A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
A Compendium Of Information For New Users July 11th, 2002
HINT: New computer users may be unfamiliar with some of the terms used in this column. If you come across something you are unfamiliar with you may go to the Computing With Bifocals Index for help.
You Can't Do This On A PC
A friend recently referred me to http://www.macintosh-tips.com and told me to check out the "yellow button." This is what I found: In OS X, there are three small buttons in the upper-left-hand corner of each window. The yellow button in the center minimizes that window in the dock. However, if you hold down the shift key before clicking the button, it will minimize in slow motion. Try it with a QuickTime movie running its really cool!
Fascinating, Hypnotic, and Useless?
The following caught my eye while searching the 'Net and I decided I had to check it out.
"If you're looking for something beautiful, relaxing, hypnotic, fascinating, enchanting and otherwise quite useless, you can't do better than ClusterWorks."
This is simple little application that downloads in seconds, unless you are on a dial-up connection, but even then it's a fast download (the size is 234k). It requires a Power Macintosh with 256 colors or higher, System 7.5 or higher, and QuickTime 2.5 or higher. It works perfectly in the "Classic environment" in OS X on my Mac as well. The download site noted below is primarily in Japanese but there is an option to click for an English version. When first opened, the window below appears on your screen. Although it clearly states that this is a demo version, I was unable to find any reference to price. The product link does not work and the page has not been updated since 2000 so it may be that the demo is all that is available. Try it anyway.
Cluster Works Opening Screen
To start the application double click on the open window. The application will open with a totally black screen that quickly morphs into a beautiful, colorful pattern that initially reminded me of the Star Trek images of space as the ships travel through.
Small Sample of The ClusterWorks images
You have the option of letting the application run in a random pattern or of controlling it by moving your mouse, causing the lights to follow your mouse. There is soothing tinkly music to accompany the movements. These instructions are all you need to enjoy the show.
Move the mouse and set the brightness of particles and the sound level.
Keep the mouse button down and spout out continuous particles.
On default leave the mouse at a stationary spot for a while and the automatic display takes over.
To begin controlling the images just move the mouse.
Move your mouse to the very bottom of the screen to access a rolling tool bar that provides options, including close.
When traveling with your notebook, have it visually inspected rather than running it down the conveyor. X-rays? No problem. However, some people have reported problems caused by the magnets in the motor of the conveyor belt. [Note that the security realities of today may well make this an impossibility.]
When you transfer a file from one machine to another, it's important that you have the same fonts available to the file on both machines. It may not matter if your file is just straight text ... but if you have any special formatting you've worked hard on, it can splatter all over the page if the font is not available on both machines. Since Macs come loaded with a number of standard fonts, make sure you choose one of them for your project.
The usual method of deleting a drawn object is to click to select it, and then hit the delete key. You can save yourself a moment (or several) by just holding down the delete key as you click with the selection tool. This works in most graphics and text/graphic applications. (From Nancy: Been there, done that!)
Restarts are performed on different Macs in different ways. Most pre-G3 Macs can be restarted by pressing Control, Option, and the power key on the keyboard. If you don't have an extended keyboard, or it lacks a power key, just press the main power switch, wait ten seconds, and start the machine again. If all else fails, just pull the plug ... not recommended except as a final attempt, although it's supposed to be harmless to Macs.
When installing software you should disable your virus-protection software. Usually the installer will remind you Leaving it on can cause your installer to crash, or even worse, result in an apparently good install which will later turn out to be incomplete or corrupted.
You may be able to salvage your document in the event of a screen freeze or system crash. If you can't move the pointer, hold down the Command (Open Apple) key and type the letter "s." This is the keyboard command for Save. No guarantees, though. Remember, there is no substitute for saving regularly. To restart after a screen freeze or system crash, hold down the Control and Command keys and press the startup button. This will provide a forced restart.
(1) Don't place books or papers up against the computer vents. It's important to keep the air flowing. (2) Don't place your computer near heater vents. The air entering the computer should be relatively cool. (3) Wait several minutes before covering the computer after shutting down. If you cover the computer immediately, the cover will trap heat inside
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.