Explore with Care

Once you've installed the beta, it's time to take your first steps into the future of the Mac. Just make sure you walk in with your eyes open. The Mac OS X beta is visually stunning, powerful, and stable in situations that would have crashed previous operating systems. But it also lacks a long list of beloved Mac OS features, including the Apple menu, the Application menu, the Control Strip, pop-up windows, the Encrypt command, the Put Away command, Launcher, and several useful control panels. Even Windows' desktop is closer to the traditional Mac OS desktop than Mac OS X's.

The cheat sheet "Where'd Everybody Go?" will help you find the missing elements (or their replacements) as you navigate through the beta. For a more in-depth guide to its geography, including the folder structure, the Finder, Classic, and brand-new applications, read on.

The most disorienting aspect of the Mac OS X beta is its folder structure. What lies behind Mac OS X's pretty face is Unix, plain and simple. Your Mac's default name is "localhost," and the System folder contains folders called Administration, Applications, Documentation, and Library. Poke around, and you'll find files with names such as BSD.pkg and apache.conf.bak.

New Survival Tools   For the time being, don't knock yourself out trying to decipher the functions of these files and folders. Instead, get acquainted with the new Go menu or the Finder tool bar (see "The Big Picture"), both of which give you direct access to the folders you really care about: Applications, where you'll find most of your Mac OS X programs, and Documents, where Mac OS X programs deposit your work (unless you direct them to a different folder via the Save command). Both of these folders are buried deep in the nested mass of Unix folders, but you can summon them easily from the Go menu.

Behind OS X's pretty face is Unix, plain and simple.

To preserve your sanity, consider putting aliases of your Mac OS 9 applications into this Applications folder, too, so you won't have to go foraging every time you need one of your older programs.

The first thing you'll notice is that Finder windows don't work quite like they used to. For example, double-clicking on a folder or disk doesn't open a new window. Instead, you'll see one big window at all times. Every time you double-click on a disk or folder, its contents will replace whatever was previously visible in the window. Click on the Back button just below the title bar (or press 1-B) to return to the previous view. In other words, the Mac OS X Finder works like a Web browser for your hard drive. Unlike a browser, though, it has no Forward button.

The Big Picture  In the Mac OS X world, the Apple logo is no longer a menu--it's a mere decal (which disappears in programs that have a lot of menus). The upper left menu identifies the current program and always contains the program's Preferences and Quit commands. The upper right corner shows disks that you've inserted or mounted via a network; your built-in hard drive doesn't appear there unless you make an alias of it.

If you need to open two windows at once (to move or copy icons, for example), you have several options. You can use the File menu's New Finder Window command to create a second window, option-double-click a disk or folder to open it in an independent window, or choose the Column View option (see "Column View"). To learn how to make every double-click produce a new window, see "Making OS X More Familiar," How-to, elsewhere in this issue.

You get the best Mac OS X experience by using programs written for Mac OS X (termed Cocoa) or adapted to it (called Carbonized). Only these programs offer features such as the Aqua interface and memory protection, which ensures that if one application crashes or freezes, the rest of the Mac zooms merrily along.

Run 9 in X   You don't have to buy entirely new programs, however. Apple's Classic application lets you run OS 9-compatible programs in their own memory bubble within OS X. Classic programs don't offer the same stability and features as Cocoa or Carbonized programs; if a Classic program crashes, your entire Mac OS 9 bubble may burst. But even then, you don't have to restart the machine; Mac OS X soldiers on.

Take a Long Launch   To enter the Mac OS 9 world, just double-click on the icon of one of your older programs. Unfortunately, launching a Classic application takes just as long as booting up a Mac OS 9 machine--because that is, in effect, what you're doing. But you'll probably have to wait only once a day; after you've created the Mac OS 9 world, you can leave it running.

If a Classic program crashes, your entire Mac OS 9 bubble may burst.

