A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Two Dandy OS X Apps, & Some Beginner OS X Hints May 30th, 2003
I have a couple of new applications to tell you about and then I have a couple
of cool tips for OS X.
Mac FlipAlbum may be of interest to newer Mac users who have digital cameras and OS X 10.2 (or higher). This title is the creation of E-Book Systems, and features their patented Digital Flip technology. According to the company, it is the only 3-D photo album on the market. Users can design their own covers and backgrounds, and can also add music. If you know how to save photos in .gif or .jpg format, you are halfway there to having a unique picture album. If this is a new concept please see the link below for the Index of columns by topic.
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.
The pages of an album literally flip on the screen as they would if you were looking at a real book. The best way to try this application out is to download a free trial copy. The product sells for US$39.95 for a box product or US$34.95 for a downloadable version. The application highlights include:
Realistic 3-D page-flipping gives a natural and intuitive viewing experience.
Album pages can easily be inserted or deleted from the album.
The ability to create full page layouts, complete with annotations.
You can create your own themes with front and back covers and individual page backgrounds.
Supports centerfold page layout in landscape format.
Thumbnail overview, table of contents and index are all created automatically and hyperlinked
to the actual pages. You can cut and paste them to any page within the album
Requires OS 10.2 or higher Power PC G4 700 MHz and above
30 MG hard disk space for installation
384 MB RAM
In my opinion, Mac users with medium or better skills will have the most success with this application. Brand new users may find it confusing.
This is a well designed and enjoyable game with versions available for both OS 9 (including OS 8) and OS X. The premise is a familiar one where the player destroys the bricks on the screen using one or more balls. QuickTime must be installed before the game can be played. The game is the creation of Michel Colman. I found it to be great fun and challenging. There are a number of unique attributes including the level layouts, the moving bricks, and the laser.
The application highlights include:
The game balls actually behave like real balls. When a ball hits the corner of a brick, it doesn't just go back in the direction it came from. Instead, the exact point of impact is calculated, and the ball bounces off the corner just like a real ball would.
The game bricks are laid out in a variety of patterns (circles, rainbows, pyramids) and some will move while the game is in progress.
There are 50 levels built into the game, and users have the option of building additional levels.
A training mode is included.
There are adequate opportunities for winning extra points or extra balls.
Hardware: Macintosh with 200 MHz PowerPC or higher (includes any iMac or iBook)
Software: QuickTime , MacOS 8,9,X
Memory: 12 MB free, no Ram Doubler (in Mac OS 8 or 9)
Colbricks sells for US$16 as a downloadable format. There is a free trial version available.
In my opinion even first time Mac users will be able to successfully play this game with practice.
OS X Tips
Controlling Sound From Your Desktop Everyone's response to sounds on their computers is unique. Sometimes that includes people who share one computer. Personally, I don't like a lot of sounds when I play games, as I find them distracting. With OS X you can control sounds right from your desktop.
On the top right portion of your screen, next to the date/time options, is the speaker symbol for sound. Click on that symbol once and a sound control bar will appear.
The Sound Control Bar
Put your cursor on the blue button and move it up or down as desired. Is that cool or what?
Controlling The Size Of Your Icons
A friend showed me this trick when I was trying to snap pictures from my desktop for a slide show I was creating. What he showed me was that you can easily change the size of the icons on your Mac OS X desktop. From the too-small-for-me-to-use, to the way-too-big, you can adjust your icon size as needed. First open a folder that contains other folders and/or icons. Make sure that folder is the active window and go to the View pull-down menu and select "Show View Options". This window will open on your desktop.
The Size Control Window
As you can see, you only have to slide the Icon size bar up or down the scale to control the sizes. Note, to, that you have the option to affect only the open window or every window on your machine. You can also change the text size.
Between the new applications available to me (and you) and all the new elements of OS X it seems like there is a whole new world of great computer experiences just waiting to be sampled. Right now I am discovering the iTunes Music Store and I will cover it in my next column. It is awesome. Have you discovered something new that you would like to share with other new users? If so, drop me a note and I will include it in an upcoming 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.