The last 2 episodes of the iLifezone Podcast are geared just for switchers. They went out of their way to give us a lot of good tips and tricks. They really tried to put it in the context of a Windows user coming to the Mac. Below is the show notes from the podcasts taken straight from the iLifezone web site. To Subscribe to the Rss feed of the iLifezone please head toei website and use the link. The Podcast is available at Their site as well.
It’s all about switchers. Today we honor the brave souls who shunned the evil Redmonopoly and saw the bright white light of Apple. We applaud you brave souls, and we dedicate this episode to you…
Chris Kim from South Korea likes Pages but wishes it was more customizable and would like to be able to do some of the stuff without a mouse. He wants to know if there’s a way to change the size of the Inspector in Pages. John says no. You could kind of cheat by using the scrollwheel zoom.
Mike Couples asks if there’s a way to make Preview print / preview JPG’s with the correct aspect ratio. In Preview, open Preferences, click on Images, and one of the options is Default Image Size. Try the “Actual Size” radio button; that might solve the problem.
Now on with the show.
Scott points out that we’re seeing more and more switchers and Chris attributes it to the iPod halo effect (people like the iTunes / iPod experience and want that in a PC). Scott points out that the ability to run Windows on a Mac also has something to do with it. Derrick agrees and points out that he shows people XP all the time on his Mac and it changes their mind.
John recommends software called Move 2 Mac. It’s a USB cable and two pieces of software… One for your Mac and one for your PC and basically what it does is transfer your files from a PC to a Mac over USB as well as any applicable settings and put documents where they belong on your new Mac. John points out that even though it’s $50, the time it saves is worth it.
Chris explains that the dock is the equivalent of the Start Button and in the dock are the primary applications your most likely to use. Out of the box, the dock is configured with the most commonly used applications. He also points out that something like pulling photos off of a digital camera is a snap because all you have to do is connect your camera and iPhoto opens up and downloads them. Scott likes dazzling his friends with the Genie effect.
Chris also points out that things like My Documents have equivalents of Documents, My Pictures becomes Pictures, My Movies becomes Movies, etc. In Windows, all the individual user files are stored in Documents and Settings/Username. On the Mac, they’re saved in /Users/username. (Note: In Windows Vista, there’s no more “My” in front of document and media folder names anymore).
Derrick recommends Windows users get a 2-button mouse right away because on the Mac a 2-button mouse works almost identically to the way it does on Windows. Scott points out that you don’t have to be a switcher to enjoy a 2-button mouse and it makes the overall experience better. Derrick points out that if you open an application, you can right click on a running application and click Keep In Dock to keep things in the dock after they’re closed.
John points out the boneheaded move of Apple to make the Mighty Mouse act like a 1-button mouse out of the box. Chris doesn’t like it, neither does Scott, and neither does Derrick. Chris points out that most people already have a 2-button mouse anyway so you’d might as well use it.
Scott points out that you shouldn’t immediately try to shoehorn the Mac OS into what you know about OSes from using Windows (for example: using a right click in a folder to create a new document). . John agrees and points out that you should use a Mac as a Mac and you’ll enjoy it more.
Chris points out that the Command key is the “do everything” key similar to what the CTRL key is on a PC. It’ll take your brain a while to adjust but it’ll happen. John points out that most commands are consistent across applications whereas on Windows, that consistency isn’t necessarily there.
John points out how cool the Option key is for things like finding special keys for copyright, trademark, and reserved symbols as well as international characters.
Scott and Derrick disagree with folks that think the Mac isn’t customizable. Most of it can be set up using System Preferences including various dock options, screensavers, backgrounds, fonts, and so on. Derrick advises people to sift through it all immediately and you will be more familiar with everything. Scott says that doing this will make you more familiar with your Mac than you could ever be doing the same thing with Windows’ Control Panel.
