Since I use both modern Mac OS X equipped Macs, and classic 68k machines, one of the crucial things to be productive in both environments is to try to maintain consistency when using the keyboard. I already have to fight with different keyboard layouts and different key placements (in this regard, I practically type on at least four different keyboards), so, whenever possible, I’d like to find the same keyboard shortcuts. The Macintosh UI has been fairly reliable and coherent through the years. The shortcuts for common operations like Cut Copy and Paste remain unchanged, even the key combination for taking a screenshot (Command-Shift-3) has been the same from System 6 to the latest version of Mac OS X.

What I was missing is the very handy Command-Tab shortcut, to cycle through the current active applications and pass from one to the other. Using Mac OS X for many hours a day, it’s practically hard-coded in my fingers. On a classic Mac, you have to use the mouse and click on the application menu on the far right of the menubar. Thankfully, there’s a nifty control panel called LiteSwitch which brings this handy feature to vintage Macs. It works in exactly the same way as in Mac OS X, and it’s also customisable (you can select the preferred modifier-keys combination: Alt-Tab, Command-Tab or Ctrl-Tab. You can quit an application pressing Q or X while it’s highlighted, and you can even hide it by pressing W or H. And it works really well — it’s very responsive on my PowerBook 5300 with Mac OS 8.1. Definitely recommended.


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