Friday, December 29, 2006

Mac 101: Apple documents OS X for everyone

Recently I did quite a bit of work to configure a Mac Mini for my mother. I don't know yet how it will turn out, but I've got quite a bit to post about the experience (including a mini-intro manual and configuration directions).

I ended up thinking OS X 10.4, though at least as usable as XP, is not as easy to configure for a novice as Windows 95 was, much less pre-Switcher Mac Classic or MacOS 9 Simple Finder. More about this later, but suffice to say computers today are built for experts. I also was struck by how pathetic the out-of-box OS X documentation is. Have you ever looked at the 'Tiger' PDF? Very weak.

So it's noteworthy that Apple is expanding their Mac 101 site. Their slowly building the documentation, even if it's not on the machines they sell. The discussion of Expose had a few things I didn't know (in bold). Time to force some old tricks on an old dog (me)...
Mac 101: Expos�

# When you want to drag something from a Finder window into a folder on your Desktop but can't see that folder, start dragging the item, press F11 to hide all windows, and drop the item in the folder.
# If you need to drag a file from one window to another, start dragging the item, press F9 to see all windows, drag the item over the target window until the window becomes active, or press F9 again, and drop in your item
# When you need to access something on your Desktop, press F11 to hide all windows for an unobstructed view.
# If you need to copy elements between two windows in the same application, start dragging the item you wish to copy, press F10 to display all open windows for that application, drag the item over the target window until it becomes active or press F10 again, and drop it.
I read some of the others. Did you know you can drag a photo into the edit box for the login picture and make that the login picture?! Apple desperately needs better help/documentation integration.

It's good stuff, but it's still way too esoteric for novice users.

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