Sams Teach Yourself The Imac In 24 Hours


This hands-on, step-by-step guide leads readers through the most frequently asked real-world questions about the iMac-whether on setting up the machine, learning the basics of the operating system, using its applications, or getting on the Internet.

The book also instructs the reader on e-mail, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, iPhoto, as well as many other software basics.

This edition of the book has been thoroughly ...

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This hands-on, step-by-step guide leads readers through the most frequently asked real-world questions about the iMac-whether on setting up the machine, learning the basics of the operating system, using its applications, or getting on the Internet.

The book also instructs the reader on e-mail, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, iPhoto, as well as many other software basics.

This edition of the book has been thoroughly rewritten and updated so that it assumes the reader is using a new flat-panel iMac, with Mac OS X installed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780672324208
  • Publisher: Pearson Technology Group 2
  • Publication date: 6/7/2002
  • Series: Sams Teach Yourself Series
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 508
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Gene Steinberg first used a Mac in 1984 and never looked back. He writes both non-fiction and fiction, he's a computer software and systems consultant, and he is the author of the popular "Mac Reality Check" column for the Arizona Republic's Arizona Central Computing page. Steinberg has also written feature articles and product reviews for such magazines as MacHome, MacAddict, MacUser, and Macworld, and he presents strange and unusual computing tips on Craig Crossman's "Computer America" radio show, which reaches 17 million listeners worldwide.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I Opening the Box 5
Hour 1 Setting Up Your iMac 7
Hour 2 Exploring the iMac Desktop 25
Hour 3 What's a System Folder and Why Do I Need Two? 53
Hour 4 Getting on the Net 67
Hour 5 A Look at Your iMac's Software 87
Pt. II Making It All Happen 99
Hour 6 Files, Folders, Windows, and Other Things 101
Hour 7 Making Documents, Editing Documents 119
Pt. III Being Productive on Your iMac 135
Hour 8 Opening, Saving, Finding, Moving, Etc 137
Hour 9 Teach Yourself AppleWorks 153
Hour 10 Managing Your Bucks with Quicken 2002 Deluxe 175
Hour 11 Faxing, Stickies, and Other Software 191
Pt. IV Discovering the Internet 207
Hour 12 The Internet: Learning the Ropes 209
Hour 13 The Wonderful World of Email 225
Pt. V Using the iMac for Multimedia 243
Hour 14 Using iMovie, iDVD, and iPhoto 243
Hour 15 Making Music and Making CDs on Your iMac 267
Pt. VI Learning the Hard Stuff 285
Hour 16 Using System Preferences to Customize Your iMac 287
Hour 17 Now That I Wrote It, How Do I Print It? 307
Hour 18 Coping with the Windows World 325
Hour 19 AppleScript: Putting Your iMac on Automatic Pilot 339
Hour 20 Adding More Goodies to Your iMac 353
Hour 21 Backup, Backup, Backup ... How to Protect Your Files 367
Hour 22 Giving Your iMac New Software, More RAM, and Other Things 383
Pt. VII What If Something Goes Wrong? 397
Hour 23 Crashin' Away: What to Do? 399
Hour 24 An iMac Safety Net 415
App. A Using Your Vintage iMac 433
Index 453
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First Chapter

[Figures are not included in this sample chapter]

Sams Teach Yourself the iMac in 24 Hours
- 3 -
Getting on the Net

In Hour 1, I explained that the "i" in the iMac name stands for, at least in part, the "Internet."

And many of you bought this great little computer to do just that, explore all the great features on the world wide Internet.

For Hour 3, you'll explore the subject of the Internet. You'll learn:

  • The differences between an Internet provider and an online service (and which to pick and why).
  • How to sign up with EarthLink or a similar service.
  • How to join AOL and what it offers.
  • Some advice for getting started as an Internet "surfer."

The Internet is not a physical place to go (such as your corner bakery). It's, well, a little more complicated than that. Back in Hour 1, I explained that whenever you connect two computers together, you have a network.

The Internet is a network, too, only it doesn't contain just two computers, but millions of them, spread across the world. These computers not only share information but work as relay stations, forwarding to other computers the information they receive. Think of it as a gigantic relay race.

