Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MacVim: vi never looked so pretty

Vi is a text editor with an absolute bastard of a vertical learning curve.

It's so tough, you'll think you're crazy learning it.

And now its lickable on the Mac thanks to the MacVim Mac app!

MacVim adds a slick wrapper of services around the familiar gvim interface including auto-updating with Sparkle, nice integration with Mac copy and paste, Apple-N for new windows, a multiple window interface and transparency (:set trans=10).

Vi is powerful and fast and awesome. It's search and replace regex support is rich and you can run vim commands as scripts. It has syntax highlighting, spell checking and limitless undo. You can navigate without moving your hands from the keyboard. And the keyboard movement controls are used again and again on computers, from unix man pages to's The Big Picture.

This little app is so famous, you can run Microsoft Outlook, Word and Visual Studio 2008 with vi editing in-line on a PC using viemu (that app's not free like vim unfortunately).

Thanks to Bram Moolenaar at for his awesome work and for an application I wouldn't want to live without. Look on for vim on your operating system.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Growl, email and potential insanity

If you use Growl for system-wide notifications, then you may want to check out the MailMe notification. This is only useful for people that reserve Growl for important notifications or it will REALLY irritate you. WARNING: Dial down your notifications in subscribing apps first.

Once turned on, you give permission for Growl to send emails. When a Growl notification happens (like an IM chat starting in Adium), a message will be sent to the nominated email account.

This has come in handy when I've been away from my computer (like at lunch, in a meeting, out) and want to know what my system is up to. I have an iPhone so I get email everywhere.

Use it as you will - but dial down your notifications to things you really want to know about or it will drive you nuts.

Top - find those greedy processes using Terminal

Want to find those greedy processes? Wanna bet it's Firefox? Just kidding. Sort of. Just run this at the Terminal window (Applications folder | Utilities folder | Terminal, or just launch Quicksilver and type "Terminal"):

top -ocpu

This will list all your running processes by CPU utilization. The offender will be at the top.

Press "q" to quit. The PID can be used to kill the process as well, but that's probably only for more advanced users. I use this technique occasionally when I need to SSH into my mac box and kill some process that's sucking on the resource pipe a little too hard :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Suspend your virtual machine - it's faster!

If you still need the occasional windows world application, consider using suspend to speed up the process.

When I need a Windows application I can boot up Parallels or VMWare Fusion, press play and the virtual machine is available within about a minute or so. This is much faster than a cold boot.

When you’re done, just go to Virtual Machine | Suspend and within about 30 seconds you can quit the app and you’re done.

It’s on-demand computing, fast and convenient.