A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Downloads, Fonts, & Reader Comments March 29th, 2000
This week I am going to review an application recommended by a reader, pass along some reader comments, and suggest a download experience that will be easy, free, and allow some practice. Ready?
First the download practice. There are so many different kinds of download opportunities that any of them can quickly become intimidating. I know it was that way for me. The only answer is to keep trying and follow directions. The good thing is that with a Mac it is next to impossible for you to mess up anything so badly that you can't get out of it. Actually, the downloading part is usually the easy part. The hard part is what to do with it after you have it captured. Some of the things you download, like games, can go just about anywhere you want them to go. Other things, like extensions, have to go in specific places if they are to do what they are designed to do.
New Type Fonts
Type fonts are fun and offer a good chance to learn how to put something in a specific place. There is a web site called Fontsite that offers several free fonts, designed for both Macs and PCs, as a method of introducing you to the fonts they sell. Before you start I suggest that you close your word processing program if it is open. You can access their free font downloads here. Once you are there you will see several fonts described and you can select one or all of them to add to your machine. Do remember however that to make your downloads work you have to have installed Stuffit Expander. If you haven't done so yet you can find references for it in the Index to the Computing With Bifocals columns.
From the choices offered by Fontsite I really like Goudy Sans. When I scrolled down to that font I saw this information:
To download it all I had to do was click on the MacOS icon. The computer and Stuffit took over and I quickly had two new items on my desktop.
New Items on Desktop
The top one I immediately trashed because it was no longer needed. The bottom one contains the new font. There are two ways to install it.
Number 1: You don't even have to open it.
Open your hard drive and find your system folder.
Don't open the system folder.
Just drag the font icon across the closed system folder icon and release the mouse button.
You should get a box that asks if you want to file the new file in the fonts folder.
Click your agreement and you are done.
The next time you open your word processing program the new font will be available.
Open your hard drive folder and drag the new fonts into it. (This just allows you to store it out of your way.)
Then open the new font folder. If you have chosen Goudy Sans you will see two folders inside the main folder labeled Type 1 and True Type. Each contains versions of the new font.
Open your system folder and find the primary Fonts Folder (not the one you just downloaded, but the one that is already there.)
Open the new fonts folder that you downloaded and move the two folders inside it into that primary Fonts Folder. They will have the quirky A on them just like the primary font folder has.
You are finished and the next time you open any of your word processing programs your new fonts will be available for your use.
I hope you find that to be fairly easy because I think most of you will want to try this next application that was recommended by my good friend Bill (Crabapple) Hill in Kentucky. It is an inexpensive application that allows you to create PDF files without having to purchase the more expensive (much more) Adobe Acrobat. You will have to have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader installed though. You can read about PDF files and how to get the Adobe Acrobat Reader in the column from February 2, 2000. The advantage to saving some things as PDF files is that it allows you to send files across platforms easily, i.e., send something to a friend who has a PC instead of a Mac. The application is called PrintToPDF, and version 1.5 was just released this week. It is shareware and sells for $20. It will work on any Mac that is a Power PC, running at least System 7. The author is James W. Walker. You can download a trial version of this program from VersionMaster, which you will find on the front page of The Mac Observer, or from Download.com.
PrintToPDF is a printer driver that creates simple PDF files. There are other attributes to it as well, but today I am just going to concentrate on the file creation aspects because that is the one that most novices will be most likely to use. Download the program. When you have the file downloaded move it into your Extensions folder inside your System Folder which is stored on your hard drive. If you just drag the icon over the System Folder your computer will put it in the Extensions folder. To use the application you will need to become familiar with the Chooser. The one thing that is very different about saving PDF files is that you must go through the steps that you ordinarily use to print documents, not save them. I don't know why this is true or necessary, but it is. The Chooser is the part of your computer that allows you to select the printer you want to use. Since most home computers only have one printer this is probably something which you have not had to use since your printer was installed - and chances are someone else did that for you. By-the-way, you can use PrintToPDF even if you don't have a printer hooked up to your machine.
To access the Chooser go to the Apple Menu found in the far upper left corner of your screen. Click on it once and hold down the mouse button. You will see Chooser somewhere in the list. Drag the mouse to Chooser and let it go. A printer box will open up once you release. Yours will look something like this:
When you installed the application in your Extensions Folder your machine added the PrintToPDF icon to your Chooser list. Click on the icon for PrintToPDF and your box will look something like this:
Chooser With PrintToPDF Selected
This will let you know that when you choose print you will get a document saved as a PDF document rather than having it print. Obviously, you will have to go through these steps again to access your regular printer. That is all there is to it. Just open the document you want to save as a PDF document and choose Print under the File Pull-down Menu. A print dialogue box, different from the usual print dialogue box, will appear and you just click on OK and name your document when asked to do so. You now have a PDF document in addition to the original document that you created in your word processing program.
Steven Sahyun from Oregon State University wrote to pass on another source for getting bigger cursors for your Mac (See March 16th Column) Steven has used an application called Fat Cursor for several years and he tried to track down a current download site for this application which only costs $5. He didn't find a download site, but he did find a contact address for the author of the program.
For more information, contact:
5106 Forest Glen Dr.
San Jose, CA 95129
A reader who is a lefty also wrote in response to the March 16th Column to strongly suggest to other lefties that they learn to mouse right handed. He noted:
"The benefit is I can go buy any fancy mouse on the market and I can use the mouse right handed and write down notes left handed without having to drop the mouse and pick up a pen as a right hander is required to do. It saves a lot of time. So for me, the right hand mouse is actually a left hand mouse. And since most lefties are somewhat ambidextrous from just being in a right hand world I would suggest they work with a right hand mouse and give it a chance. Most will get used to it in short time. Also, I can't even imagine trying to work with a left handed cursor."
Divergent opinions are welcome.
If you have any tips, suggestions, or other comments about this, or any other Mac topics, send them to me so that I can share them with other readers.
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.