Everything you needed to know about OSX...

Discussion in 'macOS' started by IJ Reilly, May 20, 2006.

  1. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    I'm signed up to teach a community education course on OSX at a local college, a three-hour session on a Saturday morning in June. It's being billed as "Anyone can become an OSX Power-user," geared towards new Mac users and longer-time users who haven't explored OSX very deeply. I've divided the course into roughly three sections: tricks and tips (shortcuts, etc), maintenance, and cool tools (useful freeware). This will be a demonstrations course, as opposed to hands-on (partially Keynote, partially live). I figure I need about 2- 2 1/4 hours of material, allowing for breaks, discussion and questions.

    I'm in the process of building up my course outline and presentation. I have quite a bit of material prepared already, but I don't want to miss anything good. So my question to the MR folks is: Given the intended audience, what do you think is essential to cover in a short period of time, particularly in the tricks, tips and shortcuts category?
  2. ero87 macrumors 65816


    Jan 17, 2006
    New York City
    Maybe show off OSX's ability to change shortcuts; that way audience members won't be as nervous about remembering every shortcut they learn.

    Also, make sure you teach them about downloading programs. I've come across a bunch of my friends who are naive Mac users and I find dozens of scattered .dmg files on their desktops.

    This is a really cool thing you're doing btw, must be fun...
  3. G99 macrumors 6502


    Mar 8, 2006
    Maybe talk about Automator a little. If you master Automator, you get immense confidence. To see something they created come to life should be astounding for your audience, and it will make them feel more secure on OS X.
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    If this is for people who don't necessarily use Macs that often, I think iLife would be really good to talk about in depth. But I'm not sure if that makes sense if it's what I would normally consider someone wanting to be a "power user."
  5. yippy macrumors 68020


    Mar 14, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Using the command line to force actions, like deleting.

    Booting off of different disks (firewire, target disk mode, restore CD).

    Show the file layout, like where it is ok to touch and where not. Also go through what they can find in the library, that is the most often used "forbidden" folder.

    Networking, as much as you can.

    Tell them that what makes a good user is not that they know the answer but that they are good at finding it.

    Terminology and significance of: OS(operating system),booting,hard drive,preference file,library,system folder,terminal, command line,HD,path names (example ~/Documents), RAM,memory,storage,GB,Mb ect.
    maybe give them a cheat sheet on this last one so they can have it on hand.
  6. quigleybc macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2005
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
    If they are former Windows users, maybe do a comparison like....for example

    right click now = Cntl Click

    and, get into iLife A Lot..

    good luck
  7. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    A lot of good suggestions, thanks! Keep 'em coming. :)

    I won't know the knowledge and experience levels of the students until the class starts, so I think I need to be somewhat flexible about what I cover. My intention is to get into that space where a somewhat knowledgeable Mac user could go away with something useful they didn't know before, and the less experienced user feeling more confident and in control.

    Some iLife basics couldn't hurt, but I think the more experienced users might find that too rudimentary. I'd need to come up with some usage tips that an experienced but relatively causal user might have missed. Thoughts?
  8. VanNess macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2005
    One little feature that might be overlooked is whenever you make a change to document, OS X places a black dot inside the red close button (replacing the "x") of the document window to remind you that changes have been made.

    For power users, there is the little known trick of being able to summon the sound control panel directly by hitting the option key and any of the three volume keys on the keyboard (the Apple keyboard that is, Mac mini users who have non-Apple keyboards might be left out of that party). Likewise, option and either F14 or F15 (the brightness/contrast keys) brings up the monitor control panel.

    Spotlight should get a lot of attention. Above and beyond it's search abilities, it's pretty well known as a handy application launcher, but it can also launch other things such as individual control panels (System-wide Spotlight from the menu bar also knows the various keywords used by the System preference search box, so if you type "wallpaper" into Spotlight, the Desktop control panel will be in the result list.

    I have way too many widgets, so sometimes scrolling through pages and pages of widgets in the widget bar doesn't do it for me, so I use Spotlight to launch individual widgets. Select a widget in the result list and dashboard opens with the widget front and center, ready to go. I also use the Spotlight comment field in the get info window to categorize some widgets, so if I want to see my collection of shopping widgets, I type shopping into Spotlight, and all my widgets tagged as shopping are right there.

