|The AppleCare Protection Plan extends the warranty on your Apple product from one to three years, (top) a Mac Mini
You must have noticed that for a while now I have been exhorting readers of this column to switch to a Mac. The common refrain from those reluctant to do so is the price or that they have to re-learn operating a computer all over again.
Let me bust the myths. Prices of Macs have dropped drastically. In fact, a Mac mini costs just around Rs 28,000. Add another Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 for a monitor, keyboard and mouse and you have a pretty good machine. It is great for those on a budget. It will handle your multimedia and professional applications very well. The best part is that the operating system and all the software come bundled with all Macs. You rarely need to scour the Internet for free software.
The Mac is becoming increasingly popular. Apples retail share is almost 14 per cent now. But these, of course, include the fascinating iPhone and iPods. Just a few years ago, Macs market share was just 2 per cent. Now it is touching 7 per cent and growing at a tremendous rate. No doubt, most of this growth is happening because of people switching from Microsofts Windows-equipped PCs to Apples Mac.
Now for those of you who have apprehensions about re-learning the working of a computer I have compiled a few basic tips. These will help you learn the Mac in a jiffy.
Keyboard: Lets start with the keyboard. Windows users are familiar with the Control, Alt and Windows keys. On a Mac you may be foxed by the presence of Command, Alt/Option, Function (Fn) and Control keys. The key difference here is that the Control key in Windows and the Control key on a Mac are different. Control-C is copy in Windows, but in a Mac it is Command-C. You will find a list of such keyboard shortcut differences at http://www.xvsxp.com/misc/keyboard.php.
On Windows you press Control-Alt-Delete to terminate unresponsive programs. On a Mac you have to press Command-Option-Escape (Esc). On Windows you use Backspace to delete or Delete to forward delete. On a Mac press Delete to backward delete. For Mac notebooks, press the Function (Fn) and Delete keys to forward delete. On Windows you press Alt to type some special characters. On a Mac you do this by pressing Option.
Menus: In Windows, each program window has its own menu bar: File, Edit, View, Window, Help. But in the Macs operating system, Tiger or Leopard, there is only one menu bar, and it appears on the Desktop. The menu items on the menu bar change depending on the program you are using. For example, if you are working with your Web browser, commands related to that browser appear in the menu bar. Switch to Word, and those items appear in the menu. However, the Apple icon is constant on the left-most menu item. It never changes, regardless of the program you are using.
Programs: In Windows you use the Start menu and the taskbar to access programs, folders and files. On a Mac use the Dock, which is at the bottom of your screen. To add aliases to your favourite items, drag and drop them to the right side of the Dock. To add your favourite applications, drag and drop them to the left side of the Dock. You can drag the icons off the Dock at any time to delete these aliases.
Install and uninstall: Here lies the biggest difference. When you download programs from the Internet it will usually have .dmg as an extension. This is called a disk image. When you double click on the .dmg file, it displays a removable drive icon on the Mac desktop. Open that icon, and youll see a folder with either the program itself or an installer inside. Just drag the program to your Applications folder. If it is an installer it will have a .pkg extension or will be labelled as installer. Double click on it to install the program.
Uninstalling a program is easy. Just drag it to the Trash and you are done.
Corrigendum: In one of my articles on free software to speed up your PC the website address of CCleaner was wrongly typed as www.cleaner.com. It should have been www.ccleaner.com.
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