Author Topic: Macintosh / Apple tips  (Read 9188 times)

Macintosh / Apple tips
« on: March 11, 2012, 03:59:13 pm »
Hopefully this thread will gather together some useful stuff about using a Mac generally, but I'm particularly interested in the matter of switching to a Mac from Windows.

Quite a lot of useful stuff here, for instance:

http://the.taoofmac.com/space/HOWTO/Switch

I really want to get on top of the keyboard shortcuts, for one thing.

Initially, though, I'll want to transfer stuff from my Windows laptop. That'll be a load of word doc and pdf files. Can I work with these straight away or do I need Windows Office for Mac, and / or do I need Parallels or an equivalent?

Music: currently a mixture of file types and bit rates. Considering starting afresh. What are your workflows, involving iTunes or otherwise?

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Mac tips
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2012, 04:39:22 pm »
You can buy Office 2011 I think for the mac if you want.

You can also get Libre Office which is a fork of Open Office which will read your old office files and that's free.

You could get iWork which is the Apple office package which may or may not be compatible with Windows office files.  I hear people like it.

Much depends what you want to work in for your office files now and in the future.

You can get Adobe Reader for the mac and there is also Preview which will read PDFs.

Parallells is only needed if you want to have a virtual machine aka a windows install or something else non OSXy which isn't designed for the hardware. 

So you could go with Libre Office and work up depending on what you want to spend.  I've not used a mac extensively since 2005ish so I am mostly out of date - this is just what I know from having 1 mac at work.

Re: Mac tips
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2012, 04:46:20 pm »
While thinking about a new computer, I realised that I won't need to do much work (i.e. Excel, Powerpoint, the usual) stuff on this computer, aside from the odd document that I can work on in Google Docs. Otherwise I'd have felt obliged to stick with Windows. All I really need, at least for now, is to be able to read my current Windows documents.

iWork does seem to have good things said about it.
 

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Mac tips
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2012, 04:52:21 pm »
As a very infrequent Mac user, my top tip would be to plug a proper mouse into it so you can right-click in what approximates the usual way.  Much less confusing.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Mac tips
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2012, 05:03:34 pm »
Pages, which is Apple's word processing offering costs £12 or 13.99, downloadable from the App Store in Mountain Lion, can read .doc files fine, perhaps the occasional microsoft specific formatting may get lost but text will get through fine. Files can be edited and changed as usual. Pages is able to be export files as .pages, .doc, .txt, .pdf etc.

Frere


ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Mac tips
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2012, 05:05:25 pm »
As a very infrequent Mac user, my top tip would be to plug a proper mouse into it so you can right-click in what approximates the usual way.  Much less confusing.

Macs have had right click mice since the days of G5. Both the Mighty and Magic mice have them. And the Magic Mouse is a thing of scrolly, tappy wonder. Confusingly though, probably as an historical note, Macs still ship with the right click function disabled. Enable proper right clickery as the Lord intended via System Preferences.

Mac tip o' the day: learn to love Spotlight. It's the magnifying glass icon in the top right (or cmd-space will invoke it). It's a fast one stop search option. It'll find files, let you launch applications, show dictionary and Wikipedia results, and even do calculations.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Mac tips
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2012, 05:10:38 pm »
+ 1 what Ian said about spotlight. It's uber and actually works. Have so taken it for granted that forgot to mention it.

About MS office for Mac,  I have used previous incarnations and found these far superior to MS Office for Windows, and this is widely reported. I do not know about the 2011 Office for Mac, have no need to as iWork and pages are more than sufficient for me.

Frere

Re: Mac tips
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2012, 05:20:18 pm »
the Magic mouse is... wel... quite literally magic
!

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Mac tips
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2012, 05:28:03 pm »
iWork is very good but MS Office compatibility is limited. Don't expect to share complicated documents seamlessly. Pages is an excellent word processor and basic layout application that seems to bypass all the struggles and complexity of Word (no more games of hunt the picture). Numbers is an interesting stab at a spreadsheet application - it cleverly approaches things from a different angle than Excel - that said, if you are familiar with Excel you may find doing things in a different way not to your taste. It also lacks the power of Excel to grind through humungous spreadsheets and navigate labyrinthine formulae. Keynote is superlative. It's the presentation software that PowerPoint dreams of being when it grows up.

