My Mac’s setup

Makzan’s Dispatch 2020 week 2.


Recently I updated my 2016 Macbook Pro 13″ to the new Macbook Pro 16″. Here is the system setup for my Macbooks.

System preferences 

For appearance, I use blue color with yellow highlights. For web search default, I use DuckDuckGo.

For display, I turn on the “Increase Contrast” in accessibility setting. I also enable zoom with ctrl+scroll with smooth image option disabled. The contrast makes the buttons look like button again. Otherwise, it is difficult to distinguish the UI elements.

Karabiner-Elements to swap the Ctrl and fn key on the keyboard

I get used to having ctrl key on the bottom left of the keyboard. So for the Macbook keyboard, I use Karabiner-Elements to swap them.


Snap allows me to setup global shortcut to toggle particular app. I setup Ctrl+` to toggle Firefox browser. So whenever I need the browser, it is one keyboard shortcut away. Whenever I’ve done with the browser, one keyboard shortcut to go back to my current workspace.


I quit Dropbox and moved my documents to pCloud with a lifetime family plan. I had been using Dropbox for Business for my family usage and the annually charge is too much for me. Life time payment at pCloud is more attractive price to us. Apart from the heavily designed Dropbox brand, I don’t miss any core functions.

My company uses OneDrive for Business. I also install it to sync my working files. But I only launch the OneDrive client whenever I must use it and quit it afterwards. The OneDrive client often consumes very high CPU resources and drain battery.


TeuxDeux is my daily task list. Every day I checked off all the tasks there. This tool is more useful when TeuxDexu introduced lists Lists don’t bind to date so I can have both date-related checklist and project checklist in TeuxDeux.

Automator: Quit all applications

This is the Automator to quit all opened applications. I like to keep the notebook workspace clean. So I quit them all once I finished the current task. And launch the apps again for my next task. It is one step automation that every one with a Mac can setup yourself. 

  1. Create an application automation

  2. Drag the “Quit All Applications” step into the workflow

  3. Add software whitelist that you want to keep alive, e.g. Music.

  4. Save to /Applications

  5. Drag it to the dock.

I also removed all software icons in Dock. I only keep the Finder, “Quit all Applications”, Downloads folder and Desktop folder.

After the system-wise configuration, I setup development environment. This includes Xcode, Brew, NodeJS, Yarn, Terminal, SSH keys to my servers, Docker, Sublime Text. That’s my system setup. Of course, I will need software for particular working tasks. But here is how I setup my every mac.

Links worth sharing

Book: Keep Going
I finished reading the book Keep Going. Here is my kindle highlight.

I am fan of Austin Kleon. Here are my top 3 quotes from the book:

What your daily routine consists of is not that important. What’s important is that the routine exists.

That’s why I keep a weekly email routine. That’s also why I now keep a working routine that having a theme every day and repeat it every week.

Airplane mode is not just a setting on your phone: It can be a whole way of life.

I keep a second phone without whatsapp and wechat at my pocket. And I put the phone with those IM in my backpack, away from me.

Musicians can jam without making a recording. Writers and artists can type or draw out a page and throw it away. Photographers can take photos and immediately delete them.

Enjoy the joy of missing out and joy of not recording things down.

Aqua UI was introduced 20 years ago by Steve Jobs.

“Our goal in this user interface was two-fold: 
one, we wanted to give a much more powerful user interface to our pro customers. 
But two, at the very same time, we wanted to make this the dream user interface for somebody who’s never even touched a computer before.”—Steve Jobs

Markdown deck and the CLI

When I was seeking a markdown deck that is easy to write and quick to deploy. I found this git repo and also the companion CLI—eloc.

Things you can do with a browser in 2020

We are in the blooming era of web technologies.

Understanding async and await

Good post to understanding the Promises and usage of async/await.

Interactive VIM tutorial

In shell, you need to know how to use a terminal editor. Learning vi is a good chocie. And it is not that hard indeed.

Until next week,
Thomas Mak