Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mac Keyboard Operation

One of the biggest things I miss about Windows, since largely transitioning to the Mac, is the lack of emphasis on keyboard operation.  I tend to be more productive the less I need to touch the mouse.  This post is for others who feel the same way.  (We may be a minority among Mac users).

It was particularly frustrating that I could not access the menu bar with keyboard shortcuts.  Well it turns out you can.  Control-F2 is your friend, it highlights the Apple menu at the top-left of your screen.  From there you can use arrow keys to move around the menus.  Better yet, if you can remember more shortcuts to execute the specific functions more power to you.  But at the very least just remember Control-F2.

This too did not come easily at first.  I Googled around and read about Control-F2 but it simply did not work.  I tried all kinds of things, including simultaneously pressing the fn key.

Anyway, it turned out that this (along with a bunch of other shortcuts) was disabled.  I have no idea when and how this happened, as they are default behaviour.  This was determined by taking a look in System Prefs > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts.   Anywhoo, I restored the defaults by pressing (surprise surprise) the button Restore Defaults on that dialogue.

See the Apple Support site: Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Staying on top of Fukushima

With the Fukushima nuclear issue, there is so much information, often conflicting, that it's easy to waste a lot of time following sources, reading articles, watching videos, and coming away none the wiser for it.

I think it may be helpful to have a mental filtering mechanism, whereby we focus on what it is we want to know, and constantly ask ourselves if those particular questions are being addressed.  In my case, at the moment these are the main things I want to know and constantly stay on top of.
  1. What is the status of the repair at this time?  In other words, where are we?
  2. What exactly are the repair crew doing right now, and to what end?  In other words, where are we heading?
  3. What are the radiation levels around the reactors, in and near the evacuation zone, and in Tokyo?
  4. Where is radioactive material and water being disposed, and what effect that is having?
  5. What are the elements in the disposed material?  (Iodine, cesium, strontium, etc.)
  6. How are food products and drinking water, anywhere in Japan, being affected?
  7. How much radiation are certain at-risk groups being exposed to (e.g. school children in Fukushima Prefecture, the repair crew at the reactors, evacuees, etc.)?
This may seem like a pretty mundane list (like, "duh, those things go without saying").  However, given the short attention spans of modern people (including myself) it may be helpful to have it written down and periodically refocused upon.

Also, I may be missing some key aspects here.  Will update if and when I recall them!