Top 10 lessons for the new Mac user


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My hope is that you’ve been directed to this story by a caring friend or relative—so caring, in fact, that their holiday generosity extended to giving you a new Mac.

“Oh my goodness!” you chirped.

“Oh how wonderful!” you crowed.

And they beamed and blushed with pride and approval.

But now that they’re on their way back to wherever they call home, you can express your true feelings.

“What in the world am I supposed to do with this thing?”

You have my sympathies. As someone who has burdened family members with technology they can’t begin to comprehend, I understand that it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer possibility of it all. And this is why, a little over a year ago, I launched Mac 101, a column designed specifically with the new Mac user in mind.

As easy as it would be to offer you a single link to the column’s index page, allow me instead to cherry pick a few lessons that I think you’ll find helpful. Note that while the bulk of these lessons discuss Mac OS X Mountain Lion (the previous version of Apple’s Mac operating system), the current Mac OS (called Mavericks) isn’t wildly different from an operational point of view. What you learn in these lessons will, in  large part, translate nicely to your new computer.

Getting set up: This inaugural lesson provides instructions on what to do when you first pull your new Mac from the box, plug it in, and press its power button. A truly caring gift-giver would have done this for you, but if you’re on your own, this will get you started.

Meet the Finder: This is a quick tour of the Mac’s working environment—the menu bar, desktop, and Dock.

Seek and find: The Mac operating system stores information in various folders. In this lesson, I show you ways to more easily find your files using the Mac’s search tools.

The printer primer: If you have a printer that you hope to use with your Mac, you’ll want to read this lesson. (And, quite possibly the next lesson on how to set up your applications for printing.)

Setting up email on your Mac: What better way to send a cry for help to the person who gave you this infernal contraption than via an email message? Here’s how to configure an email account on your Mac.

Creating, sending, and receiving email: It’s all well and good to have an email account set up, but what about creating and sending email messages (and receiving a reply)? I explain it all.

Getting started with Safari: The more time you spend with your computer, the more time you’ll spend surfing the Web. In this lesson I show you how to get started with Apple’s Web browser, Safari.

20 computer terms every Mac user should know: Trying to get help with your computer is made even more difficult when others throw jargon at you. Knowing these 20 terms will help you break through the babble.

Getting started with iPhoto: It’s next to impossible to purchase a film camera these days. Cameras have gone digital. And because they have, you need somewhere to store the images these cameras capture. In Apple’s world that means iPhoto. The first installment of this eight-part series will get you started.

New to the Mac? New to Mavericks? Here’s what you need to know: As I mentioned earlier, Mavericks isn’t wildly different from Mountain Lion, but it does add a few welcome new features. I explain them in this lesson.

And there you have it, 10 lessons that will help you make your way through your new Mac. If they do nothing more than whet your appetite for more, I encourage you to breeze through the remaining 49. Welcome to your new Mac. In time you’ll grow to love it!

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