Help an OSX noob 'learn the ropes' (potential OSX sticky ideas)

Man of Honour
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Just picked up a new Dual Core Mac Mini, but it's still in it's box begging to be unleashed. :eek:

While I'm no Linux novice (had a Gentoo box running for 2½ years almost 24/7/365 and never had a single brown trouser moment), my most recent Mac experience was a Macintosh LC (circa 1992), so I'm just a bit behind the times. :eek: :D

So, what tips, tricks, free software, etc. do you know? Anything goes so long as it's legal and within the forum rules. No matter how obvious you may think it is, it may not be obvious to me. :)

PS - if there is enough quality content, I can probably be coaxed into making this into a sticky. :)
 
Associate
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this could be very useful for me too, im thinking of picking up a new macbook pro :) last time i used a mac was about the same time too crazy
 
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Ummm, let's see. I find window-ordering keyboard shortcuts to be very useful. Press F9 to tile all the open windows across the screen. Press F10 to tile all the open windows from the current program across the screen. Press F11 to hide all windows beyond the outer edges of the screen. F12 does something but I'm knackered to remember what it is at this moment. I think it pulls up the dashboard which contains a calendar, clock and calculator.

It's really just a matter of exploring the operating system. You'll find it chock full of thoughtful details.
 
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Installing apps:
Most apps will come inside a .dmg file. Download this and double-click on it- It will mount as a new drive on the desktop. Open this drive, and drag the file inside it into the applications folder, UNLESS it is a .pkg file, in which case it needs to be double-clicked on.

Unmounting Drives:
The drive will be present as an icon on the desktop. Drag it to the trash to unmount it and allow it to eject.

Another OSX n00b here :p - The two things that confused me the most. (Linux addict though, so as a *NIX based system its feels much better than Windows.

-Leezer-
 
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For an IM client, I'm fond of Adium. It is F/OSS based on the Gaim codebase and used OS X native GUI bits.

Safari is probably the fastest web browser but if you prefer Firefox (as I do) 1.5.0.2 is now a universal binary. On PPC based macs I reccomend that people use the optimized versions for that particular processor but as of yet I do not know of an Intel optimized build. You could always compile your own... ;)

To take screenshots, use Grab.app found in Applications -> Utilities -> Grab.app. It lets you take timed screenshots, shots of just a window, shots of the whole screen and shots of a selected area where you define the boundary. These export into .tiff files. Use Preview.app to convert them to .jpg or .png. This is how I took the screenshots for the Folding@Home guide sticky.

Don 'Zerker, for what do you plan to use this machine? Is it to be a development machine or is it just a general use PC?
 
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It'll be just for having a bit of fun with probably. I have Linux and Windows machines for development and that won't change. Depending on how good the software is, the SuperDrive may see some considerable use. Same goes for Bluetooth. :)
 
Associate
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A few useful keyboard shortcuts:

Note: OSX uses the Apple (Command) key to do most of its shortcuts (where as windows tends to use Ctrl).

Apple Q - Quit application
Apple W - Close Window
Apple E - Eject (CD's etc) or Unmount (images)
Apple C - Copy
Apple V - Paste
Apple X - Cut
Apple Z - Undo
Apple Space - Spotlight
Apple Shift A - Opens Applications in the Finder
Apple N - New Finder window (when in Finder of course) or New something depending on App
Apple I - Show file information
Apple Backspace - Delete file to trashcan
Apple T - New Tab in Safari

All the Expose shortcuts have been mentioned (F9, F10 and F11)
Dashboard is F12 as mentioned

Most of the above might be obvious but they are the ones I use the most.

Apps:

For media I would get VLC player and Flip-4-mac.

IM's you could get MSN Messenger for Mac or go for something like Adium or Mercury Messenger. Oh and of course there is Skype. But iChat is already on your Mac.

Free 3D software such as Blender is good to mess around on.

Networking:

If you have any problems with this first stop would be a search in Help found in the Finder menu bar.

The System Preferences (found in the dock) is a breeze to use if you cant find what you want in there type it in the search bar (top right) and the options will be highlighted.

Dashboard is always fun for new OSX users, get onto the Apple website to download as many as you want some of them are really useful or just plain fun.

The iLife apps are really good, iPhoto is the one I use the most by far, all my digital photo's are in there its so easy to use.

I think I am done, anything else you need?
 
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Well I'm sure you can figure out some of this stuff moments after you switch it on but I'll talk a bit about it. As leezer3 said, applications are installed by simplky dragging their .app file into your applications folder (or wherever it is that you want it to be). When you run the program it will store its program files in the Library. So to install Firefox you open its .dmg to mount the ramdisk, then you drag firefox.app into Applications. When you run it, it will copy all it's chrome packages, profile info, extensions, and whatnot into a directory it will make in the Library. 99% of users never find a reason to go poking about in the library.

