For work related reasons, I’ve found myself using a Mac for the past two weeks rather than my aging Latitude. Along with whatever the sale related winds happen to be when Stark finally retired, I suppose this will influence whether my next laptop ends up an XPS or a MacBook, lol.

Having adapted an iPad and fiddled around with old-ass PowerBooks, I’m already well aware that Apple has its own standards when it comes to keyboard shortcuts, and that it’s probably as old as anyone else’s :P.

One of the most annoying points of transition for me isn’t the control, option, and command thing — rather it’s the differences in use. For the most part these modifiers are what you’d expect compared to control, alt, and super (windows). The part that will corrupt my muscle memory is some everyday control+shortcuts are control+shortcuts and some are command+shortcuts. Unlike a simple difference in modifier layout: this calls for learning which ones are and aren’t different modifiers; not just different key positions.

While the pattern is pretty straight forward for application specific shortcuts, e.g., cntrl+t to open a tab will almost always be cmd+t instead and changing tabs remains the control+tab of a PC; it’s the cursor movements for hopping by words and lines with the arrow keys that are harder to muscle memory. Those feel to have much less rime to reason to me. To balance that out, macOS comes with a version of vim pre-installed!

My relationship to Mac OSX was mostly focused on the unix layer. BSD with bits of GNU, and a little fruit on the side. Apple’s GUI itself never interested me much when I was getting deeper into computers.

As a consequence: I find the macOS window manager very “Different”, but surprisingly interesting. An early source of confusion for me was control+up versus control+down. One of these effectively shows the windows on the desktop and one of these effectively shows the windows for the current application. That’s the key.

macOS’s window manager is decidedly modern but it has rather classic notions!

Another source of such confusion is differences between cmd+tab and cmd+`, a distinction between applications and windows quickly becomes a “Huh” when you start having handfuls of terminal windows intermixed with handfuls and handfuls of other application windows. If I hadn’t played with the classic MacOS, I’m not sure I would have figured that distinction out as quick since no modern platform really does the difference between application window group and windows of the current application that way.

Actually, it’s surprising how much macOS has retained from the ‘90s and ‘80s era system software. Both in spirit and in direct function. While at the same time embracing UNIX, which typically takes a more “PC” approach to things once you leap from minicomputers to microcomputers.