If you, like me, come from a strong Linux background and have recently migrated to Mac OS X, then I think you'll really enjoy the following tip. By default, the OS X boot sequence is hidden from the user. This doesn't sit well with me and so I've sought out a way to make it show me exactly what was going on (instead of simply showing the small Apple logo and the rotating circle).
You can do one of two things. If you occasionally want to see the bootup sequence, then simply hold down cmd-V after you've hit the power button (until you see text on the screen). If you'd like to enable this verbose output each time your machine boots, then execute the following command from a terminal:
sudo nvram boot-args="-v"
Speaking of terminals, the one that ships with OS X is complete shit. After researching and playing with a few of the available terminals, iTerm was the clear winner.