Yes, it’s still a Mac...and it sure looks great. And it hardly ever crashes, even when you Force Quit. But...where is everything? For longtime Macintosh users, Mac OS X can be a disorienting experience. There’s enough that’s familiar to know this couldn’t be anything but a Mac. The thing definitely carries Steve Jobs’s genes.
But all the tools you knew like your own name -- they’ve moved. Or they’re gone, replaced by entirely new ways of doing things. Maybe the tasks themselves have fallen into the dustbin of history (no need to set virtual memory for your applications, no need for Adobe Type Manager.) Occasionally, you follow the steps you performed yesterday with confidence (use Mac classic’s keyboard shortcut for creating a new folder shortcut)...and something else happens altogether (a new Finder window opens).
Your Mac’s still your friend. But it’s been through a major life-changing experience, plus head-to-toe plastic surgery. What you want is Scott Kelby’s Mac OS X Conversion Kit. This book will show you exactly where everything’s gone -- and how to get as comfortable with your “next” Mac as you were with all the Macs that came before it.
We’ve enjoyed Scott Kelby’s Mac and graphic design books for a long time. He knows the Mac about as well as anyone, and he writes about the Mac with style and humor. This full-color book is about one thing: your OS X transition.
One page tells you how you did it in OS 9. The next page tells you how you do it in OS X. (Which means it isn’t just great for upgraders: It’s great for folks hopping between old and new Macs, and folks hanging out in Classic mode.)
For instance, remember how in OS 9 you added items to the Apple menu for convenient launching? It was a pain, but after a while, second nature (locate the app, click on it, Command-M to create an alias, open Apple Menu Items folder, drop alias there). Now, the Apple menu’s gone, replaced by the Dock. Just drag stuff there. Apps. Web links. Servers. But remember: Apps go on the left, everything else on the right: no fraternizing. (And speaking of the Dock, here’s a bonus shortcut for putting the Calculator there.)
There’s a full chapter on windows, icons, and the like. (Why doesn’t a new window open when you open another folder -- and how do you get one when you want one? What happened to color-coding files and folders? How do you make an alias now?)
On to multimedia: burning CDs, controlling external speakers, playing QuickTime, taking screen captures, viewing graphics with the handy Preview instead of the ancient PictureViewer. You’ll find chapters on the changes in font controls; monitors (now “displays”); and network configuration.
In a chapter on “lost commands,” Kelby covers everything from ejecting disks to getting stuff out of the trash, accessing application preferences to keeping your Mac awake. And if you had any doubts at all about the transition, he concludes with “20 Cool Little Things You Couldn’t Do in Mac OS 9” -- from automatically downloading digital photos to making PDFs from any application. Yes, this OS X, to paraphrase Martha Stewart: It’s definitely A Good Thing. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.