Advice on helping my parents adjust to using a Mac for first time

LincolnsiPod

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 20, 2009
654
95
Hi all,

Bought my parents a Mac Mini, and to help with the adjustment process, I'm trying to figure out a few things:

1. How can I remap the Microsoft keyboard so the CTRL key operates as a Command key? I've dug into the keyboard preferences but it seems to have changed since Lion. Will I have to use a third party app to accomplish this? (I'd get an Apple keyboard but they're adamant about keeping the old keyboard for now)

2. And free solitaire/freecell games I can find for them to play with?

3. Is there a way to get the widgets on the dashboard moved to the desktop instead, similar to how the widgets show in Windows 7?

That's pretty much it. I do believe I've made converts out of them, so I'm happy. :D
 

KScottMyers

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2009
236
2
Orlando, FL
Hi LincolnsiPod,

1. I don't suggest remapping the Control or Command keys. Thats how the Mac works and was invisioned from its inception (over 25 years ago). The command key is conveniently positioned for your thumb - making it easy to select modifier functions such as cut, copy, paste and quit. I suggest living with it for a while and soon it will feel completely normal.

2. There are many free solitaire games. Just do a quick search on Apple's App Store. All with user ratings.

3. Open up ‘System Preferences’ and click on ‘Mission Control’ and uncheck the box that reads ‘Show Dashboard as a space’ They will now show up over the desktop.

Have fun.
 
Last edited:

LincolnsiPod

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 20, 2009
654
95
Thanks for the suggestions!

I don't want to map it either but it's awkward using the windows/logo key for what used to be the function of the CTRL key. If they don't complain about it though I'll leave it alone.

Solitaire games I've seen, but oddly FreeCell games are lacking in the Mac Store, even the paid ones have gotten crap reviews. That's why I was wondering if anyone knew of a really solid one.

Thanks for the Mission Control tip!

----------

While I'm at it I had another question: My parents still have leftover documents in WPS format (I think that's Microsoft Works). I need to get these files converted as well. Anyone have tips on the best Mac alternative where these files can either be converted or read properly so my parents can continue to use them?
 

KScottMyers

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2009
236
2
Orlando, FL
While I'm at it I had another question: My parents still have leftover documents in WPS format (I think that's Microsoft Works). I need to get these files converted as well. Anyone have tips on the best Mac alternative where these files can either be converted or read properly so my parents can continue to use them?
I believe you can open MS Works files in Word and then save them out as native Word files.
 

DisMyMac

macrumors 65816
Sep 30, 2009
1,087
11
Hi all,
1. How can I remap the Microsoft keyboard so the CTRL key operates as a Command key? I've dug into the keyboard preferences but it seems to have changed since Lion. Will I have to use a third party app to accomplish this? (I'd get an Apple keyboard but they're adamant about keeping the old keyboard for now)
Go to System Preferences, click Keyboard, click "Modifier Keys..." (in the lower right corner), then set them to whatever.

2. And free solitaire/freecell games I can find for them to play with?
This is a pretty safe site for trying new software: http://www.macupdate.com/

Lots of solitaire games there. "Klondike Forever" is good and it's free.

3. Is there a way to get the widgets on the dashboard moved to the desktop instead, similar to how the widgets show in Windows 7?
Apparently you could do that in Tiger (google "display widgets on desktop"), but I don't know if it works in Lion. Hitting F12 is probably easiest.

While I'm at it I had another question: My parents still have leftover documents in WPS format (I think that's Microsoft Works). I need to get these files converted as well. Anyone have tips on the best Mac alternative where these files can either be converted or read properly so my parents can continue to use them?
I think any of the OpenOffice programs will work - try LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org, or NeoOffice. The first two are free, and NeoOffice is donateware ($10). I can't imagine why anyone would pay $150 for MS Office these days...
 

LeandrodaFL

macrumors 6502a
Apr 6, 2011
962
1
I just have to second the answer to not alter your keys. You have to get used to using the command key. As a matter of fact, is a better way to do shortcuts wich is healthier to your hand, and your parents will thank apple for this.

Also, try openoffice.org, no reason to buy office anymore
 

LincolnsiPod

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 20, 2009
654
95
I just have to second the answer to not alter your keys. You have to get used to using the command key. As a matter of fact, is a better way to do shortcuts wich is healthier to your hand, and your parents will thank apple for this.

Also, try openoffice.org, no reason to buy office anymore
Yeah I thought it would be easier, but didn't realize the windows key would automatically be mapped to serve as the command key, so that takes care of one issue. :D
 

LincolnsiPod

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 20, 2009
654
95
One thing I forgot to mention. Tell them DO NOT buy a overpriced HDMI cable if they want to connect to a TV. Point them to Monoprice (here is their HDMI cable selections and their CAT 6 Ethernet Cables).
Might be a while before they ever connect it to a TV, the irony of it is I'm actually having issues with the HDMI/DVI connection I have now to the monitor we're using (started another thread on it.) Ugh.
 

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