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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #7, 2/19/01
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac training, ugs, and shameless self-promotion (PART 2)
-----------------------------------------------
This issue continues our theme of HELP for Mac Users. Some people think
Mac Users REALLY need help, but THOSE people are the UNINITIATED. We
introduce you to the Mac Help Center and to a good WEB resource
starting point, MacCentral. We're not going to even get close to ugs
this issue. But soon, soon, in PART 3. ALSO this issue, we will
UNPREDICTABLY conform to the wishes of the Bush Administration Sequel
and LEAVE MICROSOFT ALONE.



GEEK SPEAK ALERT: in, ug, iTunes, Virtual PC, Connectix, early adopters



*** ONLINE HELP - OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED
Terrible tales of misunderstood and unknown features.
-----------------------------------------------------
This really shouldn't be an O&U article at all, but then, should any of
them? I am ASTOUNDED at how few people EVER USE ONLINE HELP!! IT'S FREE
FOR HEAVENS'S SAKE!! IT'S ALREADY ON YOUR COMPUTER!!

The Mac's online help consists of several systems and it pays to get to
know them. So, in an effort to be UNPREDICTABLY HELPFUL, let's take a
look.

Balloon Help:
Might as well start with the dumbest first. This was a good idea, but
really isn't all that great. Check it out. Go to the HELP Menu, and
select "Show Balloons". Now move your cursor slowly all over your screen.
Little cartoon "balloons" appear, presumably providing useful information
about the item at which the cursor is pointing. The rule is, UNLESS THIS
IS SOMETHING YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW. How the Mac knows when NOT to have a Help Balloon when you REALLY need it, I can't figure. It's gotta be
some kind of artificial-anti-intelligence.

You'll get tired of Help Balloons real fast. Go to the HELP Menu, and
select "Hide Balloons". Sometimes applications use balloons and they can
be handy. But not often. Just remember they're there if you wanna give
'em a shot. NOW to the REAL Help System.

Help Center:
With the Finder active, select "Help Center" from the Help
Menu. Apple has included a "mini web browser" in the System that is
used as the engine for the Help System. If you know how to use a web
browser (and WE ALL KNOW HOW TO USE BROWSERS, RIGHT?) then you pretty
much know how to use the Help Center. You'll see the "Home Page" of the
Help System. It even has a little "Home" button, in case you get lost. You
might notice "Mac Tutorials" and "Mac Help" on the list.
These two items are also available directly from the Help Menu when you
are in the Finder. ["In" the Finder, is Mac Geek Speak for having "the
Finder as the Active Application" which we covered in the GSR in
UNPREDICTABLE #5]. There are some other items listed there. In fact,
in a move typical of Apple's vision of providing system level services,
OTHER applications can post their Help Files on this page, giving you a
central location to seek Help! If you install iTunes, you'll find it
listed here! On my Mac, the only non-Apple app that appears is 'Virtual
PC'. (God Bless Connectix!)


You've really got to check this out IN PERSON. Just pick a topic and
drill down. Enjoy it, browse, you can always use the "back" arrow. The
Help is well-written, to the point, and is often enhanced with images,
and WHAT'S MOST AWESOME, tutorials, where the Mac does just about
everything for you! Try this: open the Help Center, click on Mac
Tutorials, then Mac Basics. You'll find: 'Creating and Saving a
Document', 'Working with Windows', 'About Icons and the Desktop', and 'Organizing
Files', and more. Explore. There are all kinds of interesting topics here: some
very basic, some very advanced. Sometimes the Help Browser will go right
to the Internet to look for current information. It might even actually
UPDATE the information in your "Help Center". Sometimes you'll get to
watch a little movie or animation. Sometimes you'll find a page that has
buttons that will do stuff for you, like open a Control Panel and help
you configure settings. Enjoy the Mac Online Help. IT'S THERE TO SERVE YOU!



OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
----------------------------
There are TONS of great Mac-Related sites on the web.

Dirty Little Secret:
The FAITHFUL know, and the UNINITIATED don't understand. Mac Users find
most of their Mac Support on the WEB. The TRUTH IS OUT THERE.

Today we focus on a site related to NEWS and INFORMATION about the Mac
OS. Visit ths site and find plenty of links and advertisements that will
lead to other Mac sites and resources. Explore! Bookmark!

MacCentral:
I liked MacCentral better a few years ago before it was assimilated by
the Ziff-Davis Borg. It's still pretty good, but now and then the ZD
DOOM-sells-advertisements mentality comes through. In the Time of
Darkness, Ziff's MacWeek, known to the FAITHFUL as "MacWhine", featured
weekly articles of DOOM, columnists of DOOM, and letters from whimpering
sheep of DOOM. Eventually ZD proclaimed that since the Mac was DOOMed,
they were going to turn MacWeek into a multi-platform weekly, focused
exclusively on the publishing industry, since that was OBVIOUSLY the ONLY
market that the Mac could POSSIBLY retain. Meanwhile smart zippy little
websites like MacCentral picked up the slack, and Mac users, web early
adopters and tired of DOOM, decided they didn't need to kill all those
trees anyway. What happened to this new weekly magazine? Ha! Ha! Ha!

MacCentral has some wonderful columnists. My favorites are Bob Levitus,
who answers your questions in his own irreverent way, and Deb Shadovitz,
who has written a TON of columns mostly consisting of little tutorials on
Mac features or software. Read SEVERAL of her columns about CLIPPINGS,
one of my favorite Overlooked & Underused features (see UNPREDICTABLE #4).

<http://www.maccentral.com/>
<http://www.maccentral.com/columns/levitus.shtml>
<http://www.maccentral.com/columns/shadovitz.shtml>



Hey. Let's stop here and save a few electrons for our friends out in
California. They might have to shut down their hot tubs, isolation tanks,
and personal dolphin pools for a few hours each night, but we want to
help so they can KEEP THEIR MACS RUNNING!!

Later.

______________________________________________________________________
** 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 - About whatever!
Sample Issue, email with "Sample Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Subscribe, email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
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______________________________________________________________________


 

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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 :-)