Scott and Chris point out that hooking devices up to the Mac is idiot proof because Apple bundles tons of drivers with the OS. While that may not include everything, it does include a great deal of devices that most people would want to use (printers, scanners, etc.). Scott rarely has ever had to install drivers. Derrick can’t remember the last time he did. Of course, Derrick does have the universal issue of having the USB cable pointing in the wrong direction when he tries to put it in, but that’s an affliction we all suffer from!
John points out that legacy scanners might be a problem. Newer ones pretty much work out of the box, but older ones don’t have current drivers. A tool like VueScan should make that much easier on you. As of right now, it supports 700 different models of scanners!
Chris’ last word: If you still want to run Windows, run Parallels. Avoid Vista because it runs much slower than XP in Parallels. That should cover you.
Derrick’s last word: When you close the last window in an Application, the App still stays open (pay attention to the little triangles under the application icon on the dock!)
John’s last word: Empty the trash. You can click the trash to see what’s in it, and if you see that there’s paper in the trash icon, there’s stuff that should be deleted in there.
Scott’s last word: Give yourself a great big pat on the back for being smart enough to switch to the Mac!
We’ll pick this up again next week, folks. More for the switchers is coming!
This episode was sponsored by Rogue Amoeba and ShieldZone.
The next show lands on April 1, 2007. For more information email us at [email protected]
Thanks also to Vincent Ferrari for the shownotes!
First a listener audio comment…
Dan in Cambridge likes Derrick’s “Show Path in the Menu Bar” tip and Colleen wanted to know how to get that path into a text format. Dan has the answer. If you open a terminal window, you can just drag the window into the terminal and see the full path for the window’s location. Great tip, Dan! Thanks!
Now on with the show! We’d like to think of today’s show as a mini tip monster for the switchers (those who were formerly walking in darkness who have now seen the light!).
Derrick says that for a web browser, Derrick likes Firefox for switchers instead of Safari because it’s identical to the PC version as far as user experience. He also points out that some sites that balk at Safari end up working fine with Firefox. Scott points out that it is free but it isn’t included. John’s primary browser is Safari. Scott likes having multiple browsers and uses Camino.
Chris is a Firefox guy also because he’s had better success with certain sites loading. He also points out that if you’d like to use Safari, you should grab Safari Enhancer. When you get it, it enables a debug menu. You can change the browser it’s emulating and you should be okay. (For a more detailed explanation of what User Agent Strings are, check here).
Scott points out that people who don’t write good RSS code often leave styles out of their feeds. A more standards-compliant browser like Firefox usually fixes that also. Derrick points out that you shouldn’t use IE on the Mac because it hasn’t been updated in ages.
Another favorite of Derrick’s is iChat and points out that it’s lightyears ahead of AIM as far as user interface, and overall experience. It does video, audio, conferencing, and of course it’s free also! Derrick also reminds us to update our iChat pictures from time to time. It’s easy enough; just take a shot with your iSight and drag it onto the window!
John’s favorite free application is TextEdit. TextEdit is great for basic editing, lightweight, and doesn’t crash. It even opens Word .doc files.
Chris’ favorite free app is Garageband and it’s unique to the Mac. You drag in loops, sound effects, and so on, and instantly you’re creating music. As John points out, it’s a major time suck.
Scott uses Microsoft Word on the Mac to open .doc files from Windows users and says that the myth that you can’t use Office on a Mac is silly. Derrick says you have nothing to fear but that you do need to realize that the Mac version of Office is not written by the same people so it’s not 100% identical, but you’ll get used to it. Give yourself some extra time and be patient. You’ll get the hang of it. Scott points out that Office 2004 runs under Rosetta, which makes it run a bit slow. Office 2008 should be available mid 2007, which will run natively on Intel-based Macs.
Derrick also uses Nisus Writer Express when he doesn’t have to worry about exchanging files with Word users which also saves as Word Documents if you really need it. Scott points out that there’s also Pages which is a cross between a word processor and a page layout program. Chris notes that when you do buy Pages, it comes in the iWork suite along with KeyNote. He also points out that there’s nothing like it on Windows as far as style. Scott points out that for most people, iWork will cover the needs of most users along with the free stuff that’s already included.
