Aquamacs – I am home

If you like Emacs, and are looking for version that plays well in OS-X land, it looks like Aquamacs is what you want.

As an aside, following the instructions here, to download and install MIT Scheme, will get you ready to self study Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. Eli Bendersky blogged his effort to read the book.

If you’re concerned about learning Lisp to use Emacs, you don’t have to. But if you care to dip in, defmacro’s The Nature of Lisp is a good read.

If you’re looking for Python support, check out this write up (M-x run-python just worked out of the box – nice Aquamacs!).

There are many versions of Emacs available for OS-X beyond Aquamacs and the one that Apple bundles. You can find them on the EmacsWiki. The CarbonEmacsPackage is a popular choice, so is Emacs App. I’ll probably end up experimenting a bit with them both.

There is a great set of Emacs tutorials at IBM’s developerWorks.

Emacs’s Org-mode might be the answer to my note taking needs.

Got my Mac Book Pro at work

Many of us at work are migrating to OS-X. It’s logical since our deployment environment is a Unix variant, Solaris, and most of us on Windows run Cygwin to create a developer environment that resembles a Unix-like environment.

Now I’m not a stranger to OS-X. I’ve been convincing my family to switch for the past four years and now they mostly run iBooks and Mac Books, decreasing the time I used to spend helping fix problems. Fact of the matter is, if you are using a PC mostly to send email, surf the web, manage photos and video, it is a great all round choice.

The irony is that within minutes of getting my laptop I froze it! Turns out it isn’t all that smart to run Parallels, out of the box, the way I did, and run, oh, 8 or so programs simultaneously outside of it!

Anyways, in less than an hour I had my favorite web browser, Firefox, my organizer, Wikidpad (which required me to run it from the Python source – but it worked!), my encryption software TrueCrypt (Edit: TrueCrypt development was discontinued, see the link for background and alteratives), my IDE of choice Eclipse, my favorite OS-X free text editor, TextWrangler, all up and running. With Maven, SVN, Java and Python pre-installed made it easy to checkout my current work and get a build going. I won’t be needing Parallels all that much since so much of the work I do can be done in OS-X, but it will be convenient to be able to test websites in different browsers, on two of the three primary desktop OSes, with little effort.