Computing with Bifocals - Nancy's Tiger Thoughts for the Bifocal Crowd
- May 31st, 2005
More on Keyboard Shortcuts
In my last column I covered the subject of Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts for those who prefer executing computer commands using the keyboard rather than the mouse. At the suggestion of a couple of readers, I put the table of shortcuts in a PDF format and posted it on the web so that those wishing to do so could download and print just the table. I have modified that posting somewhat.
First of all, I included a few of the new Tiger-only shortcuts for those who have already installed the new Tiger operating system on their computers (more about that to follow). Second I have posted the table in two versions. The 10 point version fits nicely on two pages, or on the front and back of a page, for easy reference. The 14 point version runs to 3 and a half pages, but the font size is 14 which means it is large and much easier to read for those of us who prefer that our reading material be, uhmmm, large.
Now about this Tiger thing. Should you get it and install it on your computer? Maybe. In the interest of always trying to be informed for you, the reader, I rushed out the instant it was available, waited in line and even got interviewed by one of our local TV stations who probably wanted to know what in the world this old lady was doing waiting for new software. This was all just noble research for this column you understand.
In a nutshell my advice is this. If you are comfortable with your Mac and feel that you know the Panther operating system well, then by all means go for Tiger if your Mac is powerful enough to handle it. If you are still learning Panther or Jaguar or are still using OS 9, then there is no hurry. It is not going to go away. You will enjoy the new features only if you can utilize them, and a lot of what Tiger offers to the beginning user are simply bells and whistles: faster this, smother that, and cool new "stuff." As your skills and knowledge increase, so will your ability to truly utilize all the aspects of Tiger.
I love Tiger although I am way down on the bottom of the learning curve at this point. I have read the reviews, listened to my more experienced friends, written down all their tips so I can pass them on, experimented with it, discovered what it will and will not do on my older machine, and am really glad I have it.
I particularly like the new feature called Spotlight which searches your entire hard drive for something. For instance, I entered one of my daughters' first name and got a categorical list of every note, song, CD, email, message, address book entry, letter, photograph, PDF document and calendar event containing her name. I got this information instantly. It didn't matter how I had it labeled or how far down in a document it might be contained.
Equally delightful to me is the ability to fill out PDF forms on the web (such as an IRS form) and print it out. This is a first and should be useful to many people.
On the other hand, there are some features that simply do not work on my older machine. Granted, they are of the bell and whistle category and do not diminish the value of Tiger as far as I am concerned, but it took me awhile to figure out the reason why Tiger would do things on my friend's computer that it would not do on mine. I also think my computer runs just a bit slower now.
Now, back to that pesky sentence in the second paragraph of this topic "......if your Mac is powerful enough to handle it."
The minimum requirements for Tiger as reported on the Apple web site are:
- Macintosh computer with a PowerPC G3, G4 or G5 processor
- Built-in FireWire
- 256MB of RAM
- 3GB of available hard disk space (4GB if you install the developer tools)
If you don't know if your computer meets these specs you can easily check because Macs make it easy for you to check. Open "About This Mac" which you will find under the Apple menu.
|Find "About This Mac" under the Blue Apple menu on your Mac running any OS X.
|When I open up "About This Mac" I get this window on my Mac.
From this window I can see that I have a PowerPC G4 so I meet the first requirement.
I have more than 256MB of RAM so I also meet the third requirement
I still need to find out if I have FireWire capability and how much available hard disk space I have. To get that information I need to first click on the More info button in the "About This Mac" window. That is where I can find out about the FireWire.
|To check on the availability of FireWire I open the Hardware category and then click on FireWire.
There I find that I do indeed have FireWire connectivity.
If I did not have it I would find a message telling me "No information found."
This takes care of item number 2 on the requirements list. I am seventy five percent there. The last thing I have to check is hard disk space. I find hard disk space by opening my hard drive and clicking on Get Info. Click once on the icon for your hard drive. It will be on your desktop unless you have taken steps to hide it. (See note at the end of the column if you can't find the hard drive.)
|Clicking once will leave the icon highlighted.
Go to the File menu and select Get Info.
Now I have a problem. The specs from the Apple web site state that I need 3 GB of space to successfully load Tiger. I only have 2.67. I can't successfully load Tiger unless I make some space available.
GB stands for gigabyte which measures in the billions
MB stands for megabyte which measures in the millions
KB stands for kilobyte which measures in the thousands
Therefore, having 5 MB won't help you any if you need GB, but 5 GB will buy you lots of hay in the MB store.
My Best Tiger Tip So Far - Gleefully Provided By A Friend
Put quote marks in front the query words in the Spotlight query box and Spotlight will filter in such a way that those words must be present and arranged in exactly the order you indicated to be displayed. Case sensitivity is not an issue. Putting quote marks at the end of the word string doesn't seem to be necessary. For example. If I enter CapMac meeting into Spotlight I will get any item that contains either of those words in any order. If I enter "CapMac meeting Spotlight will treat the two words as one and search results will only reflect items that have those two words together, in that exact order.
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.
|Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!
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.
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