Mac Computers

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A Beginners Guide to Apple Mac Computers

This article is the beginning of a thread of articles that give novice users a grounding in the Apple mac operating system. For those used to Windows computers the switch to Apple can seem daunting. It needn’t be. In this series of articles I will lead you through the transition from the Windows environment to the latest version of Apple OS 10.6, also known as Snow Leopard. Each article in the series will cover one specific area of using the computer, and will give hints and tips that help you use your computer efficiently and effectively to meet your needs. Upcoming articles will include:

Finding the similarities between Windows and OS 10.6
The Desktop, Dock and Finder
Email using Mail
Browsing the Internet with Safari
Word Processing using Open Office
Using iTunes for music
Using iPhoto for photos
Connecting to networks and the Internet
Backing up your computer using Time Machine
Some free software to expand your Mac’s capabilities

So, on to the first article. Identifying the similarities between Windows and Snow Leopard is a great way to get your bearings, and quell any fears about the size of the task ahead. The first place to Start on a Windows PC is the Start menu, and on a Mac it’s really very similar. On a Windows PC you find the Start button in the bottom left hand corner of the Toolbar that remains visible by default on the bottom of your screen. On a Mac you click on the Finder icon on the left hand side of your Dock, which is also by default visible on the bottom left hand side of the screen.

Clicking the Finder icon brings up a window that looks very much like the Windows Explorer window that would open if you selected My Documents from the Start menu on your PC. The window has a number of familiar, similar features that enable you to navigate through your computer. In the left hand column of the window you will see three headings: Devices, Places, and Search For. Under Devices you can see your computer’s hard disk, by default called Macintosh HD, an iDisk, and any others drives that may be connected to your computer such as a USB pen drive or external hard drive.

Under the Places tab you will again see many familiar features, including: Documents, Music, Movies, Pictures, Downloads, and Desktop. These names are self-explanatory, but for clarity you can relate them to the corresponding Windows folders: My Documents, My Music, My Videos, My Pictures, Downloads and Desktop.

To navigate through your computer you simply click the relevant name to see the files contained within that folder displayed on the right hand side. At this point you should experiment with the different view options that you select by clicking on the icons along the top of the window. There are four view options: Icons, List, Columns and Cover Flow. Icon and list view display the files within the folder on the right hand window. The Column view enables you to click on an individual file and see a preview of that file with information on what type of file it is, when it was created, what size it is, and even shows a quick preview of the file contents. Finally Cover Flow combines the list view with a preview panel and lets you click the left and right arrow keys to navigate through the files viewing the preview for each.

As with your Windows PC you save your documents, music, video and photos in the corresponding folders. In later articles we will explore the programs, or applications as they are known on a Mac, that you can use with each file type. The Applications folder in the Finder window is where all programs are saved on your computer, and you can open any program installed on your computer by clicking Applications and then double-clicking the relevant program, such as Mail if you wanted to send or receive emails.

There is another way to open Applications that is quicker and more user-friendly, this is called the Dock. The Dock is like the Windows Start menu and is by default located at the bottom of the screen. You have already found the Finder icon, and you can now scroll your cursor across the other icons on the Dock to see the name of each Application. Simply click on any of these icons to open the program. By clicking on the apple icon on the top left hand corner of the screen you can modify the way in which the dock is displayed.

Click the apple icon and hover over the Dock option. A pop-up menu appears and you can choose to Turn Hiding On, Turn Magnification On, change the position of the Dock, and go to the Dock preferences within System Preferences. System Preferences is the Control Panel of a Mac computer, and all settings in your Mac can be found and controlled there. Let’s deal with the Dock settings first before looking at System Preferences. Hiding the dock means that it will disappear giving you a full screen to work on and will reappear when you move your cursor off the edge of the screen that the Dock is positioned on. In the default example with the Dock at the bottom of the screen you simply scroll down to the bottom of the screen and the Dock appears.

Changing the magnification alters the size of the icons as you scroll across the Dock. Within the Dock settings in System Preferences you can also change the total size of the Dock. If you have many applications on the Dock it can be easier to decrease the Dock size but increase the magnification. You can add applications to the Dock by dragging the corresponding icon from the Applications folder in the Finder window down to the Dock. Simply click on the icon and hold down the button, drag the icon to the Dock, and release the mouse button. All applications that are currently running will also appear in the Dock if they are not there normally. Applications that are open or running have white dot beneath their icon. To remove an application from the Dock simply click and hold the cursor on the icon and drag it across to the trash can on the right hand side of the Dock.

Well done, you’ve navigated around your Mac for the first time and found your Documents, Music, Videos, Pictures and Applications folders. You also know how to open and close applications, and how to add or remove applications from the Dock. In the next article we will go deeper on navigating through your Mac, opening and closing programs, and using keyboard shortcuts.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Mac Computer

As computer viruses, spyware and malware continue to take their toll on PC users and Apple continues to release fun and popular consumer devices that garner lots of media attention, many computer users contemplate buying a Mac. As owner of a computer repair service center that services both PC’s and Mac’s this author is in a unique position to explain the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Mac vs. a PC.

Pros:

  1. Macintosh computers are less susceptible to viruses and malware. This alone is the single biggest advantage to owning a Mac and the very reason why many computer users choose to buy a Mac. When you own a Mac computer you can count on not getting infected with something contagious and having to pay a computer repair service center to either clean up or reload your Windows computer.
  2. Coolness factor. Let’s face it, Mac’s are just cool– They are styled much better than a PC and they simply look great. Many have back-lit keyboards, an Apple logo that lights up and other cool features that you will not find on a PC.
  3. OS X Operating System. The Mac’s operating system is based on Unix, which is superior to Windows as far as security, features and operational ability are concerned. Many of the most powerful computers in the world are run on Unix based systems.