    Type "rock" into Spotlight and all my rock songs in iTunes show up. Likewise for jazz and so on. The little blue window is all powerful in Tiger.
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    For iLife, some things that not all experienced users are familiar with might be...

    iTunes -- some fun tricks with smart playlists (like playlists of songs you like but haven't listened to recently, songs you've never listened to, etc). Maybe also how to make a ringtone out of a song would be a fun way to introduce some advanced techniques. I know someone here mentioned recently that there's a trick where, if you set start and stop times on a song, and then convert it to MP3 from the advanced menu, you get just the snippet between the start and stop times in the MP3 file. Stuff like that?

    Maybe along this vein, you could also show one of the apps for recording internet radio, like audio hijack or wiretap or irecordmusic.

    iPhoto -- Going into all of the different photo editing features, since this has really been expanded over time.

    iDVD -- maybe how to burn disk images and use them, since this comes up periodically.

    iMovie -- maybe how to integrate iPhoto and iTunes content?

    iWeb -- I don't know anything at all about this program, so... ;)
  10. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    More good suggestions, thanks! :)

    Another tip just occurred to me: I wonder how many Mac users know that Undo works in the Finder?
  11. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    IMO: Simple troubleshooting steps
  12. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Yup, they'll get an entire section on troubleshooting and maintenance. Single user mode, repairing permissions, kernel panics, disk utility, fsck, target disk mode, etc. Hmm, I wonder if my projector will work in single user mode? Must check that.
  13. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    I do now, thanks.

    Mabye show them how to customise the dock - keep icons on the dock, deleting them - new users might get scared of their app turning into a puff of smoke. Also turning effects on or off.
  14. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603


    Aug 20, 2005
    Thank you Jah...I'm so Blessed
    Let them know that office for mac is just as capable as the windows version along with great apps that work excellent with OSX.

    Make sure to mention OSX keeps itself clean on a regular...:)

  15. motulist macrumors 68040


    Dec 2, 2003
    The first thing I'd do is poll them through a show of hands as to what level they're really at. Poll them if they've never really used any computer before, if they've never really used a Mac before, if they've used Macs for under a year, or if they've used Macs for several years but are looking to become more of a power user.

    For real general computer basics I'd cover click, double click, drag, click and hold, menus, starting up, shutting down sleeping.

    If this is for people who need to learn the real Mac basics then I'd hit things like trashing and emptying trash, stress the sleep should usually be used instead of shutdown, expose, the finder (labels, different view and sort options, etc.), command-tab, the names and use of modifier keys, key shortcuts, Spotlight, system prefs, the dock, safari (tabs), burning cds., get info, definitely installing and uninstalling, intro to ports (like usb, headphone, etc.) connecting devices (cameras, printers etc.)

    For more intermediates I'd hit target disk mode, repairing permissions, 3rd party utilities like Onyx or TinkerTool, advanced Find searches (not spotlight, apple-f), simple terminal uses, etc.

    No matter what level you teach I'd leave them with a 1 page piece of paper that they can take as a reference. It should list the important things you covered such as terms, definition and shortcuts and it should also have a list of websites such as guides.macrumors.com and versiontracker.com.
  16. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Yes, I planned on polling the students on their skill levels at the start, although obviously I can't completely change what I present on that basis. I'll also be sending them away with a CD containing the Keynote slides (in PDF form) which will include most of the information I presented as well as the freeware applications I'll be demonstrating.
  17. beatle888 macrumors 68000


    Feb 3, 2002

    cool feature but isnt it best to stick with the default settings? it always seemed a little weird changing the default settings on key commands. ive done it for one command but would never make a habit of it.

    anyway, for the course. teach them about different views and how they can easily switch between them. and show them how they can customize their windows to have buttons at the top of every window to allow them to switch a folder windows view with one click of a button. teach them the benefits of each view for example, list view to find the latest modified or view by "kind" and column view to easily navigate and move files. show them the "copy" feature that allows users to select a file and use the contectual menu to copy it to memory than past it in a new directory.

    and of course teach them to open the dictionary and choose (in the dictionary application) "Preferences" "open dictionary in panel". then whenever your in a cocoa application you can "command control D" and a cool definition panel pops up.

    also, showing them how to use the left panel in finder windows is cool. teach them about how their folders in their user space is set up and encourage them to use apples default folders (Documents, Movies....) until they are comfortable makeing their own organizational system. Turn on tabbed browsing since they most likely wont know about it. show them how the finder remembers the last finder window position. this is helpful if you like your finder windows set up a specific way. each new finder window will be the same size and in the same location. teach them about expose hot corners. about the different views in a save and open dialog box. show them the print utility application and also show them how to delete applications.

    no way a three hour course will do it. how about you, as the teacher, download a shareware application that lets you make a movie of your desktop and you can make them mini movies of all the tricks. notify them to bring a CD and you can burn them copies. that way they can have mini quick time movies of all the lessons and more. honestly the mini movies are going to be more helpful than any three hour course.

    and congratulations on your class. very nice of you.

    oh yeah, energy control panel for laptop users. also, let them know that widgets take up ram resources and if they go widget crazy their system can run slow.
  18. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Yes - good point about being scared of the puff of smoke. It's a good thing to clarify that those are just aliases, and removing them doesn't affect the original item at all.

