New MBA owner advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by td1439, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. td1439 macrumors 6502

    td1439

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2012
    Location:
    Boston-ish
    #1
    Hi all:

    Last week I found a great deal on a 13" 2014 Air with base specs through Best Buy ($750 including tax). I've used Macbooks a fair amount, but this is my first Mac. I'm a teacher and I've got Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote installed on it for work use. This will be a work computer for the most part, meaning I will use it for email, Google apps/Evernote for my job, and web usage. (On a side note, if other teachers see this and have any recommendations for OSX apps for planning or grading, I'd love to hear them. I work at a private school and we don't use any school-wide software other than Google Apps.) It has Yosemite installed, which I'm fine with.

    I'm comfortable and reasonably literate with computers, but there are still some features of OSX I'm getting used to, such as not having easy access to folders except via a Finder search. So what advice do people have for a relative OSX newbie like me? (Or anything useful to know about the Macbook itself, such as taking care of the battery.) Thanks in advance!
     
  2. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #2
    I can help you with your two more specific questions here.

    First, the basic idea behind the Finder is that you can have a standard "Finder window" where you can navigate around. The most useful part of this window to you will probably be the left-hand side which essentially has shortcuts to different drives and folders.

    Try opening a new Finder window and clicking on your user name at the left. Should have a little icon of a home next to it. This will take you to your home folder on your internal drive. From there you can see all the sub-folders in your home folder, e.g., your Downloads, Desktop, Pictures, etc. Navigating around these for a bit should give you a good feel for how things are organized.

    With regard to the battery, the rule of thumb is to keep the laptop plugged in when it's convenient. Running on battery power puts wear on the battery. You can decide how much you want to avoid this.

    One other thing about batteries is that if they get too hot it can start a chemical reaction that might ruin them. So avoid things like e.g. leaving your laptop in bright sunlight in your car on a hot day, that sort of stuff.
     
  3. Ulenspiegel, Mar 28, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015

    Ulenspiegel macrumors 68020

    Ulenspiegel

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Location:
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    #3
    Hello,

    Congratulations on your new computer.
    I would suggest reading a book which is full of useful information: Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Yosemite Edition. And of course reading a lot on the net.

    There are apps that can help the user experience, you will find a lot of threads here dealing with this question.

    What concerns battery. The views and experience differ. I myself asked the same question of some of our experts here. So, I ended up keeping my MacBook plugged in when possible. There is a small free application that will give you infromation on your batteries' actual state: http://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/.
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    What did you mean here? :confused:
     
  5. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #5
    I think you might have misspoke here. Best practice is to not use the battery if you can avoid it.

    Of course it's a laptop so you will want to use it on battery power some of the time. What's the point of a laptop if you can't carry it around. But realize that that's not somehow good for the battery.
     
  6. td1439, Mar 28, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015

    td1439 thread starter macrumors 6502

    td1439

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2012
    Location:
    Boston-ish
    #6
    For some reason, I'm not seeing a home icon with my name. It lists Dropbox, All My Files, iCloud Drive, AirDrop, Applications, Desktop, Documents, Downloads, and Google Drive.

    EDIT: nevermind, fixed it. Thanks for the help!

    My school has a cart of MBP's in our computer center which I sometimes use when I have work to do but can't be in the room I share with my co-teacher. So up until now, I've been using those pretty often. So I've used some functions of a Macbook a good amount but never had my own. There's a lot I haven't tried to do or wanted to do since I was using a computer I didn't own.
     
  7. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    #7
    I think he meant he has used a MBP before but not a MBA.
     
  8. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68020

    Ulenspiegel

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Location:
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    #8
    Thank you, m8.
    Indeed, I meant one thing and wrote another.
    The mistake is corrected.
    Owe you one. ;)
     
  9. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #9
    Holly crap that was a long explanation for the original "used Macbook, but my first Mac." But OK it was necessary.

    All these mean is, you can now customize OSX the way you like it. To using Apps not on those MacBooks.

    I would just start to play with the trackpad preferences and changing gestures to your liking.

    And when I found finder hard to use, I downloaded XtraFind (free) to make it more to my liking.

    But, play with it first before deciding you want to change things.
     
  10. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #10
    I don't know any english speaking app for grading, but I would recommend you just make your own numbers sheets and go from there.
     
  11. Gildarts macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    #11
  12. Gildarts macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    #12
    By the way this video also contains information about battery. I noticed that there was already a lot of misinformation spread in this thread about battery.

