Notes in Passing

Mac Install


These notes describe how I setup a Mac.

For now, they take the form of individual commands that I run and software that I install.

Hopefully, someday, they’ll be automated ala Boxen.


I am fortunate to find myself working at a company that provides me with a nice computer setup.

As of May 2013, this means I’m on MacOS, and I recently went through a re-install. As I was doing this, I was hoping to take a closer look at Github’s Boxen, but time was short and I missed out.

Instead of looking further into Boxen, I took notes as I got up and running, and these are those notes.

Installation Notes

At a high level, here’s what I do:

Step 1: xCode

This is accomplished via the AppStore. I log in with my personal id, and at the time of my most recent install the latest version of xcode was 4.6.2.

Step 2: Brew

Next up is Homebrew.

I follow the instructions in the link above, which indicate that I should do this:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Step 2.1: brew + git

brew install git

Brew puts git into /usr/local/bin, which, for now, contains stuff that I prefer over /usr/bin (ie: brew git vs. apple git), so I modified my PATH appropriately:

# I added this to my .bash_profile

Once you’ve got git:

git config --global "your name"
git config --global ""

While browsing through Github’s help on setting up git I became aware of this configuration possibility:

git config --global credential.helper osxkeychain

I set this up for short-term convenience, but I also generate a keypair and register the public key with github as well.

I make sure to setup colors:

git config --global color.ui true

And finally, I make it so that when I commit from the command line (this happens rarely because I’m normally using magit), I can supply the message via emacs:

git config --global core.editor /usr/local/bin/emacsclient

I get emacs from brew (described below, and so I get emacsclient from /usr/local/bin).

Global Git Config vs. Local Git Config

As a side note, I find myself in a situation where I usually want 90% of my projects on my machine to use my main git config, but for the remaining 10% I’d like to use a different email address. I achieve that through mixing global and local config options, which work (as I understand) as follows:

If you’d like to have configuration options specified on a project-by-project basis, you can setup configuration local to a project by cd’ing into that project and running something like:

git config --local key value

For example, to change your on a specific project, cd into that project and run:

 git config --local ""

Step 2.2: brew + ack/ag

These are a must for searching through code bases. I lean toward ack right now, but I’ve been keeping an eye on ag.

brew install ack
brew install ag

Step 2.3: brew + tree

brew install tree

Step 2.4: brew + markdown

My interest in a command line markdown is fueled by my editor. It provides preview capabilities that rely on a command line markdown processor.

brew install markdown

Step 2.5: brew + node

brew install node

Step 2.6: brew + mysql

brew install mysql

Step 2.6: brew + wget

brew install wget

Step 2.6: brew + emacs

brew install emacs --cocoa
ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/emacs/24.3/ /Applications

Screen Zoom

I really, really enjoy holding down control and zooming in or out with my trackpad. This was made harder to enable with Mountain Lion, but it’s handily setup in just a moment following these instructions from here


To avoid the dreaded Emacs Pinky I re-map CAPSLOCK to CONTROL each time I land on a new computer.

I’ve followed different instructions in the past, but here are the ones that pointed me in the right direction: random question/answer on

Remember to do both your computer and your bluetooth keyboard. Look for the “Select Keyboard” combo box on the “Modifier Keys..” dialog.

Install Slate

Here’s how I get slate itself:

cd /Applications && curl | tar -xz

And then how I setup the configuration:

mkdir -p ~/c/personal
cd ~/c/personal
git clone
cd ~
ln -s c/personal/getting-started-with-slate/.slate .slate

Then I started up Slate.

For additional notes about Slate, check out this post.


I’ve been sticking with the default Terminal recently, but I usually grab iTerm2 before too long. This time around I got it from here: iterm2 downloads list

And then, if I unzipped it and saw Downloads/ I ran:

mv ~/Downloads/ /Applications


I installed Pandoc for the first time recently, and it was.. exciting.

I pursued Pandoc (and BasicTeX) for the sole purpose of, within emacs, being able to generate pdf documents ala org-export-as-pdf.

I’m not sure this is worth the effort (particularly the BasicTeX part), but, anyway..

I started here: pandoc install instructions.

Which directed me to this page for pandoc itself where I grabbed the .dmg: pandoc downloads list.

Pandoc: BasicTeX

Here is where I found BasicTeX: the packages section, as recommended by the Pandoc install pages.

Things got complicated, quickly, with BasicTeX.

They tell you to read through the installation instructions in this document, and I found them worthwhile.

Here’s what I did:

Download the package for BasicTeX. There’s an installer. After you run there’s a directory that’s been created at /usr/local/textlive/2013basic

If you cd into it, and then run sudo ./install-tl, you’ll be presented with a text based wizard. I ran the following cryptic commands:

s, then a, then r
o, then r, then r
d, then 7, then ~/Library/texmf

Then I pressed i to run the installation. Whew. Time to figure out boxen, because I’m not sure I’ll be able to get there again.

There’s more tweaking to Emacs to make it aware of where to find pdflatex, but that’s for another time.

At any rate, I then ran the following commands to install various LaTeX styles:

sudo tlmgr install wrapfig
sudo tlmgr install soul
sudo tlmgr install marvosym
sudo tlmgr install wasysym


It’s not pretty, but it’s a start. Hopefully I’ll move on to automating this soon.