At that point, using the Classic environment to run OS 9-compatible programs isn't bad. For the most part, programs launch and work as they always have: mostly at full speed and largely unaffected by your Mac OS X programs in the background. You will have to make some adjustments: Mac OS 9 programs communicate with your Mac circuitry via Mac OS X, so you'll have to do without your AirPort card and USB printer (see "Mac OS Lab Notebook," http://www.macworld.com/2000/09/13/lab.html for more information. Mundane tasks such as scrolling in graphic-heavy documents can be slow and jerky. Otherwise, Apple's clever engineering lets us have our OS cake and older software too.

Column View   The new Column View speeds up folder navigation, makes it easier to see where you are in the folder hierarchy, and cuts down on the time you spend opening and closing folders. It even displays movies and pictures right in the Finder.

As OS X makes its way onto the world's Macs, the biggest disappointment for users will be the lack of OS X-ready programs. But Apple soothes the ache by including some free applications with a standard OS X installation. Many OS X-compatible versions of the old standbys are there (Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, Calculator, QuickTime Player, Key Caps, Sherlock, and Stickies, for example). The Mac OS X beta also comes with a chess game; a basic HTML editor; a couple of simple graphics programs; and utilities for capturing screen images, "pinging" your network, monitoring your laptop battery, and more.

Incomplete Survival Tools   The meatiest new programs include Address Book (a system-wide contact manager), Music Player (see "Music in X"), and Mail. But they're limited by an ivory-tower design attitude. For example, while Address Book is smoothly integrated with the Mail program, you can't import or export names and addresses. Music Player lacks some features of AppleCD Audio Player; the program can't import CD titles and track names, nor can it use the shareware NetCD Player to fetch them for you.

For a Mac user, using Mac OS X is like coming home from a trip to discover that your spouse has completely redecorated your house. Here are some hints on where to find the features you once knew. Apple has moved or replaced some; the company may yet restore those that are missing.

MAC OS 9 FEATURE WHERE IT IS IN THE MAC OS X BETA
About This Computer Missing. To find out your system software version, choose About This Mac from the Desktop menu. For memory stats on running programs, go to Process Viewer (Applications: Utilities).
Appearance control panel Missing. To apply a picture to your desktop, choose Desktop & Dock Preferences from the Desktop menu and then click on the Desktop tab.
Apple DVD Player Missing.
Apple menu Missing. The Dock has some items that were once in the Apple menu, and dragging items into the Dock is like adding items to the Apple menu.
AppleCD Audio Player Replaced by Music Player.
Balloon help Eliminated.
Chooser for desktop printers Now called Print Center (Applications: Utilities).
1-shift-3 (to take screenshots) Replaced. Open the Grab application (Applications: Utilities), go to the File menu, and choose to make your screenshot a Selection (1-shift-A), a Window (1-shift-W), a Screen (1-Z), or a Timed Screen (1-shift-Z).
Collapse box Eliminated.
1-drag (to scroll windows) Replaced by option-drag.
Control panels Found by clicking on System Preferences in the Dock (some control panels are absent from the beta).
Desktop clippings Missing. You can still create desktop clippings in the Classic environment, but OS X programs can't accept them.
Disk First Aid Now called Disk Utility (Applications: Utilities).
Disk icons Removables such as CDs and Zip disks can show up on the desktop. To learn how to put a hard drive alias on the desktop, see "Making OS X More Familiar," How-to, elsewhere in this issue.
Draggable window edges You can drag from the top edge but not the sides.
Drive Setup Incorporated into the Mac OS X Installer.
Encrypt command Missing.
Extensions Eliminated.
File Sharing In the Sharing window (click on System Preferences in the Dock).
Fonts folder Now found in the Library folder (System: Library), but you can no longer double-click on a font file to see what the font looks like.
Get Info Now called Show Inspector (under the File menu).
Graphic Calculator Missing.
Key Caps, Calculator Now in the Applications folder.
Keychain Access control panel Now in the Utilities folder.
Multiple Users control panel Now in the Utilities folder.
Pop-up windows Eliminated.
Preferences folder Nonexistent as we know it.
Restart command Hidden unless you press the option key before opening the Special menu.
Quit command Now in the Applications folder.
Scrapbook, Note Pad Missing.
Script Editor Now in the Utilities folder.
Sherlock Now on the Dock.
Sorting triangle Double-click on the column heading (such as Name) to sort a list view.
Shutdown Items Missing.
Simple Finder Eliminated.
SimpleSound Missing.
SimpleText Now called TextEdit, located in the Applications folder.
Startup Items Click on System Preferences (on the Dock), click on Login, and then click on Add under the Login Items tab.
Stickies In the Applications folder.
TCP/IP, AppleTalk Click on System Preferences (on the Dock), and then click on Network. Note that the AppleTalk default is inactive.
Web Sharing control panel Click on System Preferences and then on Sharing. Turn on FTP access for each item you want to share; then enable it using Show Inspector.
Zoom box Now the green dot in the upper left corner of a window.

