This is Joshua Wehner's archaic Blog

Scarred for life

Until about six years ago, I was mostly a PC/Windows/OS/2/Linux kinda guy. Around that point, I got an all-Mac job, and gradually came to see the Mac as the perfect Web development platform.

Replacing the PCs at home has taken longer, but about a month ago, I finally removed the last of my PC boxes from "regular use" status (Liz got a new Mac Pro and I got her PowerMac G5).

All in all, the PC-Mac switch has gone pretty smoothly (I'd gotten over most headaches - most of them minor ones - already).

Apparently, though, all these years of using PCs has scarred me for life: I've developed an odd "tick". For lack of a better description, I've been calling it the "meta-key double-tap".

In Windows world, Alt or Windows-key shift you into "menu mode" - either the application menu (Alt) or the Windows Start menu (Windows-key). (I do sometimes miss "menu mode", especially for rapid, repetitive action. Oh well.) One also uses these keys in various shortcuts - Windows-E brings up Explorer, Alt-F4 closes the current application, etc.

Sometimes, though, I would press the meta-key before my brain really knew what it wanted. Some basal, instinctive instruction would flit through my mind ("I should save now"), but something would interrupt the process ("wait, after this...") But, pressed without a shortcut to complete, the meta-key leaves you in "menu mode".

Hence, the "double-tap". In fact, double-tapping Alt has become a serious "I'm almost done with this" ritual - like my fingers are just itching for that familiar Alt-F-S save pattern.

Now, though, in Mac world, there's no "menu mode". I can hit Command or Alt or Option all day long, and, without a shortcut, there's no effect.

Still, the old double-tap haunts me.

(The double-Alt-tab - to go back and forth between two applications, especially Editor and Browser - remains useful, though.)

Permalink • Posted in: about me, apple, tech stuffComments (2)


Joshua Oct 16, 2006

Windows CLI: I've found Cygwin invaluable. There are some areas that just aren't quite as nice, but overall, I feel crippled in Windows world without it. (Er, more crippled.)

Multi-touch: Yes. Now, someone just needs to put this together with something like BumpTop, and we'll have a whole new universe of odd things to complain about.

Joshua Apr 9, 2007

UPDATE: Apparently, Google's new Desktop software for the Mac uses a Cmd-Cmd double-tap for activation (see here for more details.)