Setting-up the New Mac

This note is chronological and step-by-step list of actions I took while setting up new Mac.

  1. Pre-flight checklist on fresh install.
    1. Update to latest software, Mac App Store should not have anything in Updates.
    2. Change computer name to [redacted]. (Maybe start using fancy names again?)
    3. Turn on iCloud.
    4. Disable optimized storage.
  2. System Preferences
    1. Turn on FileVault.
    2. Disable Dashboard.
    3. Configure keyboard input sources to: ABC (for English), Japanese (Hiragana), Georgian (QWERTY).
    4. Set Katakana on caps-lock when Japanese keyboard is on.
    5. Set ABC Latin keys on caps-lock when Georgian keybaord is on.
    6. Set resolution to true 2×. Screw non-integer scaling.
    7. Set correct timezone and locale.
    8. Set lock message: If found, please do the right thing. Email [redacted] or call [redacted]. This computer is encrypted and attached to iCloud account. It is valueless if lost.
    9. Setup Watch Unlock and TouchID.
  3. Set-up Accounts:
    1. iCloud should be set up already.
    2. [Redacted]
    3. ...
  4. Verify Messages is loading data from iCloud, if not migrate contents of: ~/Library/Messages
  5. Install 1Password.
  6. Install homebrew.
    1. /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL [raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install](https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install))"
    2. Install mas-cli: brew install mas(because Mac App Store pre-Mojave is terrible)
  7. Install Fish Shell and make it default.
    1. Set locale on UTF-8 by executing:
      1. set -Ux LC_ALL en_US.UTF-8
      2. set -Ux LANG en_US.UTF-8
  8. Migrate user fonts folder: ~/Library/Fonts
  9. Configure .dotfiles.
  10. Install TextExpander and give a another chance, it can do much more that I’m using currently.
  11. Install Alfred.
    1. Preferences sync folder: ~/Documents/Misc./Alfred Sync/
    2. Configure [redacted] banking quick access:
    3. Configure Jisho:
      1. URL: http://jisho.org/search/{query}
      2. Keyword: j
    4. Configure Tangorin:
      1. URL: http://tangorin.com/general/{query}
      2. Keyword: t
    5. Configure Google Translate (ja→en):
      1. URL: https://translate.google.com/#ja/en/{query}
      2. Keyword: gt
  12. Install Xcode.
    1. $ xcode-select --install
    2. Install Xcode beta (if there is one)
    3. Install Reveal.
    4. Configure my LLDB aliases.
    5. Install Brisk.
    6. Install Dash.
    7. Install Hex Friend.
    8. Install WWDC.io.
    9. Install Build Time Analyzer (?).
    10. Organize code snippets using Xcode or TextExpander.
    11. Install Huston, push notification gem.
  13. Install Tower and Kaleidoscope.
    1. Make Tower’s git as system default.
    2. Configure git
      1. git config --global user.name "Toto Tvalavadze"
      2. git config --global user.email "[redacted]"
      3. git config --global color.ui auto
    3. Configure.gitconfig
    4. Install and configure Kaleidoscope as default diff and merge tool.
    5. Configure git-lfs.
  14. Configure certificates, ssh keys, and remote access.
    1. Make sure iCloud Keychain is synced.
    2. Move all Apple Developer Certificates from old/other computer.
    3. Make sure GitHub access is working and new computer is registered.
  15. Setup Ruby environment.
    1. $ brew install autoconf automake gdbm gmp libksba libtool libyaml openssl pkg-config readline
    2. Disable local documentation generator from .gemrc:
      1. gem: --no-ri --no-rdoc
    3. Use this installation process, seems leg
  16. Install TextMate.
  17. Install VSCode.
    1. Configure my settings.
  18. Setup Python environment.
    1. [WIP]
  19. Setup Node environment. (Not sure about that so far)
    1. [WIP]
  20. Install BackBlaze and reconfigure my account to new computer.
  21. Install thinking tools — Things, Agenda, MindNote, MonoDraw, Bear, Grammarly.
    1. Convert old Notability notes to PDF and archive somewhere.
  22. Install work tools — Skype for Business, Slack, Chrome, Viber.
  23. Consider switching to Fantastical 2.
  24. Install Bartender, your menu bar is about to get poo-pooed on.
  25. Install Setapp:
    1. TripMode, iStat Menus, Squash, CleanMyMac, Gifox, Mate Translate, World Clock Pro.
  26. Install RescueTime.
    1. Consider pomedoro timers and some other time tracking tools. Toggl maybe?
  27. Install and Configure Ghostery for Safari.
  28. Install minor useful utilities:
    1. Deliveries
    2. SuperDuper!
    3. Printopia
    4. The Unarchiver
    5. Transmit 5
    6. Garmin Express
    7. Soulver
    8. Transmission
  29. Make sure Photos is getting data from iCloud (non-optimized storage: on).
  30. Make sure iCloud Storage is transferring Documents folder and Desktop folder.
  31. Transfer non-sync folders:
    1. ~/Reference (drop in sidebar)
    2. ~/Inbox (drop in sidebar)
    3. ~/Code
    4. ~/Websites
    5. ~/Music
    6. ~/Movies
    7. ~/Downloads
    8. ~/Pictures/RAW Photos
    9. ~/Pictures/Wallpapers
    10. ~/Pictures/Zwift
    11. ~/Pictures/Lightroom
    12. ~/Pictures/Captiure One Image Library
  32. Install Adobe Application Manager.
    1. Photoshop CC
    2. Lightroom Classic CC (ugh, consider Capture One 11 instead)
    3. Illustrator CC
    4. Camera Raw CC
  33. Install design utilities: Xscope, Flinto, Squash.
  34. Install boring stuff: Pages, Numbers, Keynote.
  35. Install Ableton Live 10 and audio software.
    1. Download sample packages I need.
    2. Add folders for IR responses and samples to file browser.
    3. Test Push 2 is working.
  36. Install sports apps: Zwift, Garmin Express.