And what's more, these computers aren't restricted to Macs or PCs. They run the gamut of many operating systems. Some are personal computers not much different in capability from your iMac. Others are huge mainframes, filling entire offices. The Internet is, in a sense, a worldwide computer network that doesn't have any boundaries as to computer, operating system, or location.

EarthLink or AOL? What's the Difference?

AOL bills itself (correctly, of course) as the "world's largest Internet online service." And EarthLink is an Internet service, too, right?

Well, there is a difference. AOL, like EarthLink, does indeed give you an Internet connection and a Web browser to explore the Internet.

NEW TERM: A Web browser is a program that calls up the information you want on the Inter-net, and presents it on your iMac with full color, animation, and sometimes sound.

But EarthLink primarily offers you a connection to the Internet, the same as your phone company offers you a connection to its phone network. There are some additional features (such as some nice Help pages), but AOL goes way beyond this. AOL is an outgrowth of what are sometimes called "bulletin board services" or (BBS). It offers not only a connection, but has its own vast array of exclusive content available to members only. As you'll see (briefly) in the following pages, AOL has its own forums, chat rooms, discussion areas (message boards), software libraries, news centers, shopping centers, and other features that go way beyond just an Internet connection.

NEW TERM: A forum is an online meeting place where folks of similar interests can get together, share information, and have discussions via their computers.

NEW TERM: The chat room is the online equivalent of a meeting room, where you can "talk" to other folks or listen to lectures. The "talking," in this case, is done by typing on your iMac and sending the message to the chat room where others can see it.

NEW TERM: A message board is similar to the bulletin board in your local supermarket. You can use it to leave statements or messages for others to see and reply to.

NEW TERM: The software library is a place that stores files (such as software) that can be retrieved (downloaded) by others.

If you have children in your household, here's another AOL advantage: It's kid safe. That is, AOL has special "Parental Controls" available to create a custom online setup for your children. This limits them to certain online forums and Web sites where the content is certified to be friendly for them.

Making the EarthLink Connection

When you first set up your iMac (in Hour 1), you were "interviewed" by two setup Assistants from Apple. The second, Internet Setup Assistant, is used to let Apple find an Internet service for you.

But you don't have to take that route.

You already have software for an Internet provider (or ISP for short) on your iMac's hard drive, from EarthLink, a service that has gotten great reviews as being one of the better ISPs out there.

To get to it, just click on the Internet icon on your iMac's drive, where you'll see a folder labeled Total Access. That's the trade name for EarthLink's service.

Within that folder is EarthLink's Registration & Utilities program. Just double-click on that program to get started.

TIP: Before signing up with EarthLink, check the inserts that came in your iMac's accessories box. You're apt to find a special offer for new EarthLink members. If it's not there, your favorite computing magazine may have it.

The first screen you see is EarthLink's license agreement. You must agree to it to move on (it's not a multiple-choice option). Once you've given it the okay, you'll see the setup screen (shown in Figure 3.1). Most of the options are grayed out because you haven't signed up with the service yet. That'll change later.

NOTE: No matter what Internet service you want, be sure to have a credit card handy to enter your billing information. Some services can debit your checking account for payment instead, such as AOL and CompuServe. EarthLink will also do this, but you have to call their customer service department to set it up.
FIGURE 3.1. This program is used to establish your EarthLink account.

NOTE: As you sign up for EarthLink, you'll hear an audio presentation with up-to-date instructions. The buttons shown at the upper right of Figure 3.1 are similar to those on a cassette or CD player. Click the "X" button to stop the show.

TIP: If you're already an EarthLink subscriber, click the Retrieve button in Figure 3.1 to set up your account.

From here, you'll be taken through a number of informational screens where you can enter your setup information. Here's a summary of what you'll need to do to sign up. Click on the Next button to move on and the Previous button to recheck your information.

TIP: You'll notice that some of the navigation buttons in EarthLink's setup screen have a thick rectangle around them. Whenever you see this type of button (in any Mac program), you can press the Return or Enter keys on your iMac's keyboard to activate the function. It'll keep you from having to "mouse around" all the time.
  • Modem Setup. On the next screen, EarthLink selects a modem for you. Most times it guesses right and chooses Apple iMac Internal Modem.
  • Setup New Account. Give yourself a "user name" here (see Figure 3.2). You can pick your own name, or something that sounds, well, "nice." EarthLink puts up a notice if it's taken and gives you a chance to use something else.
FIGURE 3.2. Establish your email address and password here.
  • General Information. Type your name and address information as shown in Figure 3.3.
FIGURE 3.3. The billing information you see here is, of course, not real.

