Windows does this; Why doesn’t OS X?

OS X Applications for Windows Users


Controversial title? Maybe. However, as yet another former, lifelong Windows user making the switch to Mac, it’s a question I’ve legitimately asked. As great as I think OS X is, I’ve caught myself a few times wishing that it had some particular feature, or an OS X-ish version of that feature, that I often used in Windows.

Of course, many Apple fanatics assure me that it’s not the OS; it’s something wrong with me (which is a theory I’m willing to entertain). The basic fact is that Microsoft did do some things right with Windows that could benefit OS X and it’s silly to pretend that isn’t the case.

As a very simple case, when I’m using a Windows application, if I hold down Alt (the traditional key to begin a menu item shortcut), all of the letters that launch a particular menu will be underlined on the main menu. It’s a very intuitive method for accessing application menus. There really isn’t anything in OS X like this out of the box. There are ways to use 3rd party applications get close enough though…and that’s the purpose of this article.


Greatest Hits (Vol. 1)

I've never heard of him, but SEVEN VOLUMES of Greatest Hits? That's impressive.

Image from

I’m just realizing that this here blog just celebrated its first birthday — my first ‘hello world‘ post here was May 1, 2012. This seems like a good opportunity to go looking through the archives and point to some older posts that newer visitors/subscribers may not have read.

Ryan Brubaker did a great three part series on using CoffeeScript and Backbone.js:

CoffeeScript has been all the rage lately and I’ve been wanting to hop on board the bandwagon. I’ve also seen Backbone.js mentioned quite a bit and was even more intrigued after listening to this .NET Rocks podcast. I decided to convert some plain JavaScript code I had in a side project to use both CoffeeScript and Backbone.js and see how things went.

The project is a simplified morse code simulator that animates morse code being sent over a telegraph line. The complete source is available here and the running code can be seen here.

I was interested to learn this week that the folks at github recently updated their JavaScript style guide to require that all new JavaScript code be written using CoffeeScript. That’s a pretty significant vote of confidence in my eyes — if you’ve been assuming that CoffeeScript is just a fad, maybe this will prompt you to re-evaluate that stance.

Steve Huey dropped a whole bunch of useful iOS/OS X-related posts:

Along the way, I contributed a few pieces talking about the idea of programming as a liberal art, and as something that most people should learn how to do at some level:

I believe that everyone should learn to write a little code, and play an instrument, and make things out of wood, and tend a garden, and cook, and, yes, do a little plumbing, too. They shouldn’t learn these things because they’ll use them every day to earn a paycheck, they should learn them because it makes them better thinkers, and better able to take care of themselves. On top of that — if vast empires were being built on top of plumbing the way that they’re being built on software, I’d say that anyone who was happy to ignore it as a black art practiced by wizards was making a big mistake. The value of acquiring a new mode of thinking isn’t affected by the fact that most people won’t need to use pointers or recursion on a daily basis.

If you missed these the first time around — check them out.

Prototyping with OpenCL in Quartz Composer


I’ve found a great way to experiment with OpenCL-C and discover how to access the power you have on your lap or at your feet. With tools you already have if you are developing with Xcode, you can prototype and run highly parallelized algorithms. Here’s how.