All set, computer should be usable now. 👨‍💻

Reading Quickly

Since I remember myself I had a dream to read quickly. I wanted to know everything in 300 page book by hitting it to my head. Of course that didn't work. 

Today, being grown-up, I still have that very same dream to transfer information from the book to brain in relatively short period of time. 

Problem I face is my reading pace. No matter how much I try and read, I do it in a very moderate rate. Thus, as one of my "2014 Todo List" goals I decided to learn how to read quickly.

In late October I was listening to one of the episodes of Iterate podcast where Eric Mayville of Wondersauce was talking about challenges in making of Read Quick app. Which as you might already guessed—is an app that "teaches" you how to read quickly. So I bought it. In fact I bought almost every app that claimed to make me read quicker. There are quite a few apps of this type, but only two remained on my phone—Velocity and Read Quick

Both of them are simple, which is crucial for me, and both of them can read from Instapaper, which is a must. Conceptually both are identical: They display single word at a time with a predefined rate (measured in words per minute). At the fist time choosing from two seemed to be easy. Velocity has nicer and simpler UI, but devil is in details. Read Quick does everything with more of a detail oriented fashion. For example, Read Quick will pause for a fraction of second if displayed word is too long and repeat last five word if you swipe right in case you lost your attention for a second. This seems to be nothing special but makes reading very comfortable. On the other hand Velocity UI is cleaner, simpler and has icon I like being on my home screen. Plus, it can archive Instapaper article right from the app itself. It seems like Velocity was made by people who care about UI and Read Quick—who care about reading. Thus, my choice will got to Read Quick but ideally, I would prefer those two to merge somehow in an app of my dream.

That's all good and fine, but do I read faster? Yes. I started at 250 words per minute (which was not hard) and now read at 305 WPM. As a result I can read 1500 word essay in under 5 minutes... only if a keep my mouth shut.

Kindle Paperwhite

I was so confident about new iPad mini being announced on Apple September Event, that I sold mine the day before keynote. 

As a result, I'm left without anything portable yet big enough to be comfortable for reading. And, since time has proven that I used iPad mostly for reading—Kindle Paperwhite was easy decision.

First things first. You can not compare Kindle Paperwhite or regular Kindle to iPad. Only thing those devices are capable is reading, that's all. But, boy they are good for reading.