MS Office 2011 offers seamless integration and a mostly similar UI to its Windows brother. If you are familiar with Windows Office then it's a comfortable change. I've never had a issue with documents transferred between them and use it on a daily basis to work on documents for the Windows-only mothership.

I've not tried LibreOffice. I did always find Open Office and NeoOffice slow, clunky, and crashy; like the poor hillbilly cousins of MS Office.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Mac tips
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2012, 05:33:00 pm »
For screen capture:
Command-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it as a file on the desktop
Command-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it as a file on the desktop
Command-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it as a file on the desktop
Command-Control-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it to the clipboard
Command-Control-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it to the clipboard
Command-Control-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it to the clipboard
In Leopard and later, the following keys can be held down while selecting an area (via Command-Shift-4 or Command-Control-Shift-4):

Space, to lock the size of the selected region and instead move it when the mouse moves
Shift, to resize only one edge of the selected region
Option, to resize the selected region with its center as the anchor point

I find them more convenient than locating Grab!

Re: Mac tips
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2012, 05:35:01 pm »
Enable proper right clickery as the Lord intended via System Preferences.

Aarrrrggghhhhh!

Why did no-one tell me that was there over two years ago when I got this Mac?

It seems to be tap with two fingers on this one.
Quote from: Kim
Paging Diver300.  Diver300 to the GSM Trimphone, please...

Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2012, 05:42:20 pm »
Loads of useful stuff so far, thanks.

What do you think of the advice in http://the.taoofmac.com/space/HOWTO/Switch to set yourself up with a regular user account in addition to the administrator account?

 

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Mac tips
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2012, 06:03:17 pm »
Enable proper right clickery as the Lord intended via System Preferences.

Aarrrrggghhhhh!

Why did no-one tell me that was there over two years ago when I got this Mac?

It seems to be tap with two fingers on this one.

The mice have a 'secondary click' option which works with a right (or left if you are a sinister) click. A trackpad supports either the double-tap, or a physical click in right (or left) bottom corner.

If you have Trackpad or Magic Mouse (and OSX Lion), the two (mouse) or three (trackpad) swipe between desktops is a thing of beauty. Similarly the double-tap (on a magic mouse) or three finger wipe up to invoke Mission Control. You can get more gestures with various third party tools, but I find gestures only to be useful when they are simple and intuitive, and once you end up having to play ten finger twister to launch Mail, it's a bit much. The default gestures are fine for me.

Another tip o' of the day: speech. I find having my computer speak text is an excellent aid to proofreading. When I read, my brain happily romps through text, leaping errors and hurdling missing words like it's trying to qualify for the bad-English olympics. Having the computer read through my illiteracy flags those errors. OSX had a wonderful selection of voices. Sadly, it doesn't yet have Welsh or Brummie, but it has several English, Scottish, and Irish voices. They're actually pretty good. Tick the 'speak selected text when the key is pressed' option and chose a key combo, and in future just select the text and click those keys. And yes, you can make Emily talk dirty, but you have to live with the fact you did that.
!nataS pihsroW

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2012, 06:07:18 pm »
Loads of useful stuff so far, thanks.

What do you think of the advice in http://the.taoofmac.com/space/HOWTO/Switch to set yourself up with a regular user account in addition to the administrator account?

I've never bothered, but then I'm the only user.
!nataS pihsroW

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2012, 06:34:17 pm »
Loads of useful stuff so far, thanks.

What do you think of the advice in http://the.taoofmac.com/space/HOWTO/Switch to set yourself up with a regular user account in addition to the administrator account?

You get fed up of hang to type another name in then a password, when you need authorisation. Contrary to what the blog says, the need for the Admin account doesn't really lessen with time.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