The disk unility can be found in Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility.app. With this you can create and burn disk images, format disks, create mirrored or striped RAID arrays, enable or disable journaling, and erase disks using a variety of methods (similar to DBAN).

The most striking difference between OS X and Windows, to me at least, is the number of useful and well concieved features that come with the OS. To burn a DVD in Windows one must use a 3rd party application. To do this in OS X the ability is already included. To view a .pdf in windows you'll need to download a 3rd party app. To do it in OS X just fire up Preview.app.
 
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Man of Honour
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Founder_film said:
I think I am done, anything else you need?
I'll be using Windows keyboard/mouse, but I get the Apple/Command = Windows key thing, though I expect it'll take some getting used to. :eek: :)

Not sure when it'll get plugged in. Probably Friday as my setup has a maximum capacity of four PCs and they're all in use.

Anyway, keep the suggestions coming. The OSX sticky awaits. :)
 
Soldato
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Not sure how many other do this but I like to have my applications fairly close to hand, if you browse in Finder to where the Applications folder is you can drag it to the right hand side (assuming your dock is on the bottom of the screen, i have mine down the left side) of the dock next to the trashcan.
Effectively creates a link on the dock that if you right click/command-click lists the contents quite like start->programs on windows.
 
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when i've left uni and have money i'll be thinking about a Mac. i've used them a fair bit but that only invloved clicking on the Logic Pro icon on the bottom toolbar and getting on with work. i have never installed an application or anything :eek:.

so this will be useful, esp if it make it as a sticky!

thanks for the tips so far..
 
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Another little-known tidbit involved the way OS X treats files on the desktop. Having too much clutter on the desktop tends to slow the system down. The OS treats each file and icon as if it were a full-on finder window. The contents remain in pre-cache so they open more quickly. If you overload your desktop with too much junk you might find that the system is running out of physical RAM and is having to resort to swap. A lot of swapping means beachballing (ridin' spinnaz) for sure.

Credit for this tip goes to the Macworld magazine I read in the dentist's office a month ago...
 
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Soldato
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My favourite way of launching applications is with Quicksilver - http://quicksilver.blacktree.com/

Once installed you press ctrl+space (or whatever you'd prefer) and then begin typing the name of the app. Often you'll only need the first two letters to find what you want. It's a heck of a lot faster than going through the apps folder in finder.
 

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Deleted member 651465

Apple + Shift + 3 (Total Screendump)

Apple + Shift 4 (Crosshair section screendump)

...same as above + Spacebar when the crosshair appears (Individual Window screendump)





You should find them handy ;)
 

Deleted member 651465

D

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punky_munky said:
My favourite way of launching applications is with Quicksilver - http://quicksilver.blacktree.com/

Once installed you press ctrl+space (or whatever you'd prefer) and then begin typing the name of the app. Often you'll only need the first two letters to find what you want. It's a heck of a lot faster than going through the apps folder in finder.
Doesn't spotlight do that + it's build in to the OS :confused:
 
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Don't waste money on Office for Mac, just use the OS X port of OpenOffice called Neo/Office J. Onyx is also a good free download to help you with all those little Mac maintenance scripts.

Firefox/Camino and Opera work great on a Mac and it is also worth getting the MPlayer port to handle WMV etc., there is a Media Player 9 for OS X but if you're like me then I wouldn't contaminate my Mac with M$ software.

EDIT: As well as using the Expose' hotkeys you can also set up the corners of the screen to do the same, just move the mouse there and magic happens. :o
 
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AJUK said:
Don't waste money on Office for Mac, just use the OS X port of OpenOffice called Neo/Office J. Onyx is also a good free download to help you with all those little Mac maintenance scripts.

Firefox/Camino and Opera work great on a Mac and it is also worth getting the MPlayer port to handle WMV etc., there is a Media Player 9 for OS X but if you're like me then I wouldn't contaminate my Mac with M$ software.

EDIT: As well as using the Expose' hotkeys you can also set up the corners of the screen to do the same, just move the mouse there and magic happens. :o

ATM, NeoOffice is only a PPC binary though, and won't work on the new Intel macs. The MacOSX X11 version will work on the intel machines, but isn't as well integrated with the rest of the OS currently.

-Leezer-
 
Soldato
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If you like Firefox, you must check out Camino for your Mac browser - "Mozilla power, Mac style." :)

http://www.caminobrowser.org/

When using a mouse, there is usually no way to disable mouse acceleation in OS X. If the mouse movement feels bad because you prefer linear mouse movment, use this:

http://www.knockknock.org.uk/mac/

When navigating folders in the "Finder", enter/return on the keyboard does not open the selected file/folder, use Apple-O. Use Apple-UpArrow to go up a directory.
 
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