You are getting close to the end now. So just hang in there, as we continue with the last few steps to set up your EarthLink account:

  • Phone Setup. You'll see a screen where you can enter your long distance and dial-up prefixes, along with your local area code.
  • Communications Status. EarthLink brings up a screen showing the status of your connection to the service. If everything is okay, you'll see some more information screens, where you need to enter your credit card billing information.

CAUTION: It's a good idea to stay at your iMac when the Connection Status screen is up. If the EarthLink's 800-service number is busy or there's a connection problem, you may have to okay a screen or two to continue.
  • Phone Setup. Based on the area code you're in, you'll see a list of local access numbers (see Figure 3.4). You can only pick one.
FIGURE 3.4. Select the phone number nearest you.
  • Installation. Yes, you may already have your Internet software installed, but EarthLink needs to know about it. So click on the first option in the Installation screen (see Figure 3.5). Once this has been done, click Install. After a few moments, you'll see a screen requesting you to restart your iMac. Click Restart to finish the setup process.
FIGURE 3.5. Go through the formalities about choosing Internet Explorer here.
  • Tutorial. EarthLink provides a tutorial video that can really help you get used to the service. After your iMac has restarted, you'll see a tutorial screen giving you the choice of watching the video. Click Play to see it. Click Done to move on and begin your first connection to the service.
  • Browser Tutorial. The first video will help you get used to using a Web browser (see Figure 3.6).
FIGURE 3.6. Experience the iMac's multimedia features with this video from EarthLink.
  • Welcome to TotalAccess. Haven't we been here before? When you're finished looking at videos, click Previous over and over again to get to the first screen; then Done to bring up the Welcome screen. Unlike the picture shown in Figure 3.1, all the buttons are dark and cannot be used to perform their labeled functions. Click Connect to continue.
  • Remote Access. To log onto EarthLink (finally!), click Connect on the screen shown in Figure 3.7.
FIGURE 3.7. The Status line shows you the steps taken to connect to EarthLink.
  • Browse the Internet. Okay, what to do here? You're logged in, with no place to go. Just look on the right side of your iMac's desktop for an icon labeled Browse the Internet. Double-click on it to launch your Web browser and bring up EarthLink's home page (see Figure 3.8). If it's not there, click on the Apple menu, choose Internet, and select Browse the Internet from the submenu.
FIGURE 3.8. EarthLink's home page greets you when you first join the service.

NEW TERM: A home page is the introduction to a Web site. It contains some brief information about the person or business running the site. You will find links to other pages and (no doubt) a few ads, too.

  • The Personal Start Page. A great feature for EarthLink is the capability to create your very own, customized "start" or home page for the service. To set it up, click on the item labeled My Personal Start Page at the lower left of Figure 3.8. You'll be given a menu of choices as to what to include (not to worry, you can always change it whenever you want, over and over again). Once you're done, you'll see a result similar to the Start Page I've created for myself (see Figure 3.9).
FIGURE 3.9. Yes, this is the author's real EarthLink Start Page.

No doubt you'll want to spend a little time exploring the vast frontiers of the Internet EarthLink. When you're ready to sign off, here's what to do:

To Do: Signing Off of EarthLink

1. Click on the File menu of your Web browser and choose Quit. This will turn the program off.

2. Click on the Application menu (as I explained in Hour 2).

3. Choose Remote Access.

4. Click on the Disconnect button.

5. Finally, click on the little square at the upper left of the Remote Access window, which will shut down (quit) that program, too. In Hour 5, I'll tell you what all those "things" on program windows are and how to use them.

How to Join AOL

AOL's software is located in the Internet folder on your iMac's drive. To get to it, just double-click on the Internet folder; then double-click on the folder labeled America Online 4.0 (or whatever version they're offering when you read this book).

