A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Games, Holiday Suggestions, & Learning A Mac Basic The Hard Way November 16th, 2001
New Game Information
In January of 2000 I wrote about MacBrickout 4.0.1, a paddle game created by Carson Whitsett of Leapfrog Software. At the time I raved about this game, noting the quality of the design and how much fun it was to play. I still enjoy playing MacBrickout several times a week and that is pretty good staying power for a computer game. I particularly recommend MacBrickout for new users because it helps you become familiar with your mouse while you are having fun. Last week I got a brand new iMac 700. My very first brand new computer and I love it. My previous iMac has been passed on to a family member. In the process of setting up the new machine I had to reinstall some applications and make sure that they remained registered. (For a review of what happens when you don't save your registration information in spite of all the warnings you get, check out this column.)
MacBrickout has been updated to version 4.1 and if you are a registered MacBrickout user you can download the upgraded version at Leapfrog. There are several new elements in the new version, including new falling balls that give thousands of extra points when caught. It is worth your time to add the new version or check out the game for the first time.
Since my new computer purchase was done by committee (my children think I always need their help when I'm spending MY money) I had time to wander through the store looking for other goodies to go with the new machine. There are some new items from 3M available that may interest many readers, particularly with the holidays coming up. To make use of these you will need a copy of an application called Printscape for Inkjet Printers. Printscape is available for both Mac and Windows PCs as a free download from http://www.3MPrintscape.com. With this application you can make square and rectangle gift bags, individualized Post-it Notes, cards, and posters. For each project there is a special paper created so that your finished products look professional. I really like the Post-it Notes, and yes, they do have the sticky part on the back just like any other Post-it Notes. The only difference is they are by the page rather than stacked in the more traditional fashion. These would make great stocking stuffers, or small gifts for co-workers. All of the above are made by 3M.
Avery puts out some printable magnet sheets for Ink Jet printers. I haven't tried them, but I can see a lot of good uses for these as well during the holidays.
Want to make your own bumper stickers? OfficeMax features repositionable bumper stickers for Ink Jet printers. Have something you want to tell the world (well, maybe just your neighborhood)? There have been many times when I have seen clever bumper stickers that I would have liked to have myself. Now I can. These come as plain pieces of paper with removable backing so it will be necessary for you to create your own page set-ups.
Last, but not least, invent it! have available photo quality Print and Stick project paper. This has lots of uses, including personalized jar labels for all that home made jam and jelly some of you make. This also comes as plain sheets of paper with removable backing so to use it you should have some abilities to create your own images either through a graphics program or by downloading clip art.
Learn From My Fumbling
I freely admit that I had help transferring data from my old computer to my new one. I figure since they helped me buy it, they could also help me set it up. We all assumed that every thing of importance was moved. A couple of days later I ran into an unexpected problem. Perhaps my experience can help save you time and frustration in the future.
I needed to use my scanner, but when I tried to access it, I got error messages that said the software was missing and there were no drivers. I knew the software was there and I thought drivers were just for printers so I was at a dead end before I could even get started. I tried checking things like the control panels and preferences, but that was wasted time. Then I tried the typical non-teckie things of plugging and un-plugging things, restarting the computer etc. That was a waste of time too. The error message about the drivers kept asking if I wanted to search the internet to find them. I clicked on yes, but got a message back that none were found. So, on the advice of my son I went to the Web page of the maker of my scanner. Right there on the front page was a link for downloading drivers. All I had to do was click on the kind of computer I have and the version of scanner that I have and click on go. The drivers were now on my hard drive. I was convinced at this point that it was taken care of so I again attempted to use the scanner. I got the same error messages as before.
I looked on my hard drive to make sure the new stuff was there and it was. Then I looked on my desk top and I found this new little icon.
I thought it was there because everything was ready and it was just left over. What I still had to do was click on it and follow the directions to actually install it. Once I did that everything worked like a charm. My lesson for the day is "just because something is on my hard drive doesn't mean it has been installed."
If you have any questions, comments, or tips, let me know and I may include them in a future column.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color,
covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.