    Leaving your battery as much on the charger as possible is the worst possible advice. Like I said, watch the video. The person who made the video is a computer professional who gives out advice to businesses and consumers. His name is tied to the advice that he gives so he is bound to give good advice.

    Unlike the wannabe techies you'll find in this forum.
     
  13. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #13
    Skim for PDF's

    I'm sure you'll be using your fair share of PDF files as a teacher.

    Use a little app called skim it is great for PDF's and uses far less resources than preview or even acrobat reader.
     
  14. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #14
    I'm sure your guy is well-intentioned and has some good experience and expertise but that doesn't prove that his advice about batteries is correct.

    It's probably simply outdated. 10+ years ago, battery charging electronics and algorithms were not as sophisticated as today, and if you left your laptop plugged in, there was a risk of overcharging it, which is one of the worst things you can do to a li-ion battery.

    But that hasn't been the case for a long time. Now the best thing to do is have it plugged in whenever possible.
     
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #15
    Run on battery whenever you need to and plug it in whenever you can. You can plug or unplug any time you need to, regardless of the charged percentage, and you never need to completely drain your battery.
    The link below should answer most, if not all, of your battery/charging questions, including tips for maximizing battery performance. If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
     
  16. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #16
    I have to disagree. I think most people stress way too much about their battery life, to the point where they can't enjoy their machines. If you're constantly running out of battery, by all means, charge it. And if you're primarily using it as a desktop machine, then keep it charged mostly and exercise the battery occasionally. Most other people shouldn't have to worry about it. The lack of a dedicated charging port on the new MacBook is intriguing to me because I usually either charge my Air at night or as needed.

    Look at it this way. Apple rates these batteries for 1000 complete cycles (100-0-100%). Even if you did a complete cycle every day, that's nearly 3 years until the battery is down to 80%. Personally, I can charge my Air, on average, every 2-3 days. That means that my battery (2013 Air, purchased 7/13) should theoretically still have close to 80% capacity in about 4 more years (still giving me a good 5 hours of charge). In that time, I fully expect that I will have replaced that laptop, either selling it or giving it to one of my kids. And if I don't, Apple will gladly replace my battery for a mere $130.

    Now there are some warnings regarding batteries that you should take heed. Most of those are found here: http://www.apple.com/batteries/maximizing-performance/

    My personal advice regarding batteries is that unless it seems like something is wrong-like abnormally short battery life-don't worry about it. Enjoy the new machine and don't obsess over something as trivial as "battery health". Delete or don't install apps like Coconut Battery or BlackMagic Disk Speed Cheker unless you want to drive yourself crazy.
     
  17. JuryDuty macrumors 6502

    JuryDuty

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2014
    Location:
    Texas
    #17
    I just switched after using Windows computers intensely for 20 years.

    What I've found to be true is that Macs can do everything you're used to doing on a PC (and sometimes more!) but they often do it a little different.

    That said, what's "different" on a Mac is often more intuitive and you essentially have to "unlearn" the more complicated way of doing it from your PC days.

    So just keep using a Mac and eventually you'll look at your friend's having trouble with their PC and be thinking, "Yeah...that's why I switched." :cool:
     
  18. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #18
    I am not going to watch a ****ing 1 hour 12 minute video to find out this guys take on battery design. :apple: is very clear on this and so is the research done on this topic: Charge the battery as much as possible.
     
  19. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #19
    Sure, by all means, people should enjoy their laptops and not feel like they're tethered to the wall all the time.

    The problem is when you run into bad/outdated advice, like the notion that keeping it plugged in is somehow bad for it.

    Then you run into problems like confused users running on battery power even though they're sitting right next to the charger because they read in a message forum that that's somehow better for the battery.
     
  20. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #20
    I'll give you that. The spread of misinformation (whether unintentional or intentional/FUD) is a bigger issue than any perceived battery "issues". But if there is one positive to the explosion of smartphones and tablets, it's that people are more used to using "computers" untethered from an outlet. I think the new MacBook will spread it even more as this seems to be the idea (use it all day and charge it at the end of the day).
     
  21. td1439 thread starter macrumors 6502

    td1439

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2012
    Location:
    Boston-ish
    #21
    Some great ideas in here. Thanks for the advice everyone!
     
  22. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #22
    True, although I habitually plug in my phone whenever I'm at my desk or in my car just so it's topped off all the time and so it doesn't put unnecessary wear on the battery.

    I understand that most people don't do this, nor are they "supposed" to, but I feel like it makes my life easier. I never worry about running out of power and my batteries are always in excellent condition when I sell my phones.
     

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