very few exceptions, I have stuff in those three folders.

Because I use those folders almost exclusively, it was a natural for me to start using Mail Act-On by setting up filtering rules for those three folders. Unfortunately, it was hard to do, because … what keystrokes do you use? The first letter is out, as you have Actions and Archives. The second letter is out, because you’d have Archives, and wouldn’t that make you think of Responses? Yeah, me, too.

I finally adopted the following:

  • `c pushes me into @Actions.
  • `v pushes me into @Archives.
  • `r pushes me into @Responses.

I tried to come up with the letter that was “most representative” of the word. I finally got the system when I realized that c, r, and v were near on the keyboard. It works for me; you might use some other mnemonic, and I’m not going to fault you for it.

That said, I’ve come to use Mail Act-on for this seemingly trivial task so much that I now grouse that I have no analog here in the PC/Thunderbird world of my office touching of my personal email. It’s almost as hard on me as it is to transition between Alt and Ctrl keying of things in browsers. I have to do mental shifting every time, and it’s as jarring as going from driving a manual transmission to an automatic. [I’ll make do, though.]

In any regard, if you use Mail.app, are good about filing your email, and are looking for keyboard shortcuts, I consider Mail Act-On to be essential.

Beginning Keyboarding

I think the hardest part for me, as a Mac newbie, has been adjusting back and forth between the keyboard shortcuts I use in Windows and what I use in OS X. I’m very much one for using the keyboard as the primary input device—I like keeping my hands on the keyboard and using the mouse as little as necessary—and swapping between the two is a bit of a sticking point with me.

Consider today: I’d been using a Mac exclusively since lunchtime on Wednesday, and that was enough time for me to become wholly ingrained with all the Mac shortcuts. It took me almost an hour to remember that I was in PC world. Similarly, when I got home tonight, I found that it took me a half-hour to remember that I was indeed home and using my Mac.

I’m hoping that swapping back and forth between the two gets easier for me, especially when I fire up my home PC again later this week. [It’s been off over a week … the last time it went that long, I’d just moved into this house.]

Does anyone else find switching platforms difficult? I’m hoping that my purchase of a dedicated keyboard and mouse for the mini will help.