Category Archives: Operating Systems

Cross-platform browser keyboard shortcuts

As of recently I began working on a Mac-book pro and I have to get used to a keyboard with different keys and different layout. One of the most used piece of software today is a browser. I routinely use Opera but there are still sites that don’t work well with it, although it uses pretty much the same rendering engine like Chrome.

I suspect these issues arise from the fact that Chrome tends to become the new IE 6 for many web developers (i.e. : write a page, test it in Chrome, it works, the rest of browsers doesn’t matter to me, continue to next page etc.).

I consider, just like Scott Hanselman, that using the keyboard is the most efficient way to command a computer (and not the mouse / touchpad) therefore I strive to use it to the max. However, switching from OS X to the Windows virtual machine back and forth can be confusing since there are different shortcuts. For example F5 in Windows refreshes the window while in OS X it doesn’t (be it because by default you have to press Fn and then F5 in order to send F5 otherwise a media function will be sent or because this key does not do this function).

Therefore I gathered a few useful shortcut keys that work in both Windows and OS X so I can use them. Many of them work across all major browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari). Use Command (Cmd) key in OS X and Control (Ctrl) in Windows. I’ll include only the secondary key(s) in the table below since the primary key should be held down. I am planning to update this table several times.

Function Second key Internet Explorer Opera for Windows Opera for Mac Chrome for Windows Chrome for Mac
Quit (Close) app Q  x
Close tab (window) W  ✓
Refresh tab R  ✓
Open a new tab T  ✓
Open last closed tab SHIFT-T  ✓
View source U  ✓  x
Print page P  ✓
Select all page content A  ✓
Save current page to computer S  ✓
Add to favorites / bookmark D  ✓
Find in page F  ✓
Find again G  ✓
Show history H  ✓  x
View downloads J  ✓  x
Focus the address bar L  ✓
Undo Z  ✓
Cut X  ✓
Copy C  ✓
Paste V  ✓
Open a new window N  ✓
Open a new private window SHIFT-N  ✓

✓ = available
x = unavailable
[white_space] = not yet verified

(work in progress)

Dear readers, what other useful shortcuts is this table missing?

Windows 8 – first impressions

I downloaded and installed Windows 8 Release Preview on two of my computers since one (the laptop) was up for selling to a friend and the (up to then) unused desktop was OS-less.

The installation is well streamlined, just like Office 2010 (or maybe even 2007?) in that it provides a large and attractive “Install now” button so you have very little to think. If you need to customize the installation there is a small link beneath that allows you to do just that. I didn’t opt for that.

It took, I think, 20 minutes to install completely which is pretty decent in my opinion. At this moment I need to state the hardware involved :

As you can guess the major visual difference is the start menu which looks pretty freaky as in the picture above. You will need some time to get accustomed to it. The tiles at the left are metro apps (which work pretty different, running in full screen and having the same visual style). At the right there are non-metro apps (should we call them “legacy apps”?). The desktop itself is a metro app.

The taskbar does not have the start button anymore since the start menu is a full screen thing. So you’ll probably start up, by mistake, IE 10 a few times since by default it is the leftmost thing on the taskbar. IE 10 seems to be pretty much the same thing as IE 9 but snappier.

I also struggled a bit to change the audio volume but I found that “touching” (with the mouse cursor) the top right corner brings up a band/pane which contains several settings such as audio volume, power commands and others (search, share, start, devices and settings).

A similar “charm” (it seems this is the name) exists on the left, for switching apps. You can get used to these, it ain’t too hard.

A really nice improvement is the copy/cut files dialog :

It’s nice because it has a graph and shows actual average as a horizontal line which varies depending on the actual speed of the process. It also has a nice new addition : the pause button which can be pretty handy if you need to relax a drive’s load.

The Win-TAB 3D animation for switching apps seems gone (or at least you won’t be able to trigger it with Win-TAB) which kinda sucks.

The dialog boxes are somewhat improved in the way they are simpler to understand and to decide what to do further. The file searching seems faster and app searching too.

All in all it seems like a real upgrade.