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Kindles come with e-ink screen. Benefit is literally no glare in any lighting situation and outstanding battery life. Because of backlight, Paperwhite is bit heavier and thicker than regular version to provide near-equal battery life. 

Patented backlight is Paperwhite’s highlight. It works, but it is a bit odd. Amazon recommends to use maximum brightness in daylight and near-minimum in dim or dark situations. Personally, I see no reason to use backlight in good lighting whatsoever. When backlight really shines is night. You could read Paperwhite in absolute darkness and not disturb your beloved one, sleeping nearby. Sadly, backlight is far from perfect at lower levels. You can clearly see 6 spots of intense light (LEDs that provide light) in the lower part of the screen. Rest of the screen is evenly lit, but those spots are sometimes annoying.

User interface is another huge improvement from regular Kindle. It has slightly higher resolution touchscreen which is responsive enough to keep up with slow e-ink screen and precise enough to use it actively when you need to look-up for a word in a dictionary. Only thing I miss are paddles for page turns as on regular Kindle. I find them way more comfortable than swiping or tapping on screen.

Amazon services were always very good and reliable. Thus, managing your library, sending files to Kindle Cloud and purchasing books directly on device are very easy and comfortable. Things I would love to see in future is built-in Instapaper and RSS reader (even without on-device feed manager). That would be truly fantastic. 

Kindle Paperwhite is one of my favorite product at the moment. No other device is as comfortable and pleasing to use for reading as Paperwhite. It is sad Amazon is using same name to sell its iPad rivals—Kindle Fire series (including just announced HDX and HD). All of them, in my opinion, simply can not compete with Paperwhite for reading, and with iPad for everything else. iPad is still king of all tablets by a huge margin because of eco-system and performance combination they provide.

Skeuomorphism

For whatever reason, Scott Forstall is out and internet has a new buzz word to play with—Skeuomorphism. For even more unknown reason, just in one day that "Skeuomorphism" has become a evil thing, and Apple has fallen in desperate need of getting rid of it with help of Jony Ive. There was nothing wrong with iOS a day before. Sometimes I think that people don't have taste and their opinion at all, and like things they are told to like (or dislike in this case).

It's not first time I see that Apple has two types of users: a) people who make their life easier and comfier using Apple's products and b) people who buy Apple stuff because they are told it's good. I believe I'm in first group. 

Back to Skeuomorphism.

Oxford Dictionary:

An object or feature which imitates the design of a similar artefact in another material.

Basically, it's a kitsch. Personally I hate it, especially in car interiors with fake plastic woods and leather textured panels. It does serve a purpose though: it simulates look of more expensive interior, just like in Jaguar or Bentley. 

In software skeuomorphic user interfaces doesn't fool you by faking more expensive and luxury items, they just serve as a symbols that help your brain connect something on the screen with something you've already used in your everyday life. There is a good reason for Xerox Alto, which was first computer with graphic UI to have things like desktopwindowstrash bindocumentsfolders... It was easier to understand in times when people thought computers are only lunar expeditions. You see, everything listed in Alto's UI are real things, therefore nearly every UI you seen in every operating system is a skeuomorphic as a result. There is nothing new to it. On iPhone, Passbook is a brilliant example how skeuomorphic UI does it's best. It separates movie tickets from boarding passes very clearly and makes UI cleaner by elimination "TYPE: BOARDING PASS" indicators on every single item. It even makes app look very minimalistic, yet readable.

So, if not skeuomorphic design, what's wrong with iOS? Yes, stitched leather is awful and unnecessary in Reminders app. So is a tape deck in Podcasts and ripped paper in iCal. But does this graphical elements make them worse? No, user experience does. 

Problem Apple is having now is user interactions design. There are many problems in iOS today that have nothing to do with a shredder in Passbook app:

  • For unknown reasons Camera app launched from lock screen can not share photos, so you have to: 1) press home button, 2) unlock phone, 3) navigate to Photos app, 4) goto to camera roll, 5) select latest photo, 6) share the damn thing.

  • iCloud works, but it's to opaque to user in terms of files and the way they are organized.

  • Notification Center doesn't track your activity, thus you have to delete notification manually even if you took action it was notifying you about.