    I think the use of folders in the dock - which get placed on the right "Trash" side - is often overlooked.

    Of course, I expect you'll mention MR ;). And I'd hope they'd leave with some URLs to other helpful sites - prt of being a power user is knowing where to look.

    Startup Items might also be worth a mention, particularly for users who otherwise spend time starting the same apps up each time they log in.

    Smart Folders are used often by me, and it's a bit of an effort to figure them out - especially placing them other than on the Desktop - so they might be worth a mention as well.

    And, finally, I'd mention the use of separate admin accounts (also ties into Fast User Switching) as an important safety measure.
  19. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Actually, cmd-cont-d pops the dictionary definition no matter what is set in Dictionary preferences. Not sure what the "open dictionary in panel" selection does. Makes no difference, so far as I can tell.

    More good suggestions, thanks. As of this weekend, I had 11 or 12 students signed up, so it looks like a "go." I'm hoping for 15-20, which I may still get. I'm told people often sign up for these classes at the last minute. With a bit of luck I can make this a quarterly offering. It'll be a lot easier the second time!
  20. Nar1117 macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2006
    Maybe, towards the end of the class, get a bit into talking about the real power with the underlying UNix structure and Terminal. Maybe demonstrate some ordinary things with terminal commands or stuff along those lines. Stress that Terminal is really the heart of the system and you can really screw the system up if you mess with it too much.

    Sounds like a cool class.
  21. annk Administrator


    Staff Member

    Apr 18, 2004
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    I can't believe this came up first in post number 18! :eek: :D

    Don't just mention MR, find a couple questions that've been asked, and answered quickly and well. One newbie question, and one more advanced. Finding this site really made me start exploring my machine - it meant so much that there was a community for user support, free and fast and GOOD.

    Someone mentioned freeware - I think picking out a few good free apps and demonstrating them (follow one through the whole process, finding it on a site, downloading, installing, opening...) is a great idea. MediaCentral, widgets, the list is endless.

    I bet this will be so popular, they will want a series of classes.

    Are you planning on having a website they can go to afterward, with links to various good Mac sites and the text of your course?

    Great class, I wish I could go! Good luck. Post back and tell us how it went, and if there were any interesting or unexpected aspects (like the sorts of questions people had, what impressed them etc).
  22. dylan macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2005

    The open dictionary in panel refers to he contextual menu item "Look up in Dictionary".

    To start off just a basic run through of standard OS X graphical interfaces would work well I think. Just to give them an idea of what all of the visual cues mean and how they should interact with the programs (ie. clicking the title bar to bring a window to the front before working with it). Make sure you cover the help system as it is a great reference.

    Then a quick run through with all the included apps.

    I'm not sure what else you should cover though. Personally I wouldn't get into keyboard shortcuts more then just giving them a list. Focus more on the more universal stuff.
  23. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    I like your optimism! About 90% of making a class a success is marketing, and marketing is the toughest thing for me to accomplish. I managed to get the notice mailed out to the membership of our local MUG, and I think this netted me about a half-dozen students. The rest, so far, seem to have found out about it from the printed course catalog. But I am looking for a more effective way of reaching my audience. All suggestions welcomed!

    I'm considering it. I'd like to, but it depends on whether I have the time. For sure, they will get a CD.
  24. simie macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2004

    Thats a great idea Yellow - I reckon that you should include the following

    Backing up data - hard drive, DVD-R etc..
    File management (house Keeping) putting files into folders - cleaning out temp files etc
    Spotlight - finding data; this could any thing form a Word doc through to a jpg
    Disk Utility - getting the most form it.
    Initializing a new hard drive.
    USB & network printers and their drivers
    Wired and wireless routers
    Networks - connecting to a Windows Box (file sharing across a LAN)

    All of the above seem to regular topics on MacRumors.
  25. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Feb 23, 2006
    I would suggest, as a "Power User" type of OS X course, that you cover quite a bit of the Terminal, and the UNIX background that OS X has.

    Big emphasis on scripting with Applescript, nobody knows about that at all! Applescript is a huge plus for OS X compared to windows, as well as it's more user-friendly GUI Automator

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