Tabbing, Terminals, and Apple’s Popup Bug

Popup Bug

The most annoying thing about programming in OSX has now been fixed, finally. For years now, every time I want to switch tasks to an XTerm (under X11), it doesn’t work the first time. I have to choose it in the task switcher, then go back to my app, then go back to the XTerm (Alt-Tab,left a few times,Alt-Tab,right,Alt-Tab,left a few times) Many others have had this problem in the past too (Mike Kruckenberg, Crazy Bob). Some have reported it fixed in the past too, but it never worked for me, until today. THANKYOU!

Well, some of the annoying, tedious, tasks become subsconscious after a while, but not this one. It was way too frustrating to morph into a neurological shell script. I am now 10% more productive and 100% more satisfied with programming in OSX. And more so once I switch my Rails dev over from Eclipse (+Rail plugins) to the shiny new IntelliJ Rails setup. (IntelliJ+Rails+OSX==Could it get any easier?)

Terminals

Actually, I’d like to be using Multiterm – tabbed terminals makes so much more sense, and it would also have overcome the crippling popup problem that no longer cripples. But, like Apple’s own ITerm, it’s dog-slow. Very odd to have a visible delay on a terminal in 2007, as if you were hammering a VT100 in 1977, but yes that’s what happens. L..e…t..t.e…r..s s…h…o.w… …u..p ..t…o..o ..l..a.t….e :..-…). You can read here about the slowness of OSX terminal apps that is as astounding as it is frustrating.

I will also take this opportunity to start using the “screen” utility, a command-line shell switcher. I just now realised why I’ve always overlooked it: It was banned years ago at uni due to resource constraints. That’s when I started working with Unix, so I always ignored screen, but it seems to be the only realistic way to run multiple sessions in a single term window, on OSX.

Tabbing

The Diggnation guys were joking a while ago about how just saying something has a “tabbed interface” makes it cool nowadays. Fact is, tabs are pretty cool and applicable in many situations. Here’s an example. I have a new phone – Orange SPV M700 (which is about anything you could ever ask for in a smartphone, awesome!!!) – and installed Opera as it renders better and more reliably than IE. One extra benefit is tabbing – yes, this mobile edition of Opera has tabs, standing out from other mobile browsers just like its grandaddy on the desktop years ago (which was then bolted onto Moz/FF/Safari and finally IE7). Well, I was surfing the web while on the tube, browsing DiggRiver, and about to lose signal as the train went underground, but no worries, open up 5 or 6 new tabs in a few seconds, they all loaded, and I had enough content away from the signal. Windows Mobile has a nice popup menu feature where you hold down the stylus a second or so, so you hold the stylus down on a link and Opera gives you a popup menu for that link, including Open in New Tab. Sweet.

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One thought on “Tabbing, Terminals, and Apple’s Popup Bug

  1. Pingback: Software As She’s Developed » Blog Archive » Taking Browser Tabs Seriously

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