New to OS X, few questions.

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by shuurajou, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. shuurajou macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Bristol, England.
    #1
    Hi folks, I'm a veteran windows user and took the plunge to get a mac so I could play with this attractive operating system :).

    A few questions about OS X which have puzzled me since my useage of it.

    1. The zoom button seems to function oddly to me incomparison to what I'm used to with the maximize button in windows. It always seems random in what it zooms to. The best I can describe it as, is that it seems zoom in, only as much is needed for that website or program? Am I understanding this right?

    2. With the Dock, I understand the yellow button, shrinks the current window/app into the dock. However, the use of the red button confuses me. As normally a Windows user, I'm used to the x (or in this case the red button), terminating the app, but most of the time I click the red button, it looks like it's closing the app as I would expect, but then I still have the tiny black triangle indicating this is not the case. Which then I have to close it again via the top left. This is a bit of a pain to me, is this right? Maybe I'm miss-understanding the meaning of the black triangel. I just have this idea that all the programs with black triangles are still using up resources yet I've closed them.

    Thanks for any help to a new mac user guys (well, I did use them for a few years at around 1999 :)).
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London
    #2
    The zoom button is meant to make the window as big as it needs to be to view the content. This can be smaller than the current size!

    The close window button does just that. It closes that window. If the application works with documents it should leave the app open (you might have other documents open for example). If the application is single window (not a document app) like System Preferences it should close the whole application. Think of the red button as being like closing a single document in Word or Excel (or any other Windows MDI app) and Quit as closing the whole application.

    Don't worry about using resources! This is not Windows! Unless you have very little RAM (256Mb might be a problem) having lots of open apps is not an issue. Apps with no open windows or documents should use about 0% of the CPU and probably are not using all that much RAM either. There are exceptions to this rule though (MS Word being one of them).
     
  3. munkle macrumors 68030

    munkle

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Location:
    On a jet plane
    #3
    Some little tips to quit apps:

    - command(apple button)-q, will quit the app you are currently using.
    - command-tab, will let you cycle through the apps you have open. Whilst holding the command button you can press 'q' to quit the app currently selected.
    - for the mouse inclined you can click and hold the dock icon to bring up a sub menu and quit from there.

    The closing/not quitting thing used to confuse me as well when I first switched but I've now come to appreciate the extra control this allows me. And as robbieduncan pointed out, OSX's excellent multi tasking abilities makes it a non issue really. Keep enjoying your Mac! :)
     
  4. shuurajou thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Bristol, England.
    #4
    Thanks for you reply, just to confirm my understanding of what you just stated:

    The red button is just for closing open app windows, but not the app itself. One-window programs, that you close, will fully stop, programs like pages, textedit etc won't?

    The odd thing is though, Safari stays open after I've closed all it's windows, but I wouldn't really consider it a document program.

    Thanks for all the help, I do have a few more questions though.

    I have multiple accounts setup on my iMac G5, I can create aliases of apps to put on my desktop, but, on another profile, there is no option for this? I haven't setup any alias creation restrictions, although it is not a fully enabled account.

    And how much you go about changing icons for aliases. I have created a shortcut to my applications folder in my dock, but I'd like for it to have application folders icon.

    Lastely, I've seen these cool 'weather widgets' ? around on peoples screenshots of their desktops. How could I get these, or other things like these? Thanks :).
     
  5. shuurajou thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jan 25, 2005
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    #5
    Thanks for the tips! Loving this Mac community already :). I'm sure I'll keep enjoying it.
     
  6. Badradio macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Location:
    Manchester
    #6
    As I understand it - and I could well be wrong here - the zoom button toggles between the default window size as dictated by the app, and the window size you've previously dragged the window out to. That way, you can switch between the default view and your own view; and that can mean the window gets smaller if you've squashed it down to make room for something else.

    Adding to Munkle's tips, I use command-w to close windows (such as multiple word docs or Finder windows). I rarely use the red button; takes some hitting on an iBook.

    It does take time to get used to the way apple implements application windows, but it makes more sense once you are used to it.
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #7
    Apple consider a web-page to be a document (QuickTime works the same way to, although without QT Pro it's basically just a viewer not an editor). The best way to think of it is anything that can have multiple windows (not including things like preferences windows) open will stay open even if you close all the windows...

    Instead of creating an alias just open a Finder window and drag the Applications folder to the Dock. This will not move the applications folder, but it will have the correct icon.

    Konfabulator?
     
  8. Brize macrumors 6502a

    Brize

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Europe
    #8
    Just thought I'd mention that you don't really want to get into the habit of quitting apps when it's not necessary. OS X will quit all open apps when you shut down, so unlike Windows, you don't need to worry about that.