The Mail program is a slightly better bet. Thanks to OS X's refined text-smoothing technology, your messages look as though they've been typeset by somebody with a lot of class (even when the contents come from spammers with lousy spelling). The program offers multiple mailboxes, HTML formatting, and in-window viewing of picture attachments. But there's no mail filtering, and once again, Mail can't import anything (such as messages) from other e-mail programs.

In short, Mac OS X's bundled programs seem to be interim software, designed to help you hobble through some semblance of a daily Mac work routine while the world awaits the arrival of Mac OS X-savvy third-party software.

Music in X   Apple has finally made a pocket-size gadget--too bad it's only on the screen. The new Music Player program lets you build playlists of MP3 files or audio CDs. Once you've set up your playlist, you can hide the track list.

Throughout your Mac OS X-beta experience, remember that you're working with a prototype, complete with a sobering list of half-finished features. For example, you have to restart the computer after every change to your networking settings; as noted earlier, you can't use your AirPort card; and the Classic environment somehow manages to forget all your preference settings (such as your Conflict Catcher serial number). Apple intends to fix all of these problems in the true Mac OS X, which it promises to release before July 2001. It also hopes to reduce the RAM requirement to 64MB.

Other feature chasms, however, cannot be spanned by Apple alone. For example, thousands of people won't seriously consider buying Mac OS X until Microsoft commits to releasing a Mac OS X version of Microsoft Office. Then there's the matter of device drivers: the software you need to operate your ink-jet printer, non-Apple mouse, handhelds, and other add-on gadgets simply isn't available yet. We don't know when--or if--manufacturers will write updated driver software. Until they do, you'll have to do without those devices.

The Last Word   If you can survive the bugs and glitches that come with any beta-test experience, you may start seeing the Mac OS X beta's potential. For example, Mac OS X laptops wake from sleep almost instantly. And although the operating system's underlying Unix engine may strike fear into the hearts of novices, intermediate and expert Mac fans may rejoice at its power. Using a few two-letter commands, you can use the included Terminal program to perform powerful, instantaneous operations, such as renaming, moving, or deleting huge numbers of files at once.

The Mac OS X-beta experience is outward bound, indeed. We have a lot to get used to--not only a radical new operating system, but also a radical new Apple. (When is the last time Apple invited feedback on an upcoming product, let alone told us about one?) Now that we've actually seen Mac OS X in action, some of the early design criticisms have grown fainter--because in several important areas, Mac OS X's different ways of doing things are decidedly better ways.

The Mac OS X-beta experience is outward bound, indeed.

One unanswered question is whether software companies will validate Mac OS X by releasing compatible products. The beauty and power of Mac OS X is pointless if we spend all day in the Mac OS 9-emulation mode. It will take a group effort to make this trek into the unknown a successful journey. 

Contributing Editor FRANKLIN N. TESSLER wrote "Install with Care." He has installed every version of the Mac operating system--even the buggy ones--since 1984. Contributing Editor DAVID POGUE ( http://www.davidpogue.com ) wrote "Explore with Care." He is the author of the upcoming Mac OS X: The Missing Manual (Pogue Press, 2000/2001).