NOTE: Before you launch AOL's software, look for a little AOL insert card in your iMac's accessories box. The insert has a special AOL "free time" offer and a sign-on registration and password number. If you don't find this insert, call AOL at 1-800-827-6364 for assistance. You'll also want to keep your credit card handy so you can enter your billing information when requested on AOL's sign-in screen.

First You Get Connected

When you see the America Online program icon, double-click on it. After about 10 or 15 seconds, you'll see the first of several setup windows (see Figure 3.10). They may be different from the ones shown here, but as long as you read the instructions offered, you'll be able to get through it like a champ.

FIGURE 3.10. This is the beginning of the AOL sign-up process. Choose automatic setup.

Remember, you can always cancel if you change your mind. If you decide to try it again later, no problem. It'll start up right from the beginning.

NOTE: There are three choices in your first AOL setup window, but the first, "Begin automatic setup (recommended)" is the one to pick.

CAUTION: Before continuing, be sure your iMac's modem is connected to your phone line (and that nobody else is using that line during the setup process). If the line is busy, the AOL software won't be able to complete the sign-up process.

On the next setup screen, AOL Setup, the program will take a few moments to test your modem to determine what kind it is (see Figure 3.11) and set up the software to get you the best possible connection. The software is designed to run on many different types of Mac computers, and there are lots of modems out there.

FIGURE 3.11. AOL's software probes your iMac's modem to set up the ideal connection profile for it. Be prepared to wait a couple of minutes for the process to finish.

The clever AOL software will soon get the message and report back to you that, yes, you are indeed using an iMac's internal modem (see Figure 3.12).

FIGURE 3.12. If this says it's an iMac internal modem, you're home free.

Okay, I know you're anxious to get going, but the software needs to do a few more things before you make that first connection as an AOL member. Next up is a dialog box where you confirm the dialing options (see Figure 3.13).

FIGURE 3.13. Read the screen carefully before moving on, in case you have to set it up for call waiting.

CAUTION: If you have call waiting service, be sure to click on the second "Dial" option. The numbers shown, "*70," are used by most phone companies to disable call waiting for the next call; this prevents your AOL hookup from being interrupted if someone tries to call you while you're online.

After AOL software has decided how to connect to your iMac's modem, it needs to determine where you are, so you'll dial up through a local number. On the next screen, you'll be asked to enter your area code (see Figure 3.14). As soon as your modem setup has been completed, type your area code in the appropriate text field so that America Online can hook you up to the closest and fastest (thus the cheapest) connection in your area.

FIGURE 3.14. AOL needs this information to find a local connection number for you.

After you've clicked next, AOL's host computer is called up to check its directory. And don't be alarmed at the connection noises you hear on your iMac's speaker. They're normal.

If AOL can't find a number for you, you'll get a chance to enter a different, nearby area code and have it try again. But for most cities, you'll be awarded with a result similar to the one shown in Figure 3.15.

FIGURE 3.15. Here's a list of AOL numbers in Arizona.

TIP: If more than one number is available in your city, pick at least two. AOL's access numbers are apt to get busy in the evening, so this gives you a chance to connect at the alternate number. (AOL switches automatically if it cannot connect the first time.)

When you add a number, you'll see a confirmation screen (not shown here). Just click OK to move on.

Create Your America Online Account Now

AOL now dials your local number and takes you to a screen where you begin to set up your online account (see Figure 3.16).

FIGURE 3.16. The default option lets you sign on as a new member.

NOTE: If you're already an AOL member, click on the second option in Figure 3.16 and place your present screen name and password in the text fields to pick up your account information.

Take out that insert from AOL (offering the free monthly trial) and enter the registration and password information where requested on your iMac's screen. Click the Next button.

AOL now guides you through a series of setup screens where you give your name, address, and billing information. That's why I suggested you have a credit card ready.

NOTE: AOL can also debit your checking account for your monthly charges at a slight surcharge, but you may have to wait a day or two to get online, so they can set up the paperwork.

After your billing information has been set up, AOL asks you to agree to its Terms of Service. These are the rules covering the service, and you'll want to check them. They're a little more involved than the standard software license. Basically, AOL expects you to be a good citizen online, not bother others, and so on.

What Do I Call Myself?

