Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mac Starters Guide

Congratulations, you have a New Mac..
This post dedicated to all New Macintosh users. Thanks to macaholiq8


  • First thing to do is getting all available updates for your Mac by clicking on the blue apple icon on your menubar (on the upper left corner) and select "Software Update". This will keep your Mac up-to-date so make sure you download them all.

  • Installing/Removing applications: Installing any application on Mac is a matter of Drag/Drop, just double click on the disk image (*.dmg) file extention, a removable disk icon will show up under your computer icon on the desktop, open it and drag and drop the application icon into your "Applications" folder. If you want to remove an application simply drag that application icon and drop it in your Trash then empty it. If you want to remove every single relative file of that application, just search for the name of that application using Spotlight (on the upper right corner) and drag/drop all relative (*.plist) files into Trash then empty it.

  • System Preferences: Like Windows Control Panel; System Preferences is where you can control all preferences on your Mac. It doesn't take a computer scientist to figure it out so make sure you surf a little inside that menu to have an idea of what it contains.

  • Utilities: If you look around your Applications folder you'll find Utilities folder. This is where you can manage your Mac's utilities. The reason why I pointed this in priorities is because in Disk Utility you can mount/unmount, fix, remove, and repair disk permissions. It is recommended that you repair disk permissions each time you install/remove applications or get new updates from the net.

  • Must-have Applications:
  • Stuffit Expander: Stuffit expander will unpack almost all compressed files such as .sit, .sitx, .zip, .rar, and some others. Make sure you install it because you need it to uncompress some apps/files.

  • Real Player: To play Real media. (.rm/.ram)

  • Windows Media Player: To play Windows Media. (.wmv/.wma)

  • VLC -OR- Mplayer: Both are video players that can run almost any type of video except Real media. I personally prefer VLC over Mplayer. However, having them both won't hurt you.

  • Adium: Although there's a version of MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger for your Mac, they're not as good as Adium. Adium is by far the best instant messenger there is for your Mac because it can connect to AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more! The only downside is that it doesn't support voice/video yet, but that's not a big deal.

  • Roxio Toast: The mighty CD/DVD burner for all Macs.

  • Azureus: The ideal torrent client for your Mac although it is not as good as xTorrent. The only downside for xTorrent is that it's a beta version.

  • Other useful Applications:
  • DivX Player: For playing DivX videos.

  • Web Browsers: FireFox, Opera, Flock.

  • GraphicConverter: If you miss MS Paint then this is a better alternative.

  • Sound Studio: For audio editing but it's not free. Too bad Audacity (free audio editor) won't work on Intel Macs since there's no binary version of it.

  • Audio Hijack: Audio recorder that will come in handy if you want to record (convert) Real Audio into any other type.

  • Path Finder: An innovative file browser and manager with powerful tools. Not free though.

  • Pref Setter: Useful utility application for editing (.plist) files.

  • TinkerTool: Another useful utility application that can expand your Finder options such as viewing hidden files (files that begin with dot "." are hidden on Macs) and lots more.

  • Wimpy FLV player: To play Flash (.flv) files.

  • VirtueDesktops: A great desktop expansion that allows you to flip between four different desktops. Keep using this one because soon it will be standard on OS X 10.5 Leopard.

  • WriteRoom: Cool looking text editor.

  • iSquint: Convert almost every type of video into .mp4 compatible with your iPod screen.

  • HandBrake: Rip full DVD movies directly into iPod compatible .mp4 mode.

  • PodTube: Downloads and converts .flv videos directly from YouTube. (ps: works only with YouTube).
    For all other video sites simply follow these steps.

  • OmniDictionary: English to Multilingual (including Arabic) lexicons.

  • Dashboard; Useful Widgets:
  • iStat Pro: The ultimate system monitoring widget, consisting of nine sections which can be minimized, expanded, or closed.

