A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Nancy's (Over 50) Contest & Some Tips April 9th, 2004
I am announcing a contest for the readers of my column. This is my very own contest and I will personally be providing the prize or prizes as appropriate. The winner(s) will get one of the great TMO shirts. OK, TMO is giving me the shirts to give away, but it's still my contest!
All you have to do to win is be over 50, use a Mac, and send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org telling me why you started using a Mac in the first place, and what effect it has had on your life (if I get more entries than I have shirts, I will do a drawing). I am looking for inspirational stories
A picture along with your story would be great, but is not absolutely required. However, it would help verify that you fit into the age range, and a picture could make the difference in choosing the winner in a close contest.
All or parts of winning stories will be included in a future column. I will acknowledge receipt of e-mails sent for the contest. Entries must be received by midnight 15 days from the date this column is published. I reserve the right to edit published portions of entries as necessary to meet the standards of TMO. Entries may be created in word processing format and included as attachments in an e-mail if desired.
The inspiration for this contest is a beautiful lady named Rose. Rose is in her early 80s, but the only reason I know that is because she told me. In looks and spirit, she is much younger. We met casually through our local Mac users group and became better acquainted when she asked me to come to her home to give her some one-to-one training on her Mac. She is working on a special project and she doesn't drive much any more.
Among many other accomplishments in her life, Rose earned a Ph.D. in her 50s, so this is a woman who is not afraid to tackle new goals. She has learned much about the basics of using her Mac, but like many new users, gets somewhat stymied when something doesn't work and she doesn't know where to go next. A place we have all visited frequently have we not?
Rose and I worked together for a couple of hours on the specific skills she was most concerned about, and since she takes dynamite notes, I expect she will be able to go back and remember everything the next time she tries to do it again.
The reason I am writing about Rose is to tell about the project that is so important to her. She is creating a family history from her perspective for her daughter and granddaughter. What a priceless gift! To do this she has learned to use AppleWorks and iPhoto. During our session together she learned how to get pictures from iPhoto into AppleWorks, how to use a table to make a picture frame, how to text wrap, etc. Just little things that will make her job a bit easier and her finished product more finished-looking.
We also talked about the fact that there were ways that she could modify her photos without having to learn to use yet another application (such as Graphic Converter). Sometimes, as beginners, we would rather take a few extra steps to do something that we can just do by ourselves. We don't always care if there is an easier or faster way. It is important that relatives and/or helpers try and remember that.
OS X Tips
Sometimes you just can't remember what you named something. No matter how logical it seemed at the time, it just doesn't come back to you the next time you need it. With OS X there is the ability to search based on a word or words contained within the document. However, you have to activate that resource by indexing your documents. The first time you do this it may be a lengthy process, depending on how much information you have on your computer. I suggest you start the indexing process as you retire for the night, and make sure you leave your Mac on. After the first time, you can index on a routine basis and the indexing process will only index what is new information. Here are the steps to do so in Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther):
Click once on the icon for the hard drive. That tells your computer that you want the hard drive to be the active open file. The hard drive icon is on your desk top and in OS X it looks something like this:
Then select "Get Info" from the File pulldown menu at the top of your screen.
A small window will open that gives you a great deal of information about your computer. About 3/4 of the way down you should see an option to "Index Now" under the "Content Index" section. All you have to do is click on that button and the index process will begin. It stops automatically when it is finished.
Leave it on, or turn it off?
One question that frequently comes up when I am teaching classes pertains to when or if to turn your Mac off and on. I turn my Mac off about once a month. Usually that occurs when I download software upgrades and have to restart the computer to integrate the upgrades.
When you are not using your computer it goes into a rest mode; it is not using excessive amounts of electricity so you are not wasting money by leaving it on. In addition, your Mac will perform some maintenance routines on its hard drive when it is not being used (usually in the middle of the night), but only if it is turned on.
There is a shortcut under the blue Apple Menu on the top left of your screen that you may not have discovered yet. It is very handy, though, so you may want to check it out. It is called "Recent Items."
When you click your mouse over the blue apple, and hold it down, you will see that name on the list and also notice a tab to the right. If you move the mouse to the words Recent Items and hold it there you will find a second window containing a list of both the recent applications and the recent documents you have opened.
Continuing to hold down the mouse button, you can move into the second window to the application or document you want and open it by clicking on it once. You don't have to hunt for anything if you don't wish to. The default list for both applications and documents is 10 each, but you can have either remember up to 50. To change the number go to System Preferences under the Apple menu, choose Appearance. You will see a pop-up menu that lets you adjust the numbers for either or both.
Don't forget the contest and thanks to everyone who shared their recommendations about printers, scanners, and copiers, after my last 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.