mac setup 2024

despite the desire to keep everything as stock as possible sometimes you realize it sucks and you need buy some stuff and fiddle around to improve your situation.

hardware

i was tired of connecting power, display, headphones and other peripherals to my laptop every time i used it in my office so i went out and bought a Kensington K37010NA. it charges the laptop and drives a 4K monitor at 60hz. i also got a bigger 31.5in monitor, an LG 32GR93U-B and an apple keyboard with the fingerprint reader built in, which lets me close my laptop lid and keep my eyes on a single display.

not really direct computer hardware but for the office i installed an energy recovery ventilator (“ERV”), a Panasonic FV-04VE1. it circulates in fresh air from outside without losing too much energy from heating or cooling. i run it on the high mode at 40CFM, combined with a fan to better circulate the air inside the room, and this keeps my CO2 levels below 800 without opening any windows. i have felt a lot more awake after a day in the office after making this change. one thing i recommend to everyone spending time indoors is to measure CO2.

software

increase contrast

i love contrast, but current design trends do not. mac os’ ‘Increase contrast’ accessibility setting improves that in a number of apps. this setting is in System Settings → Accessibility → Display → Increase contrast. here’s hoping that prefers-contrast is the new dark mode in web dev trends.

keyboard stuff

you really need to know what program is going to receive your keystrokes when you’re trying to keep your hands on the keyboard. hazeover makes it crystal clear by dimming windows that do not have active focus.

it’s also annoying when you have a few programs open, press command-tab to switch to another, and then suddenly ALL of your browser’s windows are layered on top of your text editor. alt-tab fixes that, letting you tab to specific window instances instead of just ‘chrome’ or ‘safari’ and bringing all of their windows to the front.

rectangle provides keyboard shortcuts to position windows, making it easy to arrange programs side by side.

alt-tab and rectangle are both open source, and i noticed they were accepting donations so i was excited to toss them a few bucks through their github sponsors pages as a thank-you. it was my first time supporting OSS with money, and given how easy it is to make a one-time payment that way i won’t hesitate to do it again in the future.

© 2024 peter schilling