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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...




More Toolbar Menus & Advice For Someone Coming From The Dark Side
February 26th, 2001

Greetings, everyone! Today we explore a slew of interesting topics. We talk about adding customizable menus to your Mac's menu bar, plugging your Mac in overseas, and I step out on a limb and make known my recommendations on Mac word processors. If you have a question of your own, you can e-mail me, or ask in the comments below. Alternatively, the Ask Dave/Tech Support forums are there for everyone to take a crack at answering your question, so feel free to post it there, too! For now, read on!

Aidy Drayton writes, "I want to know how you add other items to the toolbar running across the top of the screen where you have File, Edit, View! What I would like to do is add other headings, like ' Applications,' to organize my Mac."

AIdy, you're in luck! There are a few Shareware packages out there that serve this purpose beautifully. The first is OtherMenu. This gem has been around for a LONG time, and has been updated to work with all the latest operating systems and software available. It adds one menu to your menu bar, and you can customize it all you like (similar to the Apple menu). The nice thing about Other Menu is that it also comes with a bunch of handy utilities that you can add to the menu as well, allowing you to change your sound volume, alter your monitor settings, and the like. The second piece of software I'll mention here is AliasMenu. This allows you to add multiple menus to your menu bar, and you can customize their names, icons, and such as much as you like. It doesn't include all the utility-related features of OtherMenu, nor does it appear to be as robust, but it does give you the option of multiple menus, and that can be useful for some people.

Gary Bowman writes, "I have a PowerBook (FireWire), with power adapter. The manual says the power adapter has an input of AC 100-240 volts. I'll be in the United Kingdom, where the power of 220. I'll have the correct adapter to plug it in, but do I need to switch anything on the PowerBook or the power adapter to make sure it can handle the 220 volts? I couldn't find anything in the manual or at Apple's site."

Gary, I checked Apple's Tech Info Library and found an article entitled, "Apple Power Supplies: Changing Voltage Settings". In this article it indicates that the PowerBooks all have auto-switching power supplies. This means that it will sense the voltage coming in and adjust itself automatically without any user intervention. Based on what this TIL article says, you should be able to plug in and go! Make sure you check it out for yourself.

Troy Allen writes, "I just need some help with my new Powerbook G3. It is my first Mac, it has 10 GB hard drive, about 8 GB of that unused, with 512 MB RAM. I need some help picking out a Word Processor, since it only came with SimpleText. I think I am going to purchase Maclink Plus Deluxe. Is that a good move?

As for a word processor; I see Nisus Writer, the new version 6, the older version 4 for free download, and the compact version for free. I see Wordperfect 3.5 for free download or purchase CD version for $24.95. I see AppleWorks version 6; I have read that AppleWorks version 5 is more versatile in that it will save documents in Winword type files to view in Word, which I have on my PC; If this were my choice I do not know where to purchase AppleWorks version 5? And of course, Word for Mac. I guess since I am trying the Mac, I really would like to stay away from Word just to see what the Mac is like; On my PC I run Office 2000 Premium Edition. Maybe when you have time you could give me some guidance as to what would be the best."

Troy, I'd be glad to give you my opinion! Heck, that's why I write these things... so people will listen to me. :-) In any event, MacLinkPlus Deluxe is never a bad thing to have around, especially if you plan to be receiving/importing files from other locations. Get a good virus protection package as well (Norton AntiVirus from Symantec is my current favorite). As far as Word Processing software, I'm actually going to recommend Microsoft Word. It is by far the cross-platform standard. Don't worry about getting Word and then having it feel "un-Mac-like". The current version of Word (included with Office 2001 for Mac) is a Mac application through and through. It feels "Mac-like" in every aspect and, on top of all that, will read and write files that your PC will be happy with, too. For cross-platform compatibility and ease of use, it's the best, and even if you DON'T have to do any of that, it's still the best word processor for the Mac in my opinion. Congratulations on making the platform switch, sir!

That's it for today folks! Feel free to send your questions to me at askdave@macobserver.com, or ask in the comments below. I'll see you in a few weeks!

PS. Have a Nice Day.

is President and CEO of The Mac Observer, Inc. He has worked in the computer industry as a consultant, trainer, network engineer, webmaster, and a programmer for most of the last 10 years. During that time he has worked on the Mac, all the various Windows flavors, Be, a few brands of Unix, and it is rumored he once saw an OS/2 machine in action. Before that he ran some of the earliest Bulletin Board systems, but most of the charges have since been dropped, and not even the FBI requests that he check in more than twice a year.

Ask Dave is here to answer all the Mac questions you have. Networking, system conflicts, hardware, you ask it, he can answer it. He is the person from whom all Mac knowledge flows....


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