    All of the switchers that I've known have come to appreciate the distinction between closing and quitting apps, despite the initial learning curve. The reason being that it usually takes just a fraction of a second to open an app that's already running. It's generally far more economical to leave your commonly used apps running in the background (as indicated by the black triangle) than to open them from scratch every time.
     
  9. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #9
    Select the icon you want to change, then choose "get info" from the File menu. Then click on the picture of the icon in the top of the "get info" window. You can copy and paste a pre-existing icon (from another "get info" window) to replace the icon.
     
  10. munkle macrumors 68030

    munkle

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Location:
    On a jet plane
    #10
    Meteorologist is a good freeware option. Also do a search for freeware/shareware apps, there have been some very good threads on the subject in the past. Remember the search function is your friend!

    The one app that I can't live without is Quicksilver. Go and download it now, it'll change the way you use your computer! :)
     
  11. Logik macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
    #11
    Don't forget to explain the Hide function (i did a quick skim and didn't see it explained so forgive me if i am being redundent)

    If you press Command(apple button) + H it hides the current application. It's similar to minimize but it doesn't take up space in the dock other than for the actual application icon. I fire up iCal and since i only look at it occassionally i hit Command+H and hide it, to get it back i either Command+Tab or click the iCal icon and it instantly pops up for me to use, hit Command+H again and it hides it and it's outta the way until i need it again.

    Another neat tip, to cycle through all running apps (this was mentioned) press Command+Tab, once you've done that, by holding down Command and tapping the ` key (the one above tab) you can cycle backwards through the list. To quit an application Command+Tab to it, holding down Command and not letting go hit the Q button once it's the boxed item in the Command+Tab list, to hide that application substitute Q for H, to minimize, substitute Q or H for M.

    To Cycle through all windows in the currently running application press Command+` and it'll cycle through all windows open within the currently selected application.. say you have 3 firefox windows open, Command+` will cycle through all three until it gets to the first again and then repeats.

    Hide All Others is a neat one too, once in awhile i'll get a mess of windows and i just wanna see one thing so you hit .. crap i forget the actual shortcut (using windows now.. dur) but if you select the Application menu item, it is in there and says "Hide All Others"

    There are a ton of tips .. i'll think of some more and throw them together

    I also second Quicksilver or Launchbar.. both are superb applications, one or the other will likely fit your needs.

    www.blacktree.com

    www.launchbar.com
     
  12. shuurajou thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Bristol, England.
    #12
    Wow folks! The Mac communtiy sure is great!

    Thanks so much for all the hints/tips/help and for all the detailed and extensive answers to my questions. It's really helping me appreciate OS X more and more. Sadly I'm at work right now on a Windows system, and now I want to go home early to play with my Mac :).

    If you guys feel like it, any more tips will not go under-appreciated :).
     
  13. varmit macrumors 68000

    varmit

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    #14
    A few tips

    To keep your Mac in good working condition, remember to Repair Permissions after any installation or OS X update that asks for your Administrator name and password. Instructions here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=89736

    If you want to find a program that can do something, but you don't have a clue if there is a program that does it, look it up on www.versiontracker.com The Example I like to use: itunes alarm clock

    I don't believe anyone answered the Green button question just right. That button is more of a "fit to content". Say you have a Safari window open with Macrumors.com page open. If you hit the button, Safari will shrink the window, because macrumors has been setup to be able to show its website in such a small window. Click it again and the window will grow downward till the Safari window touches the Dock, once again its more of a "fit to content" button than a maximize. Where as when using another program, it might want to display everything in a bigger window, so it will enlarge when you hit it the first time.

    Any problems, come back here and post in the correct forum, and people will help you out as best as they can.
     
  14. shuurajou thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Bristol, England.
    #15
    Wow, great link mate, has helped me out with alot of grey area's I had about OS X, I owe you :).

    Thanks for the information.

    I'm very keen on keeping my OS X system clean of junk and things that are left-overs. I hated spring cleaning in Windows, I'm hoping that I can do it with more effectiveness and ease in OS X (as I'm sure will be the case). I'm curious as to what this repair actually does (I like to understand things), or why it's needed.

    Thanks for the link to version info, it'll be useful in my search for mac equivalent applications that I'm used to having on my PC.

    I think I understand the green button now, thanks to everybodys input, much appreciated.
     
