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New Machine Start Kit

New Machine Starter Kit


Specific Guides

Creating a Bootable USB Key of Windows or Linux

For when you can write the image directly (using MacOS):

  1. Find out the disk location of your usb key using: diskutil list
  2. Unmount the disk: diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX
  3. Write the disk: sudo dcfldd if=image.bin of=/dev/diskX (dcfldd is an enhanced version of dd, that will calculate the blocksize for you, and output progress as it is going)
    1. OPTIONAL: Sometimes you may have to convert the iso into a img file:hdiutil convert -format UDRW -o ~/path/to/target.img ~/path/to/ubuntu.iso
  4. Eject the disk: diskutil eject /dev/diskX

For when you have to configure the image:

Chromium OS

I gave up on Chromium OS, this was my experience.

Bootcamp / Dual Booting on a Mac

Guide here.



Generating SSH Key

GitHub SSH Tutorial

Use my dotfiles to generate a key:


Use my dotfiles to use a key:

addsshkey KEY_NAME

Generating new GPG Key

GitHub GPG Tutorial. Tutorial.

The guide below uses the key comamnd from my dotfiles

Listing the public and secret keys:

key list public
key list private

Generating the key, don't use a passphrase due to no easy autosaving:

key new

Getting the key:

key get public
key get private

Export the key

key export public KEY
key export private KEY

Trust the key for use with git:

key trust KEY

Use the key with git via our dotfiles:


If the key has expired, use this to extend it:

key extend KEY


Nearly everything I use can be found on my Profile.

Some things I have referral bonuses for!



# If inside vmware install vmware tools (these are just as good as the commercial ones)
sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools open-vm-tools-desktop

# Install git
sudo apt-get install git

# Install dot files

# Java Runtime (if needed)
sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre
# Java Development Kit (if needed)
sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk 

# Complete setup
install  # this is an alias provided by my dotfiles


These days my preferred Linux distribution is Elementary. Fedora failed to setup javac directly, and Ubuntu insisted on using versons that were not compatible with Curtin Univeristy's requirements - plus Unity (Ubuntu's Desktop Shell) is horrible.



  1. Use the 32 bit installation (if you need wine)
    1. If you are installing it on a mac, make sure you get the +mac download
  2. Create a bootable USB drive from the image using the guide earlier or this guide
  3. Install Ubuntu
    1. Don't use encryption, LVM is okay - encryption breaks on my laptop
    2. Don't use home folder encryption either, slows boot time


  1. Magic Mouse sensitivity xinput --set-prop "balmouse" "Device Accel Constant Deceleration" 3 - source
  2. Enable hibernation and set all suspends to hibernate instead - done because the presario c700 intel wifi stops working with suspend but works fine with hibernate
  3. Set date time to 12 hour


  1. Bluetooth fails to connect devices (despite saying connected) after suspend/hibernate



  1. Backup with time machine and dropbox
    1. Check ignored time machine folders to see if it contains anything you actually want to restore
  2. Backup Application Support folder just in case


  1. Download MacOS from the App Store
  2. Create a bootable USB Drive from it: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\
  3. Install MacOS by holding "alt" as it boots up and selecting the install medium


  • Trackpad
    • point and click
      • speed 4th from left
      • all options on except for three finger drag
    • scroll and zoom
      • all options on
    • gestures
      • all on except swipe between pages
  • Accessibility
    • double-click speed: 3rd from right
    • Ctrl+scroll for zoom
  • Dictation
    • Voice: Alison
  • Network
    • DHCP


# Install Command Line Tools
xcode-select --install

# Install dot files

# Complete setup
install  # this is an alias provided by my dotfiles

balupton commented Mar 30, 2013

If anyone can provide Ubuntu alternatives for the Desktop Apps I use, I'll be eternally grateful :) Been wanting to move to Ubuntu + Unity for a while now, however due to the lack of apps that I use, my workflow would be significantly impaired.

Awesome list, thanks for sharing @balupton

thanks for the inspiration ;)

Spelt "superflous" instead of "superfluous" under Currently. I was the same too, used Currently previously.

Also check out Kuvva for Mac and iPhone - beautifully designed wallpapers!

Any thoughts on how we could build out Slate to be super beautiful?


balupton commented Aug 14, 2015

@ryanxdrake thanks, fixed the typos - not sure about slate, I ended up giving up on all those tiling managers, divvy was the only one that really worked well for me (until it stopped being maintained)

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