Thursday, December 22, 2005

blogger entry 12/23/05
book 49: The Missing Manuals: OSX Tiger.
Last year at xmas I noticed my mom’s Mac was ten years old, and I lobbied for a new one. She now has the new one. She’s a mac person - ease of use and money no object - i’m a windows person - windows boxes are cheap enough and break easily so that people throw them away or sell them cheap.
So I haven’t been able to answer her mac questions till now - I refer those to my brother, who is a unix person.
She’s semi-blind, and not a computer-phile. Between us, there’s a lot we don’t know about the mac.
The ‘missing manuals’ series is pretty good. It’s like computers for dummies, but bettter. I’d rather wait for the movie - a book of text is an awkward method, tells instead of shows. But it’s way better than nothing.
This is the book that didn’t come with my windows box.
It’s taken me years of trial and error to be able to get a handle on the little bits and pieces of windows that I do know. It’s my old old complaint with computers - a world of secret handshakes, where you have to have someone show you the basic stuff - like I showed mom where the trash can icon is - like I said, she’s nearly blind - and she showed me where the on button is.
I still don’t know what the function keys do, or what the various shift-control-letter type shortcuts do, but I can make my computer jump through most of the hoops I care about. The mac has a big grab bag of new tricks, and if one were to go through the book chapter by chapter one could learn enough to get started.
I havent been through the whole book yet, and don’t really plan to, but I gettting deep enough into it to learn how the book presents the material, and then I can flip to the stuff I want to learn more about. Like, why isn’t it spellchecking?
I want to learn about the how to expand the screen so mom can see it options, which are in there, chapter 14, just havent worked through it yet.
The book would be better if it was open source - it’s proprietary, so I can’t include a copy or link with this blurb. But the book’s site, missingmanuals.com? has a lot of potentially useful other stuff.
We live in a world of eternal september - there’s always a flood of cluelesss newbies coming online, and even us old dogs can learn new tricks when, as here, somebody takes the time to reveal the secrets of the secret handshakes.
I composed this offfline, since mom has the $10/mo 15 hrs week dialup plan.
It took a few tries to drag this entry into the blogger window - cut and paste didn't work as expected,, and i'll need to clean up those odd characters where apostrophes should go.
Thatt's exactly why it's handy to have a book like this around.

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