  • Notes app is extremely limited. 

List is not complete.

Again, back to Skeuomorphism. There is nothing wrong with it, but there is a thin line where it's too much (Reminders app, kitsch) and when it does serve a purpose (Passbook, clean and readable). 

It is important for designers to remember, that UI has to respect content it's serving. Content is the reason there is an UI for it. If graphical elements dominate everything, then it's unnecessary; get rid of it, make it clean.

On Web, Internet and Cloud

Web is not an internet. Cloud is. "Cloud" is simply new name for the internet, that's all it is. For me, "cloud" sounds simpler and fluffier, so I'll stick with it. Web, on the other hand, is a little part of the cloud. Little, but most commonly used. So common in fact, that Google is trying to make you believe that web is a internet and cloud is something mystical somewhere above there. 

Following article expresses very personal thoughts. That is what I think and what is right in my opinion.

Web

Web is some kind of 3rd party platform on top of your operating system. It's like Adobe Flash and Java, with predefined purpose to serve you information in some multimedia and textual way. Web applications are something new and wrong, they are just normal applications connected to cloud but with a wrong user interface. Web had a clear UI guidelines, and those guidelines were made to serve documents on you computer from the cloud. That's all. 

Today, companies like Google are trying to shift everything to cloud... I'm sorry, to the web. That's also wrong. I see the goal where they are going with this: to make computer act as a simple terminal to the cloud (yes, cloud), but on web? That's like huge experiment without knowing what will happen. I don't like it. 

Cloud

"Cloud" is a big buzz word today. But in essence it's good old internet, including storage, remote computing, services, web, everything that's not on your computer is in cloud. 

OS Native Apps

What's wrong with them? I never had need to have Photoshop in my browser, neither I wanter my word processor to be in web-browser, neither my iTunes. BUT! I always wanter my Photoshop and Word as well as music to be in sync on every device I use or own. 

OS Native App + Cloud

What wrong with Twitter on Mac or PC? It's been ages since I last opened Twitter in my web-browser, as well as my mail. It seems native OS apps work great with cloud without even touching web. Are they slower? No. Uglier? Oh no. Less user friendly? No. So why should I have my iTunes user interface in my web-browser? No reason. But I'd like it to sync music with all my devices, via cloud. 

iCloud

That brings us to iCloud. Which in my opinion is most correct approach of bringing cloud to our lifestyles as a consumers. Apple, with huge help of iPhone developer community, realized that using OS native apps with cloud services are much more efficient and usable that everything just ported to a web-browser. I really hope that iCloud will work properly (and not like Mobile.me which was rubbish) because it's the only correct approach I've seen in many years of implementing syncing and remote storage services.

  • I love native OS applications.

  • I do not like web-apps, they have wrong UX and UI.

  • Web is for documents, not apps, live it alone. 

Business Cards for Sixty Three Bits

I love useful, innovative, and memorable business cards. You can find gazillions of interesting designs in Internet: some of them are funny and some of them are even impressive like Steve Wozniak's one from perforated metal. Some of them are so complicated that they loose the whole point of business card — which is sharing your contact information.

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Goal: Create minimalist, yet fully functional business card which had only one purpose — share contact information.

First of all, it had to be dead simple; simple, informative and memorable. Making simple business card memorable is tough task but adding QR code and portrait layout would help a little. Portrait layout also helps with big amount of information: everything fits brilliantly and business card still feels light and not like a piece of paper with poem written on it.

QR Codes

QR (Quick Response) Codes are old invention very popular in Japan. Basically those are two dimensional bar codes that are very fast in decoding using dedicated scanners and most importantly — phone cameras. That's where first part of the name (quick) comes from. QR codes can represent any textual data imaginable, including web addresses, phone numbers, notes and, of course — contact information altogether in vCard or meCard formats. This brings us to business card again, why not to have a digital version of business card on "analog" one? Idea is that you point your camera-phone on business card and all contact information on frond side of the card appears in your phone immediately. That simple.

