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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #6, 2/12/01
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
=============================================== =======


EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac training, ugs, and shameless self-promotion (PART 1)
-----------------------------------------------
Did you hire someone to help you get started with your Mac? Most
consultants (including me) are happy to get someone started. Usually
that means hooked up to the printer, connected to the Internet, and
maybe some basic training. Depending on the number of questions you
have, this can usually be done in a single one or two hour session. But
once you do that, what's next? Do you WANT to pay a HEALTHY hourly rate
to keep moving on this basic track? If you WANT to do that, then it's
time to send me an email, or give me a call to arrange our next
session. :-) If you'd rather spend LESS money, or money on more
advanced stuff, I'm with you! So what are some training alternatives?
Maybe even FREE ones?? UNPREDICTABLY that's what this issue is all
about!
[Because the information on classes is TIMELY for some of my subscribers,
and to reduce the size of this issue, I cut out a WHOLE article on
Apple's Online Help. We'll get back to that at some point in PART 2.
Instead I leave just the "Know the Difference" teaser below. - Chris]

GEEK SPEAK ALERT: Frodo, Dark Rider, Control Panel, Wizard, Guide, BTW,
Interactive



OS 9.1 Update Update
--------------------
I still haven't gone to 9.1, and the more I read about it, the more I'm
inclined to sit pretty with 9.0.4. If you're curious, the MacInTouch
web site is a GREAT resource for information about hardware and software
updates.

<http://www.macintouch.com/>




-------- Sidebar --
Know The Difference
-------------------
Starting out as "Apple GUIDE,"interactive Help was first on the Mac.
(Debatable, but I'll stand by this.) But Microsoft wins the marketing
award for naming their imitation of Apple Guide: "WIZARDS". Would you
rather have a "guide" or a "wizard"?

Most "Wizards" just walk you through a series of dialogs. They ASSUME
you already know how to do stuff. They TELL you to do it. And you HAVE
TO DO IT. This is subtle, but Apple's Help seems more FRIENDLY or at
least, subservient. In both systems, if you're finding out about a
Control Panel,the Help system gives you some information, and tells you
how to change a setting, often providing links to more information,
maybe even a button that will activate the Control Panel. In Windows
the text says: "To start blah, blah, Click here." On the Mac, the text
says, "Open the blah, blah for me." Subtle, but more personal, right?

To be fair, like the Dark Riders tracking Frodo, Windows is hot on the
heels of Apple's Help System. Last I checked, they got this far. They
provide a button that opens a Control Panel. But they don't go any
farther.

On the Mac, the Blah,Blah Control Panel opens, and on it is a Help
button (the little '?'). This button might pop you back to the Help
Center. (Which is pretty much what the Windows Help menu does from the
Control Panel.) But what it also might do is walk you through using the
Control Panel, step by step, painting a red circle on the screen where
you need to pull down a menu or type something, or otherwise make a
decision. Sometimes these steps will branch off into other related
Control Panels. This sounds simple, but the first time the Mac walks
you through some complicated setup like this, YOU WILL BE AMAZED!

And That's The Difference.





** FINDING HELP AND TRAINING **
-------------------------------
Without further ado,


BOOKS:
Bookstores like to hide the Mac books - I mean really,
at 'Borders', there are more books about "Microsoft Publisher" than there
are books in the entire Macintosh section. There are more AUTHORS of
books on MS PUBLISHER, than there are USERS of MS PUBLISHER. The power of
monopoly.

There are Mac books. If you ask, you can usually find Mac books. I have
some suggestions, but for now, you should go to a bookstore and browse.
Be sure to look at the price tag FIRST. Prices on computer books are
ASTOUNDING. If the book is heavily discounted, it's probably out of date.
How do you know? Check the copyright. If the copyright is NEXT YEAR, it's
current. If it's THIS YEAR, it's starting to go out of date. If it's
older than that, only buy it if it's free and you like to work on antique
computers.

CLASSES:
There are some outfits that sell CBT (Computer Based Training) and Video
training, but in this GEEKY world, I believe it's better to get out there
and meet REAL PEOPLE. Some people like the expensive one day training
seminar routine, and that's fine if a BIG DUMB CORPORATION is sending
you. But if you're spending your own money, I recommend checking the
local Community College, Adult/Extension, and Technical schools for Mac
courses. These are usually pretty good, very reasonably priced, and often
are several weeks or a semester long, so they have the advantage of going
at a moderate pace, letting you return with questions after you
experiment with what you have been taught, and also provide some
community with fellow computer users. As long as you don't care about a
grade or credit they'll often let you take the course without enrolling
in a "program". Beware, the prices "outside" of the county or region that
they cover are often higher than listed in the catalog, although
sometimes if your county doesn't offer the same course you can get a
waiver to pay the "resident" rate. Some courses offered here in Beautiful
Western Central New Jersey:

The Institute of Advanced Studies 908-735-9434, (A division of Hunterdon
County Polytech/Adult Ed) is offering a bunch of Mac classes in Clinton
starting in ** March **, including "Macintosh Computer Basics" (One 3
hour class), and "Introduction to Computer Graphics for Mac" (3 hrs per
class for 15 weeks). BTW these courses are offered at North Hunterdon
High School, which apparently still has Macs!! I used to work in the high
schools of this county, and WAY BACK THEN, 'North' was pretty
progressive. I guess it still is. They haven't suffered the 'platform
cleansing' we went through at Hunterdon Central a few years back. AND YOU
KNOW WHAT PLATFORM GOT CLEANSED, DON'T YOU?

<http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us>

Somerset County Technical Institute (908) 526-8900 ext. 7250 Has complete
commercial art, multi-media, and Web Authoring programs, and offers an
"Introduction to Computer Graphics for Mac" course that could serve as an
Intro to the Mac as well. SCTI is oriented towards adults and working
people, with many courses offered in the evening. They are on a semester
program; Spring courses began Jan. 19.

<http://www.scti.org/>

If you're not sure where to check for courses in your area,FORGET THE
WEB. Take a walk to the library! They might even have course catalogs!

We're out of electrons again. There are plenty of other resources out
there and OCCASIONALLY we'll get around to discussing them. Cheers.

______________________________________________________________________
** 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 :-)