Folks who join an online service don't have to use their real names. And sometimes they can't (because someone else is already using that name). Instead, you give yourself a "handle," as they used to say when CB radios were popular. That's a nickname, which AOL calls a screen name.

After you've signed up, AOL puts up a screen where you name yourself. At first, AOL will suggest a name, based on your real name perhaps with a few numbers after it. But feel free to change the name and try something else. Just remember that because no two AOL members can have the same screen name, you may have to endure a few moments of trying out names until one "takes."

CAUTION: Please remember that you can't change your initial (master) screen name. So pick it with care. But you can add four screen names to your account (for your family or perhaps to give yourself another online "identity" such as Superman and Clark Kent).

The First Connection

In a few seconds, you'll see AOL's opening screen and hear a "Welcome" message from that little "man" inside AOL's software (see Figure 3.17). And then you'll hear another announcement (just like on AOL's TV commercials), "You've Got Mail."

FIGURE 3.17. Welcome to AOL.

Yes, indeed, there is mail in your AOL mailbox. Click on the You Have Mailicon, and you'll see a letter on your iMac's screen from AOL's outspoken head, Steve Case, welcoming you to the service. Well, don't take it as a personal greeting; every new AOL member gets one.

The Welcome screen (with your name in the title) is your gateway to the day's major features on AOL. If you want to see more of the range of services AOL offers, click on the AOL Channels icon (see Figure 3.18) to access a list of the various online departments.

TIP: AOL has several areas offering online help for new members, but if you really want to learn about the service on your own time, you may want to buy one of these AOL books. I've written two of them, by the way, Sams Teach Yourself AOL in 10 Minutes and Using America Online 4, published by Que.
FIGURE 3.18. Change your AOL channel here.

TIP: AOL members get around with keywords. You can enter the name of the area you want to visit in the bottom text field on the AOL toolbar shown in Figure 3.8, click on the Go button, and you're off to that location. As a new member, try the keyword, well, New Members.


In Hour 3, I introduced you to the incredible global computer network, the Internet. You received instructions on joining an Internet service, such as EarthLink, and an online service, such as AOL. You learned the differences between the two, so you can make a decision about which to try (although many folks just use both).

In Hour 4, I'll introduce you to the other software packages that were included with your new iMac, and in Hours 8 through 10, you'll learn about those programs in more detail.


Q I'm already a member of AOL? Do I have to join again?
A Not at all. When you run the AOL software that comes on your iMac, you'll see a screen where you specify whether you're joining as a new member, or you're an existing member. If you're already a member, just type your present screen name and password (if you have more than one on your account, any will do), and your membership settings will be transferred. And you can still use the AOL software on your other computer (just not at the same time).

Q You really don't show us any advantages to EarthLink. Are there any?
A Actually, yes. First, it's two bucks a month cheaper than AOL (at least as of the time this book was written). And, second, you have more flexibility in terms of running software other than AOL as part of your Internet connection. For example, you are locked into AOL's email feature when you're on AOL, but with EarthLink, you can choose from a number of different email programs. The same goes for such features as Internet newsgroups. I'll tell you about these and other Internet features in Hour 11 and Hour 12.

Q Do I have to join EarthLink or AOL? What about another service?
A Although Apple made a deal with these two to include them with your new iMac, you are free to join any service you like, or just copy over the settings from the service.
In addition to EarthLink, there are thousands of Internet providers. Some are local; some are national in scope. Names such as AT&T WorldNet, MindSpring, and Netcom come to mind, but you'll find many options. When picking a service, you'll want to compare prices and services. If you travel, you'll also want to know whether you can connect in other cities without paying long distance charges.
Among online services, there's CompuServe, a service that's now owned by AOL, but it caters more to businesses and professional users. And there's Prodigy, which tries to compete head on with AOL.

Q I already have a high-speed cable modem hookup. Can I use it with the iMac?
A Most likely, yes. Many cable modem services use an Ethernet port to connect to computers. And because you already have one with your iMac, hookups ought to be a piece of cake. But you'll need to contact the cable company directly about setting up your iMac's Internet features to support its service.
And if you are already using another item on the Ethernet jack, say a printer or another Mac, you'll need a "hub," a central connection device, to support multiple hookups (unless, of course, you already have one). Your computer dealer can help you purchase what you need.

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