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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #4, 1/29/01
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================


NOTE from the EDITOR:
What's the deal, you ask? Is this a weekly? A monthly? What? I respond, NO!!
or YES!! Read the masthead! "UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL".
This issue marks our first attachment, a sample clipping for the
introduction of a new Occasional column, "OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED". If you have suggestions for this column, send them to me with "UNPREDICTABLE
SUGGESTION" in the Subject field. :-)


Geek Speak Alert: screenshot, Desktop, Finder, double-click, Apple Menu,
Quickdraw3D, BTW, PDF, GUI


** OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED ***
-- Terrible tales of misunderstood and unknown features. --
CLIPPING FILES
EVERY Mac user should know about clipping files. This is a majorly cool
feature that makes the Macintosh special. (And it is special folks, believe
me.) A clipping file, heck! Let's just call it a "clipping", okay? A clipping is a file that can be opened by the Macintosh Finder without the assistance of any other application. No Word, no browser, no Adobe Acrobat, no AppleWorks, no MacLink Plus. It can contain all sorts of information. The clipping is related to the OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED Scrapbook desk accessory and the OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED GUI feature called "drag'n'drop". I'll describe it in words, but you're only going to appreciate this O&U feature once you've tried it a few times. So try it. Start with the..

SCRAPBOOK
Under the Apple menu. (Unless you've moved it around.) Open it. Even if
you've never used the Scrapbook, it should have some stuff in it.
________
Sidebar: Know the Differences
Bonus Question. All GUIs have a "Scrapbook", right? WRONG. For us, this was
just one of the winning features of the cute little 128k Mac in 1984, along
with MacPaint and MacWrite, and later MacDraw. (It was a MacWonderful world
back then.) Wanna have some fun? If you know a long-time MacHead, just ask,
"Do you remember the first time you discovered the Scrapbook?" This has an
effect similar to putting a lizard on its back and stroking its belly. Watch
the MacHead's eyes glaze over and the corners of his mouth turn up in a
smile of fond recollection. Back then, DOS and Mainframe users complained
that GUIs were for WIMPS and the Mac was obviously a TOY. Well, what are
they using now, my friends??? It may be a Mac, it may not be a Mac, but to
quote Steve Wozniac, "Every computer in the world is basically a Macintosh
now." For whatever reason, Windows 2000 STILL doesn't have anything that
resembles the Scrapbook... Maybe in Windows 3000?
_________

We were checking out the Scrapbook...Scroll through it. It can be a good
place to store all kinds of stuff: pictures, sounds, text, QuickDraw 3D,
whatever. How do you get stuff in? How do you get stuff out? In the Paleomac
Age, the only way was Copy and Paste. Since System 7 something-or-other
we've also been able to use..... ta-da ..

DRAG'N'DROP
With the SCRAPBOOK open, click in the middle of the item that is showing,
and while continuing to hold the mouse button down, slide the pointer off
the Scrapbook and onto the Macintosh Desktop. (If you don't know what the
Desktop is, you need to learn. I shouldn't have to list a "Geek Speak Alert"
for "Desktop". This is basic Mac-Knowledge. It's the background where your
hard drive and the Trashcan sits.) Once the pointer is on the Desktop
background, let the mouse button up.

This makes TOO much sense to believe, but an icon appears on your Desktop
that looks sort of like a page torn out of the Scrapbook! By default the
Scrapbook item is COPIED. If you picked a sound, it's labeled "sound
clipping" and has a speaker icon, if you picked a picture, it's labeled
"picture clipping" and has a "draw" icon, and so on. (See the "Sample
picture clipping" attachment if you haven't already.) Cool, but what are you
gonna do with this?

Double click the sound clipping. It plays. Double click the picture
clipping, it opens. And get this. It doesn't open in a big enough window?
You don't like where it opens on your Desktop? Adjust it, close it, and open
it again. It remembers! Not just on your Mac but on any Mac! Are you
beginning to see the possibilities here?

Let's suppose you're trying to help your friend attach her camera to the USB
bus on her iMac. You've created a diagram and some instructions in
AppleWorks, and you're going to send her the whole Appleworks document in
email, when you remember, she doesn't have AppleWorks!! So now what? You
could create a PDF...but why bother? Just select everything on the
AppleWorks page and DRAG'N'DROP it onto your Desktop. It creates a clipping.
Rename it. Open it, adjust the window the way you'd like her to see it.
Close the window, and email it to her. CAN WE SAY, "EASY?" I'm telling you,
when she gets the message all she has to do is double-click it and it pops
open! No loading another application, no having to pick which app to use!
[For all I know, *your* email application may just show the clipping right
on the page with the message. In Emailer you have to open the attachment.
Emailer and I are married till death (or OS/X) do us part. - Chris]

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
DRAG'N'DROP isn't supported by all applications, but when it is, it's
AWESOME. You might have used it WITHIN an application like Word to move
paragraphs around, but you can use it to move stuff between all kinds of
applications. You don't even have to mess around with the Desktop or the
SCRAPBOOK. Want to copy some text from an email into your word processor?
Adjust the windows so you can get to both programs, and drag from one and
drop into the other. If you haven't used this, you'll be surprised at all
the places it works. In fact, once you start using it, you'll probably get
annoyed at the apps that don't use it!

But back to clippings for a sec. Suppose you want to send someone a
screenshot. (Uh oh, is that another OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED feature? You
don't know how to make a screenshot? What am I? David Pogue? This is an
UNPREDICTABLE article, not an UNPREDICTABLE book!!) Anyway, wouldn't it be
cool to have a picture clipping of your Internet Settings dialog to send
someone if you needed help? You can do the screenshot, but how do you make
the darn thing into a clipping? Just use an intermediary application! By
default, double-clicking a screenshot opens it in SimpleText (an O&U
application BTW). Do a Select All, and drag the image to the Desktop. Now
you have a clipping of your screenshot! Want to spruce it up? Add arrows and
text? Just drag the clipping into an AppleWorks document, make your changes
and additions, and when you're done, select it all, and drag'n'drop your way
back to the Desktop.

One important thing to keep in mind. This is not the same as a PDF, or a web
page, or some other file format. It ONLY works on Macs. You can send
clippings to Windows users but they won't work on Windows machines. And hey,
SO WHAT? WE DON'T CARE!!!! BECAUSE WE HAVE MACS!! Ha! Ha! Ha!

______________________________________________________________________
** Chris's Unpredictable and Occasional Newsletter for Mac Users **
Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western
Central New Jersey. Published whenever I get around to it - about
whatever pops into my head!

If you have friends or associates who would like to receive this
newsletter, have them send me an email with "Start Unpredictable" in
the Subject line. If you'd prefer NOT to receive this newsletter,
send me an email with the message "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject
line (no hard feelings, honest!)
______________________________________________________________________


 

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All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)