Don't Call Me Sisyphus

July 31, 2014 by Gabe | [mmd] |

I've always considered myself partially outside of the mainstream when it comes to computers. In the early 90's, you just had to use a Mac to be weird.1 But even in the fringe group of Mac users, I tweaked and contorted my machine beyond all reason.

As OS X has changed, I've resisted various aspects of Apple's grand plan. Sandboxing was a hurdle I attempted to surmount with symbolic links. Default writes brought back the old style "save as" dialogs or made the dock transparent.2 While many of these hacks rely on obscure incantations available in the Terminal, I grew to appreciate their fragility. More importantly, I grew to realize I was playing Sisyphus to Apple's mountain.

Each OS update was followed by many hours of retracing my steps up the mountain, lugging my hacks with me. I didn't lose everything, but I certainly lost ground somewhere. Mountain Lion was my breaking point and I've never enjoyed an OS update as much as Mavericks. Some configuration updates are unavoidable for a script junkie.

Yosemite is right around the corner. In the past, I'd slowly build and re-check a list of tweaks to re-enable after the upgrade. This year, I'm taking a different approach. I'm getting rid of as much custom stuff as I can. I'll let app makers bear the burden for enhancements to the OS. If an app dies on Yosemite, then I'll go without that functionality until another app takes its place. Or, I'll be smart and adopt the model Apple is pushing. If that becomes untenable, I'll stop using OS X. I will not fight the mountain; I'll prop my feet up on the rock and enjoy some down time.

  1. If I hadn't been perpetually below the poverty line, I would have instantly moved to a NEXT machine. As it was, it took every dime I could save and a steep student discount to buy my IIci (with a math co-processor, of course). Computer maths! 

  2. If that's your thing too, there's a Web site for that. If you enjoy the benefits of these kinds of hacks, then go for it. It's all about getting the most out of all of those precious metals in that aluminum case. I salute you.