CommuteTooFar

  • Inadequate Randonneur
Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2012, 07:26:28 pm »
I write device drivers and security software for a living.  Personally I would not touch the Mac with a ten foot barge pole.  I am constantly finding half completed api calls at the low level, poor documentation, security holes the size of a double decker bus.  It is underpinned by XNU which could become great but its not finished.  The sort of thing annoys me are the little things that do not matter at the user level but from the point of view of a programmer and operating system lover are terrible.  It is not that Apple's programmers do not want to put these thing right the company board is not interested in making an investment in things the simple end user does not see.  For instance they started working on a really modern file system that should have done wonderful things for Spotlight, Time Machine and proper Unicode Support.  Sadly they were relying on patents from Sun a hardware company who developed software in a open manner to show off their machinery.  Sun were bought by Oracle a software company who regard Sun's Software patents as a revenue source. So when it was discovered that the file system they were planning would no longer be free Apple aborted the project despite the need. HFS+ sort of works. I am a low level programmer. Do any high level programmers who develop on multiple machines actually like Objective C/Cocoa framework? I quite like the NT Kernel that has not changed that much since Windows 2000.  Some NT3.5 (first version) drivers still work properly. I am currently struggling to make partially secure program that runs on OSX 10.7 and 10.6 run on 10.5. In theory I can compile with 10.6 SDK for deployment on 10.5 with the security API that was introduced in 10.6 (Bit late but welcome) weakly linked and be resolved when first called. So my program avoids calling the Security SDK when running in 10.5 but Apple being Apple weakly link the functions but there are static objects in the Security API which the compiler fails to weakly link so the program fails to load. It is these constant failings when you push the edge of Apple technology that show the system to be a heap of steaming faeces.

 


Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2012, 07:33:09 pm »
I didnt get on with iWork at all, MS office for mac is much better (specially for word and excel).  Learning how to use the 2/3/4 finger swipe was the big change for me - that and the right click / 2 finger click thing. 

that said, I've had to switch back to a PC after 5 or 6 years of just macs, and windows 7 is pretty good.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2012, 07:41:08 pm »
...

Possibly you could (a) write that in English and (b) in a topic not entitled 'Macintosh / Apple tips'. Ta.

Now in the flavour of this topic, namely tips: install Perian. And VLC, while you are at it. Macs may be wonderful, but QuickTime continues a fine tradition of sucking like a big sucky thing.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2012, 07:48:02 pm »
One thing I'm very unclear about: antivirus and firewalls. Are they needed on a Mac? Do I need to do anything prior to first connection to the net?

Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2012, 07:48:37 pm »
i dont. 

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2012, 08:00:06 pm »
One thing I'm very unclear about: antivirus and firewalls. Are they needed on a Mac? Do I need to do anything prior to first connection to the net?

I never have, other than the inbuilt Firewall (you can check that it's active in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall). My computers (like most, these days) have private addresses behind the router.

Of course, you should practice commonsense and only open and install files of known provenance.

(Note, if you select an email attachment and press 'space' it'll preview it with Quick Look which saves you having to open the file.)
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2012, 08:00:26 pm »
One thing I'm very unclear about: antivirus and firewalls. Are they needed on a Mac? Do I need to do anything prior to first connection to the net?

Yes you do need a firewall and AV.

A firewall stops your computer being pawned by someone on the Internet breaking into your computer from the Internet. There have been plenty of cases of *nix machines (which a modern Mac is kind of) being breached, A firewall cuts down that risk hugely.
AV stops your computer being compromised from the inside then dialing home and letting someone take it over or spam the world from your address etc. Macs are better than your typical windows box in two ways. Firstly its a smaller ecosystem so less Mac viruses and malware are written. Secondly if you do get infected it only affects a single suer account nomaly rather than the whole box.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Rhys W

  • I'm single, bilingual
    • Cardiff Ajax
Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2012, 08:58:35 pm »
Buy a copy of David Pogue's Missing Manual (for whatever version of OS X you have). Easy to read, full of useful tricks and tips, and generally an invaluable reference imo.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2012, 10:47:03 pm »
The best way to deal with AV on the Mac is to:

1) Not bother but make sure you are nice to your PC owning friends by not passing on PC viruses to the that compromised machines of other PC owning friends have passed on.
2) Keep an eye on the news about Mac malware (ignoring fluff Press Releases form security companies who are only in business because they sell anti-malware) and be ready to adopt an anti-malware app if it becomes necessary.

PS +1 to ian's earlier response.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: Macintosh / Apple tips
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2012, 03:03:43 am »
I use ClamX anti virus. Never had a virus but I always scan downloaded zip files and do the monthly scan.

+1 for VLC + Perian

I'd buy a copy of MS Office for Mac and be done with it. Pages is excellent though and a small purchase.

Preview will open most files in read only mode. Stickies are awesome and underated. As is Expose. Also I really love the spacebar to preview in finder very useful. Spotlight is awesome.

MacFUSE and Flip4Mac are also worth having.
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