  15. quidire macrumors 6502

    quidire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    #16
    Hmm what to tell a new switcher....
    On Software:
    • Some people prefer www.macupdate.com to www.versiontracker.com
    • Quicksilver (mentioned before several times) is amazing - if you take 15 minutes to read the online introduction. Without doing so it is just a launcher app, and as such very much Launchbar's peer. Learn how to use it, and any computer, Mac or PC, will seem broken without it. QS is free.
    • Adium X is a multiprotocol IM client, if iChat doesn't do the trick. It is free.
    • SubEthaEdit is without parallel in *nix or Windows. The ability to collaborate is truly addictive. Note that SEE is free for noncommercial use.
    • There are several good RSS aggregators. NetNewsWire is the market-share leader, and has the most polished, if bland, interface. (the 2.0 beta is the only one worth using. The 1.x series is archaic) The full version costs money after 30 days, there is a "lite" version that does what it needs to, and is free. If free is desired, also look at NewsFire. The developer is a bit unpopular with the Mac community, but this piece of software is not! It is visually without peer, and quite functional otherwise, now that it allows one to group feeds.
    • Look into Growl (free)
    • Omnigroup has several applications that are well worth looking into. Omniweb 5.1 is the most advanced web browser for the Mac (if you are willing to pay for a web browser). OmniGraffle is a Microsoft Visio-style flowchart/diagramming program. (the Professional version is Visio compatible) OmniOutliner is just an outlining app, but will quickly become addictive for everything from recording thoughts on local takeout, putting together grocery lists, to planning requirement specs for large scale development projects! (None of these are free) Your iMac may come with old versions of the latter two programs...
    • if you find your screen getting cluttered with many apps' windows, don't forget about OS X 10.3's Exposé feature. If that doesn't do enough, try Virtue or Desktop Manager. Both are "virtual desktop" apps, and are free.
    • The Mac "shareware/freeware" market thrives because people really do contribute. That $5 or $10, when provided by all of us, funds development like SEE, Quicksilver, Adium X, etc

    On Hardware:
    • Never buy anything from MacMice; for reasons why just use this forum's search function for "TheMouse BT". Now that product has middling reviews, most not thrilled but not upset. However combine that with the company's sordid history (under other names) (again, available on this forum somewhere) and you'll see that you are just better off not dealing with them unless you must.
    • For TiVo functionality, look to Elgato System's EyeTV 200 to hook your Mac up to your cable connection, and the EyeHome to get any sort of audio or video from your computer to your TV (EyeHome is best combined with Apple's Airport Express) This resulting suite gives you as much space as you want to record what you want (insofar as you can always add an external harddrive or two to your mac, and EyeTV does not have TiVo's... use restrictions), and the ability to take that video and do with it as you would; create a screensaver made of clips from your favorite movies and TV programs, create your own "Mystery Science Theatre 3K" review of whatever video feed, have as complex a set of programmatic interactions with your TV choices thanks to applescript (ie record this show only if an email has arrived in my Inbox entitled "Record show #3 - GO" or whatever) (and there is none of TiVo's monthly fee)
    • For telephony integration look to Ovolab's Phlink. It is hard to overstate the versatility of this device and its accompanying software. (Again, Applescriptable to your heart's content)
    • a surprising useful input device that is rather off the beaten path is Griffin Technology's Powermate (best in aluminum, says I)
    • if you are an NPR fan but are never around for the good stuff, Griffin's Radioshark is TiVo (or EyeTV) for Radio.
    • LaCie is well thought of for storage needs, both in external hard drives and dvd-r/rws

    I hope at least some of this is useful...

    -RS
     
  16. quidire macrumors 6502

    quidire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    #17
    Mac OS X is a very well designed GUI (graphical user interface) sitting atop Unix. The reason that OS X is more secure and resistant to virus attacks and the like is the Unix security model.

    Basically every program and file is owned by some user or another. You may see two users on the login screen, but there are a dozen others, all used by the system. No user (human or computer) can read or write over another's files without the owner of that file having lowered the security on it in advance. (Users:Sharing is a directory where most of the security settings have been lowered to allow anyone to read and potentially write/delete) As programs have the same privileges as the user that is running them, they too are constrained thusly.

    The ownership of files and the security level placed upon them are collectively known as "permissions. To repair permissions is to have the computer go through and make sure no file is accidentally owned by the wrong user, or at an incorrectly high security level. Everything after this point is just further elaboration, the previous sentence is the answer to your question/

    All of the functions critical to keeping the system going (raw access to the screen or the hard drive, most of the more important programs running behind the scenes) are owned and/or run by a user by the name of "root". Only this user can do many of the things that viruses need to be able to do to accomplish their goals. In turn, most of those areas where viruses could enter (downloads and the like) as they are not owned nor run by root are rendered harmless; even if you did run a program with a virus in it, what harm could it do unless you made the mistake of running it as root?

