More Lion Fun: TotalTerminal

So, a while ago I talked up a SIMBL plugin for called Visor.  I don’t use Visor any longer, as it’s been renamed and updated to a new app, TotalTerminal.  It’s still written and maintained by BinaryAge, and still works the same.   But they’ve dropped the SIMBL requirement and now ships with an installer (and auto-updating, as well!).

It’s still customizable, and works wonderfully.  Go check it out (and upgrade if you’re still using Visor!)

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Well, not, really, but I couldn’t resist with the title.  I’m experiencing new things with Mac OS X Lion this weekend.  So here’s what’s going on.

I just bought a new iMac.  Sandy Bridge i7, 3.4GHz, loaded up with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.  Oh, and I have a 1TB spindle installed as well.  27 diagonal inches of beautiful Apple display all built in as well.

I bought this machine for two reasons.  First, so I could clear off any personal stuff from my work-issued MacBook Pro.  Second, this thing has enough horsepower to run a sizable chunk of my home lab, along side my old, unsupported loaded-as-i-can-make-it Dell Precision 390.  So some of my infrastructure is running on an ESXi host, and some in Fusion VMs.  I’m still working out the final details.  And I’m actually contemplating buying a new Thunderbolt Cinema display so I can have a 2nd GigE interface on the iMac.  May just be a pipe dream, but the thought is there.

This configuration will suffice until next year (probably closer to 9 months, if I have my way) when I can pick up and populate a couple of ASUS barebones 1U boxes (assuming, of course, that they or their equivalents are still available).  I’ve got them all picked out now, and assuming everything works out, I’ll have 32 AMD cores and 128GB of RAM to work with.  That should keep me happy for a few years from a compute perspective.  I can only complain about my lab for so long before I put the wheels in motion to make it happen.  I’m still trying to figure out what i want to do for the storage, though.  I’m thinking a stack of ~100GB SSDs, since they’re relatively cheap and will do me well for running VMs without worrying about tons of contention.  I don’t need much for a lab, 200 or 300GB will actually probably be ok, especially with vSphere Thin Provisioning.  I’m sure I’ll keep some spindles around for overflow, since they’re real cheap.  But anyway, I digress from the point here (not that I’ve ever been known to do that)

What I really came to talk about was Lion’s new Recovery Partition and doing a fresh Lion install on a Mac.  I’m wiping the MacBook Pro clean, as I had (just earlier this morning) a Mercury Pro SSD from Other World Computing  (for the OS and VMs) and a 750GB Scorpio Black from WD installed for my Dropbox folder, and media.  About 30 minutes ago, I ripped out the spindle, so now the laptop simply has the SSD, and the optical drive has been reinstalled.

So, hardware work out of the way, I booted into Lion’s Recovery HD (hold the “option” key while you reboot, just in case you didn’t know how to get there), and there it was – what looked like, well, like an OS X installer.  I went ahead and erased the SSD partition, and then told the installer I wanted a fresh install of OS X.  After confirming my eligibility, confirming the disk to which I wanted to install, and requesting my Mac App Store credentials, it’s now “Downloading additional components.”  I have an hour and a half to go, the installer has been doing this for ~15-20 minutes as it stands.  It appears that it really _is_ downloading Lion from Apple’s servers somewhere.  I’m connected to a relatively fat pipe, and it’s still looking like 1.5 hours.  I’m glad I connected to the Time Capsule connected to the cable modem, rather than the DSL.  yikes!

So over the course of the weekend, I’ll be resetting things on the MacBook Pro, but it’ll be nice, as I’ll be able to keep work and play (mostly) separate now, between the iMac, iPad, and new Lion install on the MacBook Pro.  I’m a happy camper.  Oh, and while I’m waiting, I get to put up more drywall in the basement office.  Things are coming together!

Mac App: Visor

Admittedly, I spend less and less time at my Mac thanks to my newer iPad-based workflow. And I spend even less time in a terminal (well, until the past couple of days). And the last couple of days are what bring me to talk about this little app. Well, SIMBL plugin, really.

Visor was written by Antonin over at BinaryAge, and offers a simple, yet rather spectacular drop-down implementation of, very much akin to the command input window from Quake. This is triggered by a hotkey. Once the Visor window is in place, you have your Mac ready to go, and have the option to open new tabs as well, just like in a traditional window.

Visor is completely customizable, and can be made what you want, thought I have found the defaults to be pretty workable.

This all comes to light as I’m ramping up on the vCloud Director classes, and as such, I’m setting up vCloud Director (VCD) in my lab environment. VCD runs on Linux, and backends to an Oracle database (which I’m setting up on Linux), so I’m spending a fair amount of time SSH’d into my VMs to work toward getting things set up

Anyway, I have to recommend Visor if you spend any appreciable time in a terminal on your Mac. I love the elegance of something so simple, yet so functional!.