Installing Mac OS 10.4 on my Powerbook

I'm upgrading my mac from OS X 10.3.9 to 10.4. I've decided to do a completely clean install to flush out all the random crap I've accumulated.

  • Purchase firewire/usb external HD case from TigerDirect *$42 w/ shipping.
  • Install new 60GB 2.5" laptop hard drive in external case.
  • Install Mac OS 10.4 to the new disk (ween) *During the install, choose 'options' and make sure you install X11 - lots of things depend on it.

Software to Install / Have Installed

  • Aquamacs

    • Best emacs I've found for Mac OS X. Native Cocoa app.
  • Firefox 1.5

  • ffmpegX

    • Seems to be the best movie converter (mp2, vcd, avi, etc) out there. Shareware? You can do most of the same things yourself on the command line but the tools are pretty obtuse.
  • DivX free for personal

    • you need these codecs for a lot of movies.
  • Azureus

    • Pretty much the best bittorrent client out there. GPL free, java.
  • Frozen-Bubble gpl free

    • because everyone needs some diversions.
  • ImageWell free

    • Quick little image converter/resizer. Handy when the gimp is overkill.
  • FoxiPod gpl free

    • Takes over mp3 links in firefox so that clicking them loads the songs right in to iTunes. Currently doesn't work w/ Firefox 1.5.
  • DNSUpdate free

    • Dynamic DNS updater - see
  • iEatBrainz free

    • Fingerprints songs in iTunes and looks them up with server to automatically determine song names, etc. The cure for crappy mp3 tags.
  • Meteorologist gpl free

    • Downloads weather info and displays it in the menu bar.
  • OpenOffice free gpl

    • Best free office productivity suite out there.
  • VLC gpl free

    • Excellent free video player. I tend to bounce between this and MPlayer.
  • Slim Battery Monitor free

    • Replaces bulky default menu bar battery gauge with something slimmer and smarter.
  • SSHKeychain gpl free

    • Integrates ssh keys with Apple Keychain to make key management much easier. I guarantee you want to use this if you use ssh on your mac.
  • Monolingual gpl free

    • Removes extra languages from your mac. If you only use one language this saves several hundred megabytes of disk space.
  • FileWrangler free

    • Excellent batch file rename gui tool.
  • Windows Media Player

    • Yeah I know it sucks but you need it for some movies.
  • Jewel Toy free

    • Another fun little game. Like Bedazzled.
  • MacTheRipper

    • DVD ripper. Removes version codes, etc.
  • Palm Desktop

    • Gotta have it if you have a palm organizer.
  • VNC Viewer gpl free

    • Remote desktop viewer. Chicken of The VNC seems like it might work a little better.
  • RealPlayer

    • I'm actually not sure how useful this is anymore.
  • Desktop Manager gpl free

    • Virtual desktops on your mac. Sounds silly until you get addicted. Use the v0.5.3 beta, it's stable.
  • Fink

    • All the standard unix free software, package up for the mac. Essential.
  • Gimp gpl free

    • Nice version of the gimp all packaged up for the mac.

Firefox extensions

  • Linky 2.7.1

    • Download all links or images from a page all at once.
  • Adblock Plus

    • Blocks ads (duh).
  • Linkification

    • converts text that looks like a link into a link.
  • PDF Download

    • Allows option of downloading, viewing, or converting a pdf.
  • Flashblock

    • Stops flash, you ahve to click an icon to turn on each flash item on a page.
  • Swifttabs

    • Enables one key tab prev/next in Firefox on mac.
  • Resizeable Textarea

    • Drag edges of text areas to make them as big as you like.
  • Bloglines Toolkit

    • integration.
  • SessionSaver

    • absolutely critical if you use multiple tabs - saves all tabs on shutdown or crash automatically.
  • Tabbrowser Preferences

    • Exposes some hidden tab preferences.
  • Download Statusbar

    • popup statusbar at bottom of page instead of standalone download manager.
  • Greasemonkey

    • Allows user scripts to change how pages look & download.

    • social bookmarks integration
  • Mozex

    • actually this doesn't work on mac at all.
  • undo closetab - not yet supported in FF1.5

    • Adds an 'undo close tab' option to tab bar.

Fink Packages

Fink is the collection of free linux/unix software for Mac OS X. Anyone coming from the Linux world to Mac OS X will find Fink essential. For example, many of the standard Unix tools that come with the Mac are BSD versions that don't support the rich range of GNU options.

These are some fink-installed packages I find useful:

I have Vim installed on my system but it doesn't seem to be listed in the fink packages so I'm not sure how that works. Same with gnu locate. Did they come with Mac OS? Don't think so.

System Pref Panels

  • RCDefaultApp free

    • Allows you to set the default application for mime types. I.e., open web pages in Firefox instead of Safari.
  • MenuMeters

    • Diplay little system info meters in the menubar. I put a system load meter up there so I can tell when something has my cpu pegged and is going to burn my sensitive man areas. Free
  • ucontrol

    • This was a coll little keyboard remapper utility for Mac OS X but it doesn't work with tiger.
  • MkConsole

    • Prints your system log on your desktop. Easy way to keep an eye on what is going on with your machine.

iPhoto Addons

  • Keyword Assistant

    • Adds a popup interface to manage keywords in iPhoto. Keywords are basically unusable in iPhoto without this tool.
  • Flickr Export

    • Allows you to directly export iPhoto images to Flickr. So what I do is keyword tag the photos with Keyword Assistant, then I upload them to flickr with Flickr Exportr.

iTunes Addons

  • Synergy shareware

    • Puts little iTunes control buttons in your menubar. Pops up a little info window on track changes. Allows global iTunes control with keyboard shortcuts. Incredibly useful. Even cheap bastard me paid the $10 for it.
  • Audioscrobbler

    • iTunes plugin that sends your played song info to a server. Then you can see who else listens to similar music and whatnot. This seemed a lot cooler when it was a little student project. Now it's run by some company

Safari Addons

Note that Safari extensions tend to stomp on each other and cause problems, so I eventually gave up trying to convert Safari into Firefox and moved to firefox instead. Some extensions I did try:

  • PithHelmet

    • Ad blocker
  • Sogudi

    • Add firefox-style url keywords, i.e. 'gg foo' in the location bar searches google for foo.
  • Saft

    • Key thing this added for me was crash protection (see SessionSaver for Firefox). I actually paid for this one.


I've been using the mutt-ng mail program quite extensively but it is not clear if it is really much better than regular mutt. Either way, the mutt in fink is ancient and you should build from latest development source.

Cool Stuff. I should document what I have on my G5 this well. I do know I have 10.3.9 still though. -Matt


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