    Some programs are what is called "suid", meaning no matter who runs them, they have the authority of the owner of their file. These are often the way viruses get access to the system. In OS X all suid programs are owned by root or other system users. That way no user could accidentally allow a virus to infect a suid program.

    Repairing permissions is "suid". However the program that does this was written by Apple, and while any user can run it, they can't write to it, and thus can't infect it with a virus. That way, the Repairing permissions program can have root clearance without being a danger to the security of the system

    Windows partially implements this model in NT, 2000 and now XP. The problem is that a long time ago most of the higher graphical and network functions were moved into root's purview out of laziness (it is FAR easier to write a program assuming you can do anything than to write it assuming a user with limited power is operating it) and ordinary users' programs were given access to those mundane functions. Even ActiveX controls were in this "kernel space" (don't ask), and thus any random website could break into your computer using your webbrowser. This is now less possible, as Microsoft has backed away from ActiveX as a replacement for Java.

    This meant that if a user opened an email in Outlook express, the ensuing execution of a virus might be happening under the aegis of a normal user, but since that user could reach into root's domain (in order to do things like have content on the screen, or send/receive anything over the internet) the virus could quickly empower itself with root's abilities, and thus can then do anything it wants.

    Further Microsoft feared normal users couldn't and wouldn't understand and accept file-level security. This means that pretty much any file can be altered by a determined user. That means any virus can infect suid programs and thus take over the system that way.

    OS X didn't take these shortcuts. All of the users' actions are still kept at an arm's length, and so viruses have less ability to get themselves going. A virus in 1989 that infected a DOS computer could erase your harddrive. An OS X virus could not. Today's "worms" take over your network interface to use your computer as a repeater. They do so on a low enough level that you can't always tell they are doing so, as a user. They can't do this in OS X.

    However Apple realized that MS had a point; normal users can't and won't get involved with file premissions, chmod commands and the like. So they created an app that would be a one-stop-shop for any problems arising from permissions mismatches

    OS X isn't perfectly secure; nothing can be. Microsoft is spending a lot of money and time trying to play the Little Dutch Boy to it's operating system's security Dam. However they are structurally unsound, and so in the arms race between virus and OS, the virus makers have an advantage over MS regarding windows. They have no such advantage over Apple regarding OS X.
     
  17. shuurajou thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Bristol, England.
    #18
    Wow! Thanks quidire for all the extra info on programs and things. I've been having difficulties with iChat as it doesn't seem to log in at all, which is a pain. Audium X sounds great, I did try to use MSN messenger, but file transfer is buggy and there is no webcam of voice chat modes either. But, what would I expect from Microsoft? I hope Audium has this option somewhere, or I can get my AIM login to work on iChat.

    There is one question that remains unanswered though. Is there any reason, that other (restricted) users on my Mac cannot create aliases? I could not see an option in accounts to restrict/unrestrict this.
     
  18. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #19
    In what way(s) are the other users "restricted"? If, for example, the Simple Finder is set up for them, I don't think they can alter the Desktop at all (e.g., by trying to create aliases, among other things...).
     
  19. quidire macrumors 6502

    quidire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    #20
    I should warn you; Adium is still pre-1.0 beta software. Specifically, their file transfer code needs work too, and webcam/voice has not yet been implemented. It's a reverse-engineer project, and so isn't privy to the new protocol enhancements until they decode them.

    WRT aliases, I have to admit I don't know. I don't have any restricted users right now. However to get the broadest audience for your question I suggest you repost it. (just that question, with something like
    "Cannot create Aliases in Restricted-Privilege User accounts! Help!"
    as the title.

    Good luck! (and welcome to the community!)

    -RS
     
  20. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #21
    Also: stunning summary, quidire!

    You learn something new every day. Just today, I realized that hitting ⌘-1, ⌘-2, and ⌘-3 alters the views in Finder folders. Yes, of course, it's right there in the View menu, but I'd always used the icons and never noticed before. Always something....

    And, BTW, one of my favorite features is the auto-spellchecking when posting - just right (or control) click in the area you type your replies into, and select Spelling->Check Spelling as You Type. Nice.
     
  21. shuurajou thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Bristol, England.
    #22
    Wow! Built in spell checking on forums, that is something cool :). Can't stop finding newer and newer info in OS X, great stuff guys, keep-'em coming if you think of anything. I'm desperately and anciously awaiting my RAM right now, 256mb really doesn't cut it! But, I'll have to live with it untill then :rolleyes:.
     

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