Creating with Code

The web is a powerful toolbox

A Couple of Leopard Configuration Tricks

I find Google to be a more and more valuable resource as time goes on, especially when seeking knowledge about how to make this new MacBook act like I want it to.

One thing I noticed early on was that pressing Tab to move around various interfaces, from Finder dialogs to web pages, would only tab to text entry fields. Coming from a primarily Windows background, I am used to tabbing my way to checkboxes, dropdowns, and buttons in my interfaces, so this crippled Tab navigation quickly became annoying.

Thanks to this blog post, I found the option to make Tab move through “All Controls” in System Preferences | Keyboard & Mouse | Keyboard Shortcuts

Another big issue I came up against is the weird Java support that comes with OS X. Because Apple releases their own versions of Java, we OS X users are kind of at their mercy with respect to what we can use and how we can configure it. You can install Java 6 from Apple’s download page, but Java 1.5 will still run by default.

Apple provides a “Java Preferences” configuration utility in /Applications/Utilities/Java/ which lets you change the default version of Java that will be used in browsers and when double-clicking to launch Java apps. However, this utility doesn’t change which version of Java will be found by command-line apps in the terminal, such as Apache Ant.

Another blog post to the rescue! It turns out that you can change your default version of Java for command line apps freely by changing the CurrentJDK and Current symlinks in /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/. For example:

    cd /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions
    sudo ln -fhsv 1.6 CurrentJDK
    sudo ln -fhsv 1.6 Current

Hopefully this post will be able to help others (or at least my future self).