Once you've installed the beta, it's time to take your first steps into the future of the Mac. Just make sure you walk in with your eyes open. The Mac OS X beta is visually stunning, powerful, and stable in situations that would have crashed previous operating systems. But it also lacks a long list of beloved Mac OS features, including the Apple menu, the Application menu, the Control Strip, pop-up windows, the Encrypt command, the Put Away command, Launcher, and several useful control panels. Even Windows' desktop is closer to the traditional Mac OS desktop than Mac OS X's.

The cheat sheet "Where'd Everybody Go?" will help you find the missing elements (or their replacements) as you navigate through the beta. For a more in-depth guide to its geography, including the folder structure, the Finder, Classic, and brand-new applications, read on.

Get Out Your Compass

The most disorienting aspect of the Mac OS X beta is its folder structure. What lies behind Mac OS X's pretty face is Unix, plain and simple. Your Mac's default name is "localhost," and the System folder contains folders called Administration, Applications, Documentation, and Library. Poke around, and you'll find files with names such as BSD.pkg and apache.conf.bak.

New Survival Tools   For the time being, don't knock yourself out trying to decipher the functions of these files and folders. Instead, get acquainted with the new Go menu or the Finder tool bar (see "The Big Picture"), both of which give you direct access to the folders you really care about: Applications, where you'll find most of your Mac OS X programs, and Documents, where Mac OS X programs deposit your work (unless you direct them to a different folder via the Save command). Both of these folders are buried deep in the nested mass of Unix folders, but you can summon them easily from the Go menu.

Behind OS X's pretty face is Unix, plain and simple.

To preserve your sanity, consider putting aliases of your Mac OS 9 applications into this Applications folder, too, so you won't have to go foraging every time you need one of your older programs.

Window Confusion

The first thing you'll notice is that Finder windows don't work quite like they used to. For example, double-clicking on a folder or disk doesn't open a new window. Instead, you'll see one big window at all times. Every time you double-click on a disk or folder, its contents will replace whatever was previously visible in the window. Click on the Back button just below the title bar (or press 1-B) to return to the previous view. In other words, the Mac OS X Finder works like a Web browser for your hard drive. Unlike a browser, though, it has no Forward button.

The Big Picture  In the Mac OS X world, the Apple logo is no longer a menu--it's a mere decal (which disappears in programs that have a lot of menus). The upper left menu identifies the current program and always contains the program's Preferences and Quit commands. The upper right corner shows disks that you've inserted or mounted via a network; your built-in hard drive doesn't appear there unless you make an alias of it.

If you need to open two windows at once (to move or copy icons, for example), you have several options. You can use the File menu's New Finder Window command to create a second window, option-double-click a disk or folder to open it in an independent window, or choose the Column View option (see "Column View"). To learn how to make every double-click produce a new window, see "Making OS X More Familiar," How-to, elsewhere in this issue.

Back to Mac OS 9

You get the best Mac OS X experience by using programs written for Mac OS X (termed Cocoa) or adapted to it (called Carbonized). Only these programs offer features such as the Aqua interface and memory protection, which ensures that if one application crashes or freezes, the rest of the Mac zooms merrily along.

Run 9 in X   You don't have to buy entirely new programs, however. Apple's Classic application lets you run OS 9-compatible programs in their own memory bubble within OS X. Classic programs don't offer the same stability and features as Cocoa or Carbonized programs; if a Classic program crashes, your entire Mac OS 9 bubble may burst. But even then, you don't have to restart the machine; Mac OS X soldiers on.

Take a Long Launch   To enter the Mac OS 9 world, just double-click on the icon of one of your older programs. Unfortunately, launching a Classic application takes just as long as booting up a Mac OS 9 machine--because that is, in effect, what you're doing. But you'll probably have to wait only once a day; after you've created the Mac OS 9 world, you can leave it running.

If a Classic program crashes, your entire Mac OS 9 bubble may burst.