Getting rid of Job Position

All start-ups and small companies have small staff. Small staff means some of the employees share some duties; for example I'm iOS and Mac Developer, UX/UI Consultant, part-time Project Manager and Co-Founder in 63BITS. It would be silly and funny (in a bad way) to write all of those thing on a single business card. Of course, you may say, make many versions of cards exclusively for every job position. That would be fair, but instead we decided not to write job position at all and here is why.

Generally real users of your business cards are your clients, and giving them a card you mean: "Hello, My name is John Appleseed, I'm Vice President of Product Marketing at Tomato Industries", but for a small company it may mean "Hello, My name is John Appleseed, I'm Software Developer, Graphic Designer, part-time Pizza delivery boy and sometimes I manage myself and talk to clients". By removing job position your card would mean simply "Hi, I'm John Appleseed — your contact person" which is exactly what business card has to do.

News-making in Social Media

Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein:

A group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.

Progress is good; but is it? Just about 2000 years ago, around 59 BC , as ordered by Julius Caesar, government announcements were hand-written on paper and posted in public places. That was first steps. In 17th century newspaper was born as we know it today, printed and edited. Therefore editorial media was born.

Editorial media was also having progress for last three centuries and 20th century with it's fast and efficient technologies help enormously to print and distribute content as fast as possible; newspapers could tell stories which happened just yesterday, but they couldn't tell thing in live, like TV does... or the internet. This brings us to most interactive way of communication and news-making men ever created, social media.

Today, anyone can become a journalist in a seconds, just by registering a blog; or can they? Are bloggers journalists, where no journalist license exists? Not surprisingly, most bloggers insist that they are journalists, entitled to equal rights with older media, on the other hand Los Angeles Times media critic David Shawn once criticised blogger for calling themselves journalists because they have no experience, editors, and standards.

Personally I do agree with this statement, but how to define a blogger and a journalist? By web-site layout? Of course no, it would be stupid. By experience? Well, maybe. By content?.. There is no way to define journalist from blogger, unfortunately, internet's amazing interactivity made both of them journalists, and some of them are god and some of them are rubbish.

Does it look like a progress? No, not even slightly. Social media has become a killer of editorial media and many serious news-gathering organisations, just because news on the internet is free; free and rubbish, but no-one cares about second.

In my mind there can be no progress in social media just because it never will be as good as a editorial one (see statement above by David Shawn), but the technologies that social media gave us are the right ones. There is no better place for news discussion than a blog comment section or some kind of discussion board, there is no faster way to spread news than Twitter or Facebook.

People pay for newspapers, that makes some profit for news-gathering organisations to keep doing the job they can do best, professional editors are also payed to do there job, so are critics, journalists, and everyone evolved in news-making and newspaper production. There is even a typography specialist to make text clear, easy to read and not tiring while reading long articles. Most importantly news are gathered from very trusted and proven sources. None of these things are done while news are generated by people, some thing are changed time-time, no sources are provided, some blog designs are so bad that they can make you blind if you read them permanently, but because it's free people read that. There is nothing bad in reading user-generated news, but this forces editorial media to publish it's information for free too. Which drops sales of newspapers, salaries of editors and real journalist/columnists and as a result kills that news-gathering organisation at all.

One killed news-gathering organisation is one less proven source of information, even for the user-generated news.

Now let's imagine the worse situation even imaginable: There are no news-gathering organisations left, people know only news from other people. Reminds you anything? Back to 58 BC + internet which spreads those unproven news even faster than in 58 BC. Progress? Definitely not.

Today world needs editorial news more then ever before and there is only one way I can see it can survive. We have to pay for the news just as we did few decades ago, when we where buying printed newspapers. Just because screen can display anything and news are not materialistic like newspapers doesn't mean news became free now; news-gathering organisations still have to work very hard to collect those pieces of information, and we have to respect those people who run on battlefield along with solders, holding a camera or voice recorder instead of weapon.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against social media, it's brilliant for spreading news very fast and doing some arguments with each other, but bloggers, seriously, we are not journalists even if we want that, we are just people who can write about something we've seen. Let this job be done by professionals, just because to avoid gazzilions of misunderstandings and false information.

And secondly, always read editorial media news, and never be ashamed to pay $5.00 for newspaper/e-newspaper subscription.

Technologies provided by social media development are fantastic, use them wisely.