New to the Mac? New to Mavericks? Here's what you need to know

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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When we last met, we’d just waded into the first lessons for getting the most from iMovie. And I’d fully intended to push on through iMovie and into GarageBand and then the iWork applications. But a funny thing happened—Apple picked up the board and threw all the pieces in the air, which naturally caused me to give the future a significant re-think.

Of course, this is about more than me. I can imagine that those of you who’ve followed these lessons from the very beginning are quietly fuming, “Great, all that time spent on the old operating system. Now I have to relearn the whole thing.”

Fortunately, no, you don’t. While plenty is going on in the newest version of the Mac OS (known as Mavericks), on the surface it’s not radically different from what you’ve used before. In this lesson I’ll provide you with some information on the obvious changes so that you can get on with your work and play rather than stumbling over something unexpected. Let’s start with the Finder’s most significant changes.

Notifications

If you take a gander at the top-right corner of your Mac’s menu bar—whether you’re running Mountain Lion or Mavericks—you’ll see three lines, preceded by dots. This is Notification Center, the place where alerts issued by your Mac appear. These can include Calendar events, received Twitter tweets, text messages, and email summaries.

Notification Center in Mavericks looks and operates very much as it did under Mountain Lion, but it has a few changes you’ll find helpful. To begin with, when you receive a notification from Apple’s Messages application, you can click directly within the message and type a reply in the Reply field. You’ll also see email notifications sent from Apple’s Mail application. Hover your cursor over such a notification, and you can choose to reply to the message or delete it. Choose Reply, and Mail opens with a reply message already set up for you.

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