Just hit purchase on my 1st Mac. Any suggestions to n00b

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Homer-J, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. Homer-J macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    #1
    i've had many an iPhone & love my iPad, but have always had a windows pc as the backbone of the system. it's dying so to complete the ecosystem, got my 1st mac. any suggestions as to enhance the experience, i.e. maintenance or utility apps. what ever software advice or wisdom to bestow upon this group
     
  2. vastoholic, Oct 27, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012

    vastoholic macrumors 68000

    vastoholic

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    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
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    #2
    Congrats and just enjoy it. I'm not sure if you're asking about 3rd party maintenance or utility apps, but they shouldn't be needed. I've never installed anything else. The only time I had to use the Activity Monitor to close out a process was when I changed the background of my Notification center.

    If you're use to Microsoft Office and really use the programs to their full capabilities, I'd stick with them instead of the iWork suite. On the same token, iWork is cheap enough you could buy it anyway and see which one you like and still fits your needs. iWork is generally compatible with Office, but not the other way around (I can open Office files in iWork but can't open iWork files in Office).

    Since I switched in 2008 I haven't looked back. The only thing tempting me to go back to windows is the possibility of building a gaming machine again if/when the Xbox 360 dies on me.
     
  3. flatfoot99 Guest

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #3
    sounds silly, but I've been watching the videos and reading the articles here:

    http://www.apple.com/findouthow/mac/#anatomy

    very basic, but it's a start.
     
  4. vastoholic macrumors 68000

    vastoholic

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    #4
    Not a bad idea actually. I did the same thing when I first started out.
     
  5. NutFlush920 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    #5
    Welcome to the wonderful life of Mac. You'll be very pleased with your purchase I'm sure. I switched to Mac early lat year and haven't locked back. Mac is a great OS and in my opinion blows Windows away. My wife is still learning little things on the Mac but I help her when she gets stuck.

    You don't really need any special "utility " programs. I do use Office 2011 though for my spreadsheet, presentation, and word processing needs.

    If you have any questions, I'm sure anyone here would be happy to help out.
     
  6. Homer-J thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    #6
    thanks for the suggestions! greatly appreciated.

    just wasn't sure if there was something i might be missing before i say to myself "I wish i knew that before i did ..."

    i've heard nothing but ease of use about this OS
     
  7. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 26, 2011
    #7
    Check out David Pogue's "Missing Manual: Mountain Lion." I think that it is around $10 for the Kindle edition. Install the Kindle app on your Mac or read it on your iPad.

    I think that Pogue's Missing Manual series are among the best computer books out there and I have read a LOT of computer books. I've been using Macs for over 15 years and I still keep a copy around; it's a great way to learn the ropes and new features when the OS is updated.

    The TidBITS "Take Control" series of ebooks are also excellent. They regularly have 50%-off sales.
     
  8. vastoholic macrumors 68000

    vastoholic

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    #8
    Just found this as well:

    http://macmost.com/downloads/MacMostKeyboardShortcutsMountainLion.pdf

    A nice printable list of keyboard shortcuts. I've been trying to force myself to use them more and more. Read somewhere an easy way to start remembering them is to print them off and hang them near your screen. You'll eventually start using them by habit.
     
  9. designs216 macrumors 65816

    designs216

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    Oct 26, 2009
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    #9
    I can't think of a thing besides what has been mentioned. Just sit back and reclaim all that time you've been spending maintaining your PC. The user experience on a Mac is the differentiator between the two breeds and it's much easier to go from PC to Mac than vice versa.
     
  10. cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

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    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #10
    Congrats on the purchase. Buying a Mac was the smartest thing I've done in years.
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #11
  12. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #12
    First off, if you haven't, buy AppleCare. I don't care what Mac it is, AppleCare is essential.

    Secondly, set up iCloud on it. If your iPad and iPhone are all running iOS 6, you'll find that the level of integration is charming and iCloud is the driving force of that.

    If you bought a MacBook Pro (be it retina or non-retina) or a MacBook Air, you'll absolutely want to have "Find My Mac" enabled, though it costs you no inconvenience to have it enabled on a desktop as well.

    Take advantage of Mountain Lion's Facebook integration; you'll be surprised by how convenient it is to post and share stuff.

    If you are not the type of person to use e-mail clients (by which I mean you go to your e-mail provider's website to check your mail), consider opening up Mail and setting up your mail there. Mail is one of the key reasons I can never switch back to using Windows primarily as it is by far the best e-mail client I have ever used. Setting up Messages for iMessage and/or AIM and/or Gchat and/or Facebook chat and/or Yahoo chat will also make you feel right at home. Doing the same for FaceTime (if it's a Mac mini or Mac Pro, consider getting a webcam as FaceTime is of a much higher video quality than Skype on average).

    As far as maintenance goes, just check for software updates once a week either via the Mac App Store or via the Apple Menu "Software Update" option; though most of those updates are reported about on this site, so if you are a regular here, you'll know what's coming out when it comes out. Still though, some of that news can get buried, so it's worth checking for yourself from time to time. Remember, the Mac App Store keeps its "purchased app" updates and its "system updates" separate from each other. Barring that, it might not hurt to get familiar with Disk Utility, which as far as maintenance is one of the most useful stock apps out there. Similarly, if you find yourself with programs that are misbehaving or crashing, Activity Monitor will give you a finer element of control than simply doing the Mac equivalent of Control-Alt-Delete (namely Command Option Escape).

