The Mac Mini pays off

About twelve hours ago, I was asked to expedite a patch for the Gecko 1.8 branch. Since I usually don’t play around on the branch, this wasn’t quite trivial. On my personal Windows box, I had uninstalled MSVC++ 6 several months ago, so that option was out. Ditto for my corporate Windows box (which never had it installed in the first place).

On my Linux operating system, I successfully compiled and ran a 1.8 branch build. Unfortunately, being rusty with gdb and ddd, this proved useless in terms of diagnosing the problem. If I knew how to debug in Linux properly, loading the right libraries and setting the breakpoints, I’d’ve had no problem.

So I switched to the Mac Mini I bought a couple weeks ago. Again, I successfully checked out, compiled, and ran the 1.8 branch build. I followed the instructions on using XCode at devmo, and got a little confused when they talked about Project Builder in the same sections (without giving me the rest of the details on XCode use). When I realized XCode and Project Builder were two different products entirely, it became relatively easy to set the breakpoints in running code and hit them – which led to me finding the cause of the problem I was looking for.

Ultimately, it turned out the problem I was researching wasn’t really applicable to the 1.8 branch

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. But that’s irrelevant. With relatively little trial and error, and the docs available on, I was able to debug the problem as I understood it at the time. I can truthfully say that this is the first time I was able to use the Mac Mini to hack something that would have been problematic to do on another operating system – without being an expert at every stinkin’ little detail.

Now if only I could figure out the other little details, like why the “end” button doesn’t take me to the end of a textbox line… or how to switch by keyboard from ChatZilla to another window in the parent application (SeaMonkey, Firefox)…

UPDATE: Wow, I really asked some dumb newbie questions in the previous paragraph, didn’t I? I got so many responses just on that… 🙂

16 thoughts on “The Mac Mini pays off”

  1. “or how to switch by keyboard from ChatZilla to another window in the parent application (SeaMonkey, Firefox)…”
    Cmd (or Ctrl) + tab isn’t it? Also, one of the Expose hotkeys (F10?) is a ‘windows in a parent application’ expose only.

  2. To switch windows in an application, hit CMD-`. The workaround for end of line is CMD-arrow. I don’t have any historical background for this.

  3. Probably not what you’re looking for, but you can use Expose for keyboard window switching. Press F10, then use the cursors to select the window to switch to, then press enter.

  4. switching between windows is done with command-` (backquote, bottom left of your keyboard)

  5. You can get to the end of a textbox or textarea line by pressing Ctrl+Right or Cmd+Right, depending on the application. In most single-line textboxes that do not support autocomplete, the Down arrow key also takes you to the end.

  6. On macs with an apple keyboard you hit the “Apple” (clover, or-whatever-you-call-it) button with Arrow-Right, that will jump to the end of a line.
    As you’re using a mini I suppose you’re using a PC keyboard aswell, perhaps Windows key-> Arrow Right will do the same thing 😉
    (From Alex: Nope. As I was once going to blog but never did, the keyboard/mouse I had for my PC was PS/2-compatible…)

  7. Command-rightarrow will jump the cursor to the end of the line (this has been standard Mac OS text-field behaviour since forever ago). For what it’s worth, Option-Fwd/Back will go forward or back one word boundary, and Command-Up or Command-Down will jump to the very top or very bottom of the text.
    Most Mac apps allow Command-` to switch among open windows within the app; if Seamonkey or Fx don’t do this, you should file a bug…and then fix it 😉

  8. Try ctrl+a/ctrl+e or cmd+left/right arrows.
    Cmd+(Shift)+~ cycles between the windows of the active application.

  9. Switching between windows within a single application is done using command and ` (tilde key). As a reasonably recent switcher from Windows I am still not really sure about Apple’s use of the End key. But Command and the Left and Right arrow keys do the same job.

  10. Now if only I could figure out the other little details, like why the “end” button doesn’t take me to the end of a textbox line… or how to switch by keyboard from ChatZilla to another window in the parent application (SeaMonkey, Firefox)…
    Cmd-` (i.e. one key above cmd-tab) cycles through all open windows in the current application. And sometimes just using F10 and the mouse ends up being faster. There are also 3rd party utilities you can get that will yield a more Windows-ey cmd-tab.
    Home and end drove me nuts for a while. I still think they’re kind of perverse. You pretty much just have to get used to using either cmd-arrowkeys or ctrl-a/ctrl-e.

  11. Welll…
    just to be a tad different from all of the above.
    In Seamonkey you’re happy with these keys:
    Command + 1 = Browser
    Command + 2 = Mails & News
    Command + 4 = Composer
    Command + 5 = Address Book
    Command 6 = Chatzilla
    You got the same behaviour with Cntrl in Windows or Linux.
    This has the advantage of opening the app if it isn’t yet opened. The down side is that you don’t change between browser windows (well… I use just one, for what more than this?), between mail composer and Mails, etc.
    You can type Cmd+? or “Help Key” while in Seamonkey to see the help. The topic “SeaMonkey Keyboard Shortcuts” tell the right MacOS shortcuts .

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