At that point, using the Classic environment to run OS 9-compatible programs isn't bad. For the most part, programs launch and work as they always have: mostly at full speed and largely unaffected by your Mac OS X programs in the background. You will have to make some adjustments: Mac OS 9 programs communicate with your Mac circuitry via Mac OS X, so you'll have to do without your AirPort card and USB printer (see "Mac OS Lab Notebook," http://www.macworld.com/2000/09/13/lab.html for more information. Mundane tasks such as scrolling in graphic-heavy documents can be slow and jerky. Otherwise, Apple's clever engineering lets us have our OS cake and older software too.

Column View   The new Column View speeds up folder navigation, makes it easier to see where you are in the folder hierarchy, and cuts down on the time you spend opening and closing folders. It even displays movies and pictures right in the Finder.
Grab Bag of Apps

As OS X makes its way onto the world's Macs, the biggest disappointment for users will be the lack of OS X-ready programs. But Apple soothes the ache by including some free applications with a standard OS X installation. Many OS X-compatible versions of the old standbys are there (Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, Calculator, QuickTime Player, Key Caps, Sherlock, and Stickies, for example). The Mac OS X beta also comes with a chess game; a basic HTML editor; a couple of simple graphics programs; and utilities for capturing screen images, "pinging" your network, monitoring your laptop battery, and more.

Incomplete Survival Tools   The meatiest new programs include Address Book (a system-wide contact manager), Music Player (see "Music in X"), and Mail. But they're limited by an ivory-tower design attitude. For example, while Address Book is smoothly integrated with the Mail program, you can't import or export names and addresses. Music Player lacks some features of AppleCD Audio Player; the program can't import CD titles and track names, nor can it use the shareware NetCD Player to fetch them for you.

Where'd Everybody Go?

For a Mac user, using Mac OS X is like coming home from a trip to discover that your spouse has completely redecorated your house. Here are some hints on where to find the features you once knew. Apple has moved or replaced some; the company may yet restore those that are missing.

MAC OS 9 FEATURE WHERE IT IS IN THE MAC OS X BETA
About This Computer Missing. To find out your system software version, choose About This Mac from the Desktop menu. For memory stats on running programs, go to Process Viewer (Applications: Utilities).
Appearance control panel Missing. To apply a picture to your desktop, choose Desktop & Dock Preferences from the Desktop menu and then click on the Desktop tab.
Apple DVD Player Missing.
Apple menu Missing. The Dock has some items that were once in the Apple menu, and dragging items into the Dock is like adding items to the Apple menu.
AppleCD Audio Player Replaced by Music Player.
Balloon help Eliminated.
Chooser for desktop printers Now called Print Center (Applications: Utilities).
1-shift-3 (to take screenshots) Replaced. Open the Grab application (Applications: Utilities), go to the File menu, and choose to make your screenshot a Selection (1-shift-A), a Window (1-shift-W), a Screen (1-Z), or a Timed Screen (1-shift-Z).
Collapse box Eliminated.
1-drag (to scroll windows) Replaced by option-drag.
Control panels Found by clicking on System Preferences in the Dock (some control panels are absent from the beta).
Desktop clippings Missing. You can still create desktop clippings in the Classic environment, but OS X programs can't accept them.
Disk First Aid Now called Disk Utility (Applications: Utilities).
Disk icons Removables such as CDs and Zip disks can show up on the desktop. To learn how to put a hard drive alias on the desktop, see "Making OS X More Familiar," How-to, elsewhere in this issue.
Draggable window edges You can drag from the top edge but not the sides.
Drive Setup Incorporated into the Mac OS X Installer.
Encrypt command Missing.
Extensions Eliminated.
File Sharing In the Sharing window (click on System Preferences in the Dock).
Fonts folder Now found in the Library folder (System: Library), but you can no longer double-click on a font file to see what the font looks like.
Get Info Now called Show Inspector (under the File menu).
Graphic Calculator Missing.
Key Caps, Calculator Now in the Applications folder.
Keychain Access control panel Now in the Utilities folder.
Multiple Users control panel Now in the Utilities folder.
Pop-up windows Eliminated.
Preferences folder Nonexistent as we know it.
Restart command Hidden unless you press the option key before opening the Special menu.
Quit command Now in the Applications folder.
Scrapbook, Note Pad Missing.
Script Editor Now in the Utilities folder.
Sherlock Now on the Dock.
Sorting triangle Double-click on the column heading (such as Name) to sort a list view.
Shutdown Items Missing.
Simple Finder Eliminated.
SimpleSound Missing.
SimpleText Now called TextEdit, located in the Applications folder.
Startup Items Click on System Preferences (on the Dock), click on Login, and then click on Add under the Login Items tab.
Stickies In the Applications folder.
TCP/IP, AppleTalk Click on System Preferences (on the Dock), and then click on Network. Note that the AppleTalk default is inactive.
Web Sharing control panel Click on System Preferences and then on Sharing. Turn on FTP access for each item you want to share; then enable it using Show Inspector.
Zoom box Now the green dot in the upper left corner of a window.