Cons:

  1. Apple has a monopoly on Mac hardware. Aside from the purchase price on the Mac being much higher than the PC, this also means that you’re going to pay big money for parts if you ever need a hardware repair. For example while a power supply for a PC generally costs around $50 many Mac power supplies cost upwards of $400.
  2. Less availability of software. While this area is getting better most software is still designed for the PC first and then Mac compatibility is added as an afterthought. This means that some of the software that you may want to run won’t be available in a version that will run on the Mac.
  3. Mac skills are less transferable into the workplace than PC skills. Unless you work in the graphic design industry, becoming an expert on the Mac probably isn’t going to help you much at work or school. Virtually any business is going to be primarily run on PC’s and PC skills will continue to be more valuable to you in most jobs than Mac skills will be.

In closing, while both the PC and the Mac are good computers they are perhaps not equally so for all purposes. While many Mac users are very passionate about the superiority of their machines there are also many areas in which the Mac falls short. At the same time there are some areas where a Mac is superior to its PC counterpart and if your computers primary purpose happens to be one of those areas where a Mac excels then a Mac may be the right choice.

Mac Computers Have Captured The Market

Consumers that are looking for a new computer always have the debate; should I go with a Mac or a PC? Well, it seems like more and more people every year are leaning towards the Mac.

This doesn’t surprise me as I have many reasons why they’re making this decision and I’ll share them with you in this article. If you’re in the process of choosing, you’ll probably understand why it’s worth spending a bit extra on a Mac after reading this.

Apple has set trends with their creative looking ibooks. They now come in all sorts of colors and even in white/black have a sophisticated look. Computers used to be ugly, until Mac set the tone. It’s not just in the Mac computers, but in all their products!

Many people will say that advertising doesn’t work like it used too. Well, it sure does for Mac. There are several campaigns that Apple has produced for their Macbook computers. There’s the Mac vs. PC and Big Brother commercial that everyone knows. All their ads stand out and really make a lasting impression. I can’t remember any PC commercials!

Now that Macs can support Windows, it’s an entire new ball game. Originally Macs couldn’t do this, but after they changed to Intel processor it was smooth sailing for Mac as they can now run Windows natively. In fact, Mac can run it faster than any other computer out there!

Have you ever noticed that a Mac can run for weeks without rebooting? Mac OS X is extremely impressive in this sense. There’s no chance a PC can survive weeks without a necessary reboot.

When people say there aren’t virus headaches with Mac OS X, it’s pretty close to true. From experience, I’ve never seen a virus on Mac OS X, but of course something could go wrong. I can’t tell you how many viruses’ I’ve dealt with on a PC!

And last but not least, customer support! Apple has opened up stores all over, for their users to simply pop over to their genius bar! The NY Times voted Apple as the #1 customer service for computers!

Photo Editing for Mac Computers Explained

There has been more than one heated discussion regarding the benefits of owning a Mac computer over a PC that runs on Windows, and there are many good and bad points to both. However, if you are a professional photographer, or even an amateur that takes their photography seriously, then you may well have chosen a Mac over its rivals, due to its better picture and color quality.

Photo Editing Software

If however, you use a smart phone to take pictures and you want to upload them to your Mac computer, then you will be requiring a good photo editing program to help you to get top quality images.

Image Filters

If you enjoy adding special effects to your photos, then you need to use filters. These are great at helping you to adjust the color or tint of your photos, as well as helping to sharpen images which appear soft. Filters can be used to turn a color photo into a black and white one, as well as adding effects such as sepia tints for that vintage look. Filters can also help to sharpen an image, reduce graininess, lower pixilation as well as changing the texture of the photo.

Ease of Use

Before deciding on which photo editing program you are going to buy, it is important that you choose one that is as easy to use as possible. This will help you to avoid wasting your valuable time on getting to know all of the features and modes that the program contains. Editing photos should be fun, but it should also be easy, and photo editing software that has a user friendly interface, will help you achieve great photos in minutes. Most photo editing software packages that you download from the internet, will allow you to try some of the basic features before you need to pay for the full package, so try a few different ones before making your final choice.

Frames and Presets

A lot of photo editing programs will allow you to add frames and other features to your photos once you have uploaded them. From simple, plain borders, to customized frames, there is going to be something for everyone.

Instead of having to edit every photo individually, some Mac photo editors will allow you to save your settings as a preset, so that you can apply the same edits to similar photographs that you wish to group together. This will save you an inordinate amount of time, if you have a lot of photographs that you want to add the same effects to, such as wedding or anniversary photos.

How to Delete Spyware From Your Mac Computer

from your computer. While most of the Mac operating system updates should address this issue, you should still know how to use other methods. This is especially important to consider if you are trying to manage custom designed spyware applications.

Deleting Spyware from Hard Drives and Removable Drives

If you are dealing with a conventional threat that has been addressed by Mac, the upgrade procedure may delete spyware for you. On the other hand, if you used independent probes to detect spyware, you may want to call Mac technical support before deleting the program. You will want to know which indexing files might have become corrupted, and how to repair them. It will be to your benefit to take notes, so that you can you can use them later on.

Deleting Spyware from Memory

One of the hallmarks of modern spyware applications is their ability to hide in resident memory, and then recopy themselves to the hard drive as needed. Therefore, even if you erase spyware from your hard drive, you will also need to make sure it is gone from the RAM. In most cases, when you call Mac technical support, you should also ask for instructions on how to manage this issue.

At the current time, you may not need to know how to delete malicious software from your computer. In most cases, the upgrades you receive for your Mac operating system should manage each aspect of conventional detection and removal. That said, as Mac computers are increasingly targeted by spyware programmers, it will be to your advantage to know how to delete spyware manually.

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