Cross Platform Productivity

12th June 2013 - Fairbanks

See my OSX setup notes for current details

Bouncing between a variety of machines and platforms regulary (multiple times in an hour) I find myself gravitating to a few tools available to just make it easy.

Capslock as Control - I don’t care what platform I’m on - I want my control key where everybody keeps putting that useless key CAPSLOCK. Also handy for later on when I want simple keybinds consistent across platforms.

Google Chrome web browser keeps track of things (browsing history) very well as I bounce between machines I don’t even think about where I was opening up a window - I just start typing in the address bar and chrome starts autofilling based on any one of my boxes browsing history. Creepy - but creepy awesome.


Alphred the Launcher provides me a launcher window with autocompletion. I don’t even know how to launch applications in OSX correctly without using a terminal or Alphred. I use CONTROL+ to bring Alphred up.

TotalTerminal provides a quake style drop down terminal that slides down from the top of the screen on top of whatever I’m looking at (usually a chrome window). I use CONTROL+; to toggle TotalTerminal. I launch it after a reboot by bringing up Alphred since I never learned how to make it auto launch on reboot.

Evernote’s Skitch is the last puzzle peice for easy to annotate screen clips. Launch with Alpphred and then you can CONTROL+SHIFT+5 to trigger a screen clip. Available in AppStore

MplayerX video player - Available in AppStore

Xcode compilers - need command line tools installed so homebrew is an option

System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Modifier Keys -> Capslock as Control

Terminal hidden in Utilities

Growl - Available in AppStore

The rest of making a Mac box useful comes from TotalTerminal and HomeBrew

Misc other things to install on OSX

  • XQuartz will be needed for homebrew deps
  • rbenv and ruby-build for getting a good ruby


First thing a Windows box needs out of the way is the CAPSLOCK issue using a Windows Registry Key Re-Mapping.

Launchy is the Alphred for windows. Again I use CONTROL+ to trigger Launchy.

Skitch is also required but not as full featured as the MacOSX version.

I need a TotalTerminal Windows alternative that hands me a PowerShell. I’ve not bothered to find that yet since there isn’t a homebrew alternative for Windows solution I like. Clearly I don’t use windows too much except for MS Office and conference sharing requirements.


Terminals everywhere solve my problem. I miss skitch for Linux.

Gnome DO or Launchy - yum install launchy - either way bind to control-space again

Shutteryum install shutter

For some reason I don’t use a TotalTerminal like option in Linux (dispite plenty available).