The Mail program is a slightly better bet. Thanks to OS X's refined text-smoothing technology, your messages look as though they've been typeset by somebody with a lot of class (even when the contents come from spammers with lousy spelling). The program offers multiple mailboxes, HTML formatting, and in-window viewing of picture attachments. But there's no mail filtering, and once again, Mail can't import anything (such as messages) from other e-mail programs.

In short, Mac OS X's bundled programs seem to be interim software, designed to help you hobble through some semblance of a daily Mac work routine while the world awaits the arrival of Mac OS X-savvy third-party software.

Music in X   Apple has finally made a pocket-size gadget--too bad it's only on the screen. The new Music Player program lets you build playlists of MP3 files or audio CDs. Once you've set up your playlist, you can hide the track list.
Is the Timing Right for You?

Throughout your Mac OS X-beta experience, remember that you're working with a prototype, complete with a sobering list of half-finished features. For example, you have to restart the computer after every change to your networking settings; as noted earlier, you can't use your AirPort card; and the Classic environment somehow manages to forget all your preference settings (such as your Conflict Catcher serial number). Apple intends to fix all of these problems in the true Mac OS X, which it promises to release before July 2001. It also hopes to reduce the RAM requirement to 64MB.

Other feature chasms, however, cannot be spanned by Apple alone. For example, thousands of people won't seriously consider buying Mac OS X until Microsoft commits to releasing a Mac OS X version of Microsoft Office. Then there's the matter of device drivers: the software you need to operate your ink-jet printer, non-Apple mouse, handhelds, and other add-on gadgets simply isn't available yet. We don't know when--or if--manufacturers will write updated driver software. Until they do, you'll have to do without those devices.

The Last Word   If you can survive the bugs and glitches that come with any beta-test experience, you may start seeing the Mac OS X beta's potential. For example, Mac OS X laptops wake from sleep almost instantly. And although the operating system's underlying Unix engine may strike fear into the hearts of novices, intermediate and expert Mac fans may rejoice at its power. Using a few two-letter commands, you can use the included Terminal program to perform powerful, instantaneous operations, such as renaming, moving, or deleting huge numbers of files at once.

The Mac OS X-beta experience is outward bound, indeed. We have a lot to get used to--not only a radical new operating system, but also a radical new Apple. (When is the last time Apple invited feedback on an upcoming product, let alone told us about one?) Now that we've actually seen Mac OS X in action, some of the early design criticisms have grown fainter--because in several important areas, Mac OS X's different ways of doing things are decidedly better ways.

The Mac OS X-beta experience is outward bound, indeed.

One unanswered question is whether software companies will validate Mac OS X by releasing compatible products. The beauty and power of Mac OS X is pointless if we spend all day in the Mac OS 9-emulation mode. It will take a group effort to make this trek into the unknown a successful journey. 

Contributing Editor FRANKLIN N. TESSLER wrote "Install with Care." He has installed every version of the Mac operating system--even the buggy ones--since 1984. Contributing Editor DAVID POGUE ( http://www.davidpogue.com ) wrote "Explore with Care." He is the author of the upcoming Mac OS X: The Missing Manual (Pogue Press, 2000/2001).

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