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Computing With Bifocals
by Nancy Carroll Gravley

A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....

More Tips For Mac Novices
November 24th, 1999

Last week's column about my friend "Sam" and his progress towards becoming a comfortable user of his iMac generated a number of reader letters. All wanted to congratulate "Sam" on his progress and accomplishments. In addition, several readers passed on tips to share with "Sam" and other readers.

Another Way to Cut and Paste

Mike Kaufmann suggested a program called CopyPaste 4.2.2. He said it was great for copying and he even sent me along a copy to try out and review. This program is made by Script Software Int'l, is shareware, and sells for $20. I found it at and it downloaded in less than 5 minutes. It works fine on my older Mac and the literature says it works on all the OS 8 systems. There are instruction manuals in German, Swedish, and English. The literature for the program states the following which pretty well summarizes what it does.

One of the early wonders of the Mac was its revolutionary ability to do copy and paste across various applications. Unlike other areas in the Mac's system software that have changed and progressed over the years, copying and pasting has not evolved. How many times have you found yourself going back and forth copying in one application and pasting in a different application, wishing to yourself that you could copy 5-10 items at a time, then go to another application and paste each of these items? Now you can, with a vengeance!

Once downloaded you simply click on the primary icon. At that point you will be told to put it in your extensions file. Open your hard drive and locate your extensions folder. Drag the CopyPaste icon to the extensions folder and release. Restart your computer and you are ready to use it. I will take the time to learn how to use it after Thanksgiving and will summarize my experiences then.

Dealing With iMac Computer Freeze-Up

Bill Hill contributed the following suggestion. "Here's a little tip on the iMac, when they lock up or freeze, instead of using a paper clip to push the reset button, or pulling the plug, push and hold the apple key and the shift key and while keeping them depressed, push the power button on the keyboard. I don't know if it work on all iMacs but it works on mine."

Maximizing Space in Your E-Mail Program

Clinton Kawanishi wrote with a tip about e-mail systems. He noted that "recently, our Eudora Light at home started to crash every time I trashed spam. I cleaned out the In Box but it still kept crashing after trashing. Well, I thought a bit and went to check out the Out Box. I was surprised at how much stuff was there because while we periodically clean out the In Box we forget about the Out Box. Paring that down took care of my crashing problem." Clinton pointed out that this is an important bit of information for novice users because "the e-mail program is probably one of the most used novice's Mac programs that 'acquires' disk-space. Also e-mail memory is more than likely set at the default memory allotment for whatever program is used for e-mail. Users can increase the memory allotment for their e-mail using the ‘Get Info’ found on the File pull-down menu.” (Note: Instructions for doing this are elsewhere in this column) Clinton continues “I had mine set 4X and I still exceeded it because we use our computer for work, as well as several outside conferences and organizations. So we not only had numerous regular e-mails in the In and Out Boxes but we also have lots sorted away in mailboxes." Clinton closed his message with how pleased he was with the performance he got from his Mac while working on all the complexities of creating and managing a large conference.

Why Do I Get Error Messages?

Here is another reader tip that can help a lot of new users. Sometimes when you are trying to open a specific web page you get an error message like:

  • Server Error The web server had a problem handling your request
  • A Connection With The Server Could Not be Established
  • Unable to Connect With the Server
  • or (the most common) HTTP/1.0 404 Object Not Found.

Sometimes you might get one of these messages (or other similar wording) because the web site you are trying to open is down or has been removed from the Internet. However, much more frequently the problem is that you have not correctly entered the URL (web address). Whenever possible I cut and paste URL's so that the ol' bifocals don't get in the way and cause this problem. Whenever you get such a message check first on the URL you have entered. It only takes one small thing out of sequence to have the URL rejected. Also, when I first started using the Internet all the web addresses ended in .com. I thought that was a set feature for all the Internet. Of course, that was an erroneous assumption on my part and as the Internet world grows you will find more and more that all URL's don't end in .com so just be sure you have double checked that when you have problems.


The Option key on your Mac (located between the Control Key and the Apple Key) has a lot of features, most of which I was not aware until I came across some information on the Internet. Here are some cool and helpful things that you can do with it.

Ways to Clean Up Your Desktop

Hold down the Option Key while you choose Clean Up from the Special pull-down menu under Mac OS 7.6 or under the View pull down menu under Mac OS 8.0 and above. This will cause all the icons to align from left to right and top to bottom. Don’t do this if you followed some earlier advice from me and put trash cans in all four corners of your screen for convenience. This step will undo that.

Hold down the Option Key and the Apple Key when you start your computer and the desktop files will be cleaned up, getting rid of any extraneous elements that waste space. This is called "Rebuilding the Desktop," and should be done every month or so.

Holding down the Option Key while you click on Empty Trash from the pull-down menu will allow you to discard even locked files that are in your trash, but not files that are in use.

Move and Copy a Document At the Same Time

Hold down the Option Key while you drag a file or folder to a different window and it will create a copy at the new location while leaving the original just where it was.

Some Symbols You Can Get

If you have Zapf Dingbats as a font choice in your word processing program, you can get the symbol · by holding down the Option Key and striking the W Key.

You can get a symbol • by holding down the Option Key and the number 8 Key.

How to Create Some Accents for Non-English Words

You can get accents for letters using the Option Key. First hold down the Option Key and strike the lower case e. It will appear as if nothing has happened, but striking anyother key (only) a second time and the accented letter (such as é ) will appear. Hold down the Option Key and strike the lower case n Key. Follow by striking the n a second time and you will get the accented n (ñ).

How To Check the Program Memory for an Application

There may be times when you try to open a program only to get a message that says "Not enough memory to open this document message", here's how to fix that.

Make sure the program is closed and then find the program's icon (not an alias or the program folder). Usually you will find programs on your hard drive. Again, use the Find option if you don't remember where you stored it. Click on the icon one time. Do not double click. That will just relaunch the program. Go to the File pull-down menu and choose Get Info. If the “Get Info” is not visible, or is grayed out, you are using the wrong icon. Try again. Click in the Minimum size box and increase the memory the program will use on launch. If you exceed the Preferred size, the computer will reject your entry. To exceed the preferred size, raise it first. Avoid the temptation to run amuck. You should keep in mind that you must live within the amount of RAM you have. When you close the Get Info window the changes will automatically take effect and you should then be able to open the program.

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.

Post your comments below.
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!

A Capacious Catalog Of Computer Tips

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.

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