    As for getting the hang of the Mac operating system, my strong recommendation is to just play around. When I first went to college in 2003, I took with me an Early 2001 iMac and a Toshiba Laptop from 1999. The Toshiba ended up being secondary as I spent most of my time and energy playing around OS X. It's pretty easy to pick up. By 2005, I had learned more about OS X in my two years of using it than I ever had about Windows in my ten years of using it prior. The thing to remember is that OS X will always prompt you before allowing you to anything truly catastrophic. In some cases, it won't even let you unless you enable the root user. It also helps to bear in mind how OS X is organized on your drive; you have the System folder where the OS itself lives, you have a system Library folder, the users folder and the Applications folder. All of those folders are commonly accessible to all users. Then you have your user account, in which you have a library folder that dictates and governs preferences specific to your user account, your documents folder, your desktop folder, your downloads folder, your pictures folder, movies folder, etc. To install programs, either run the installer, drag it to the applications folder, or download it from the Mac App Store. Bada bing bada boom. Again, just play around and you'll be surprised by how much you end up learning.

    If you like the idea of also having a Windows PC, use Boot Camp and you can alternate between using your Mac as a Windows PC or between using it as a Mac. For some, this is handy as all hell. Personally, I enjoy having my PCs and my Mac be separate machines, but taster's choice.

    Otherwise, play around and have fun. Welcome to the side with the greener grass.
     
  13. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 26, 2011
    #13
    Best price for AppleCare: the L.A. Computer Co. $95 vs. $149 from Apple.
     
  14. ianrip macrumors 6502

    ianrip

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    work:Oyu Tolgio, Home:LOS, From Scotland G15
    #14
    I’ve just taken the plunge as well, been using iphone & ipad for about 2 years, both PC laptops at home are dying, I’ve got a NAS installed to my router, And got 2 Smart TV's who can access the NAS, so I don't really need a PC for home use, only back up.
    so I thought I’d try a Mac mini as a hobby, its due to arrive sometime next month, I’m still at work until the 8th.
    I’ve managed to get a hold of the ebooks
    Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mountain Lion EditionI’ve stuck it on my ipad for now for now. I’m excited, but worried the Mini will arrive before I get home and the wife will find out!!:eek:
     
  15. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #15
    The Switching Missing Manual is good for people who need assistance moving data from their Windows box, etc. Most of the book is an abridged version of the regular Missing Manual.

    If you don't need the extra info in the Switching edition then the Mountain Lion edition is the way to go.

    Amazon makes it easy to read the table of contents from both books so you can see how they differ from each other and decide which is best for you.
     
  16. sunandsurf macrumors regular

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #16
    Revealing my ignorance but I didn't realize that you could get AC from anyone but Apple; thanks for the tip!
     
  17. Homer-J thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    #17
    excellent info from everyone. thank you!

    now i sit & wait for 2 weeks till it shows up on my doorstep
     
  18. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 26, 2011
    #18
    Just stay away from eBay... LOTS of rip-offs. The sellers who e-mail the serial number resell the number to multiple buyers. Only the first registrant obtains AppleCare even though the last time I checked Apple's online registration system allows multiple registrations of the same serial number. The buyer doesn't find out he has been scammed until he tries to use the warranty...
     
  19. flatfoot99 Guest

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    Aug 4, 2010
    #19
    best way to transfer PC iTunes and photos to new Mac?
     
  20. flatfoot99 Guest

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    Aug 4, 2010
    #21
    Thanks, I saw that but it's a bit confusing. I've ordered the mid Mac with ssd, and will need to store my music elsewhere. Both PC and Mac will be hooked up to a time capsule that currently has nothing stored on it. I'd like to put the music/pictures (about 400gb) on the 2tb time capsule until I come up with a better storage solution. I know how to drag and drop my pc music and photo libray to the time capsule, but then what? How do I get the Mac to know where the music/photos are?
     
  21. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #22
    In iTunes > Preferences > Advanced you will find where you can select your iTunes Media folder location. As for iPhoto, you would just import your photos from any location into the app.
     
  22. bluewooster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    #23
    After fantasizing for months about buying a new iMac (my first Mac), I also just bought the Mac Mini! (I don't know - I'm nervous about that new iMac - plus, the Mac mini just looks like such a great deal!)

    If I could ask about screen recommendations - I know there are other threads but I was specifically curious about the 27" apple Cinema Display. I've never seen one in person (no apple stores for hundreds of miles around me) but it looks quite nice on the web site. Still a good deal compared to some of the others out there? (Dell). I basically have to buy it without the luxury of seeing it.

    Also, to the above post recommending apple care, how necessary with Mac mini? I have never bought insurance on any computer product before. I was definitely planning to with an iMac but the Mac mini seems more reliable?
     
  23. flatfoot99 Guest

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    #24
    thanks! so I can just point the Mac mini to the windows iTunes and it will work? Also, can I keep my photos from iPhoto on an external hard drive?
     
  24. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #25
    Read the link I posted for how to move an existing iTunes library to a new computer. iPhoto doesn't store photos individually. It keeps them all in a single database file. When you import photos into iPhoto, it makes a copy of them in its own database.
     

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