Derrick notes that the myth of Macs cost more misses the point because you get a lot more out of the box with a Mac than you do with a PC and the learning curve is shorter because once you learn one app, you can probably apply what you know to the others. Scott expands on that by pointing out the Media pane which ties together your movies, music, and photos so that they work across multiple applications. John points out that in an application like Comic Life (which is also included on all new Macs) you can use the Media pane to get your photos from iPhoto into your comic strips.
John also likes that text can be spoken anywhere and in any app and Chris says that it’s only going to get better in Leopard.
Derrick’s one thing he thinks everyone should be aware of as far as the operating system goes is that you have to choose your password carefully and make sure to remember it. Forgetting it makes for huge problems.
Chris points out that once you empty the trash in OSX it’s gone. Period. Buh bye. Open up the trash before you delete and make sure you actually want to get rid of stuff before you empty it.
John points that you can take all the icons out of the left pane in finder, but do not touch the Network icon because it’s a pain to get back in.
Derrick notes that the Finder has a Go menu that organizes pretty much everything you can do inside the Finder. To get back to the Finder, just click on the desktop. If you want a new Window, just press â€šÃ¥Ã²+N to open a new window.
Scott points out that you may be used to using the Control Panel to install applications in Windows. On the Mac, you just put the disc in, and drag it to the Applications Folder. That’s it. Chris points out that you can get rid of them by taking them over to the trash. Derrick points out that you can drag and drop pretty much anything anywhere at any time.
John points out that if you’re really comfortable with the Start Menu, you can drag your Applications Folder to the Dock and when you click it, it’ll open up just like the Start Menu in Windows.
Chris has another drag and drop tip. If you drag a document or file over an Application, it’ll light up if it can handle that file.
Scott points out that often if you can drag something somewhere, you’ll see a green plus sign.
Derrick explains that if you want to drop a folder a few levels down, you can drag the file onto the first level, hover, wait for it to open, drag it to the next level, hover, wait for it to open, and so on. No more click, click, click.
Chris explains how Expose works. If you press F9, little thumbnails of all your open windows appear. You can then click the one you want and they’ll all zoom back to regular size with the one you picked up top.
Derrick explains that you can use â€šÃ¥Ã²+TAB to switch applications and it’s similar, but not exactly the same. You can also click on an icon to change the app when the switcher is up. John points out that if you choose a Window, press F10 (which shows you the active window and darkens the rest) and then press â€šÃ¥Ã²+TAB, you can cycle through open apps right there on your screen.
Scott points out that unlike Windows, you can run dual monitors on just about any Mac on the market (with the exception of the Mac Mini). The Mac is also smart enough to span the monitors so you have one gigantic desktop.
John’s last tip: If you go into Format, there’s a thing in the font menu called Show fonts (or â€šÃ¥Ã²+T). It’s a great dialog with all your fonts so you can see what’s installed on your Mac and even a good way to actually pick a font. You can even search for a font.
Derrick’s last tip: 1. There’s a nifty utility called Grab which does screenshots.
3. Finally, there’s the Services Menu under Grab.
Chris’ last tip: Windows users minimize lots of stuff. In every Mac window, you’ll see three buttons. The Red one closes the window. The green one expands it to as big as possible. The Yellow one puts stuff in the dock. If you click it in the dock, it’ll zoom back up. If you hold down the shift key, it makes the dock transititions slow down and it looks pretty darn cool.
Derrick adds on that the green button is great if you connect your Mac to a projector, the green button will zoom your window appropriately for the screen it’s on.
Scott’s last tip: Get to know the preferences menu of all your applications. It’s always in the same place in the menu. Under the Application’s name, click Preferences and explore.
That’s a wrap for this week!
This episode was sponsored by Rogue Amoeba and ShieldZone.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail newsletter.
The next show lands on April 10, 2007. For more information email us at [email protected]
Thanks to Libsyn for hosting services.
Thanks also to Vincent Ferrari for the shownotes!
Subscribe free of charge to the iLifeZone podcast at the iTunes Store