  • Sing That iTune!: This widget displays the lyric for iTunes current track along with its artwork. The lyrics are saved in “Documents/Sing that iTune!” folder and you can also add your self-made lyrics in there. Sync the folder with iPod’s Notes folder to bring it. Option to save lyrics in music files is also available.

  • Amazon Album Art: Search for artwork for the currently playing track and import into iTunes with the click of a button.

  • Airport Radar: AirPort Radar is a free and convenient tool for quickly scanning the area for AirPort and other wireless networks.

  • Desksaver Plus: Run screen saver in your desktop background.

  • ABD Indicator: Adult Body Mass Indicator; Are you overweight, obese or maybe under weight? Find out for yourself with this helpful widget. This version has a smaller footprint and you can enter your height in inches and feet rather than all inches. Also includes metric units.

  • Gmail & Blogger Widgets: Gmail inbox & quick posting on Blogger in two widgets.

  • Pandora Widget: Your Pandora stations one click away through your dashboard.

  • Suduku: Play Suduku on your dashboard.

  • Mono Solitaire: Play Solitaire on your dashboard.

  • BubbleTrouble: Waste your time with this game.

  • Sunlit Earth: This simple and aesthetic widget will display the sunlit region of the Earth. The widget updates once per minute.

  • The Holy Qur'an: Read and Search the Quran in Arabic, English, French and Spanish on your Dashboard!

  • ThinkFree Viewer: View ThinkFree or Microsoft Office word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation files without having any other office applications installed. After installing the appropriate Widget simply drag and drop files from your desktop, or copy and paste the Web URL into the ThinkFree Widget.

  • Web Translator: Web Translator is a little widget that lets you translate any web page to and from ten different languages using AltaVista's Babel Fish translator and/or Google's Translation service. So when you come across a page that's written in a different language, Web Translator is the widget you need.

  • Wikipedia Widget: A Dashboard widget for browsing the free, user-created encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Search for articles and view from the Dashboard, complete with pictures and links.

  • Utility Button: UtilityButton is a small widget that gives you easy access to Mac OS X utilities that you use sometimes, but don't want cluttering up your dock. All you do is click on the button, choose the utility, and it opens.

  • Tips & Hints:Get used to keyboard shortcuts. They're very useful.
    Here are some of the most useful shortcuts:-

  • F9: Expose ALL applications.

  • F10: Expose all windows of the active application.

  • F11: Show desktop.

  • F12: Dashboard.

  • Command+shift+3: Capture current screen.

  • Command+shift+4: Capture selected area of the screen.

  • Command+Q: Quit application.

  • Command+W: Close active window.

  • Command+alt+esc: Force quit.

  • Command+ "," (comma): Application preferences.

  • Command+I: Show file information.

  • Command+shift+B: Send file via Bluetooth.

  • Command+alt+ctrl+8: Invert screen colors.

  • Command+alt+8: Turn on magnification.
    ----> Command + (+/-) = zoom in/out.

  • Command+Tab: Swap between active applications.

  • Command+shift+A: Opens Applications folder.

  • Quick Hints:

  • Right-click menu: To get the right-click drop-down menu in a one button mouse or trackpad just hold down Control "ctrl" and click your mouse/trackpad button.
    In recent Apple laptops (Intel Based) you can configure your trackpad to have a Right-click by placing two fingers on your trackpad + click or click on your trackpad with two fingers. This can be enabled/disabled in "System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse"

  • Scrolling using trackpad: Some new Mac users don't know this feature or were used to scrolling by moving one finger around the edges of their Windows laptop's trackpad. Simply place two fingers on the trackpad and scroll/move in your desired direction.

  • Setting default Applications for specific files: Say you have a Windows Media movie file and you want it to be opened using VLC permanently. Select the file and click "Options+I" to show its pereferences (file info) then from "Open With" tab, select the desired program and close file info.

  • That's all from me, hope you enjoy your New Smart Machines, Macintosh

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