New Mac user looking for an OSX mentor
February 6, 2005 4:52 PM   Subscribe

Apple Switcher Requires Mentor. Are there any fellow mefites who can answer multiple simple questions from a new Max OS-X user? [+]

I need answers to questions like "How do I configure firefox so that moving between fields with the tab key also includes buttons and check boxes?" "Should I be using Mail or thunderbird?" "Is there any software which will allow me to mount FTP shares in Read/Write mode in Finder?" "How do I configure Mac OS-X to log my user out AND go into sleep mode after a certain amount of inactivity" "Is it alright to move underused applications into sub-folders" "What's the mac equivalant of the registry" I suppose I'm looking for someone who I can email on odd occasions with little questions I can't find the answers to. I've been to a couple of forums, but the signal / noise ratio means finding stuff out is really hard. I promise not to hassle you too much, I'm a quick study, and there's an internet equivalant of "I'll get you a couple of pints for your trouble" in it as well.
posted by seanyboy to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
 
Plus I'd like to know what irc clients people reccomend. I'd settled on GAIM on the PC (It's simple and it works). What equivalants does the mac have?
posted by seanyboy at 5:02 PM on February 6, 2005


lots of answers eh?

1) Safari has this, I can't seem to find it in firefox.
2) Whichever you prefer. you'll find that mail is powerful, but a bit basic. In Tiger (next OS) tens of thousands of emails (and other stuff) will search uber fast due to spotlight.
3)don't know
4) System preferences - > Security settings + sleep settings
5) yes, move them around -realize that software update won't see apps that have moved from the root directory. You don't want to update them anyway - always wait a couple of days.
6) No real registry. We don't have those sort of problems.

I've missed a couple, but feel free to email me as you like.
posted by filmgeek at 5:04 PM on February 6, 2005


oh, the big irc client is xchat. But I use conversation and I'm frowned on for it.

posted by filmgeek at 5:06 PM on February 6, 2005


xchat
posted by filmgeek at 5:06 PM on February 6, 2005


ah, you can connect to an FTP serve with the OS using Command-K in the finder and typing in FTP://Address
posted by filmgeek at 5:08 PM on February 6, 2005


IRC: Colloquy.
posted by xmutex at 5:13 PM on February 6, 2005


I've been to a couple of forums, but the signal / noise ratio means finding stuff out is really hard.

The official boards are usually high signal. And if you don't find an answer by searching the archives, do post an inquiry. Even on obscure, tricky stuff I've been pleasantly surprised at how often some fellow user there knows how to help.

If you've got an Apple Store locally, it's worth paying a visit to their Genius Bar. I've watched those folks be amazingly patient with newbies and switchers. They'll answer as many questions as you can think of, and walk you through procedures. Carrying in a laptop for help isn't unusually but people even bring whole desktop systems in to Apple Store, setup right there at the counter, pull out a fistful of CDs that they need to install/config, and the Geniuses don't even blink.

They are not, however, usually good for value questions like Mail vs. Thunderbird. And it's a crapshoot how much they know about any product not sold through the store, such as Firefox.

"Is there any software which will allow me to mount FTP shares in Read/Write mode in Finder?"

The Finder's FTP client is read only, sadly. However, if your web server supports WebDAV you can get a dav:// read/write mount through the Finder. If you just need a free FTP client, there are plenty of options to choose from VersionTracker is your friend.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:27 PM on February 6, 2005


"Should I be using Mail or thunderbird?"
Both work. Mail will be getting a pretty substantial upgrade with the OS this summer, FWIW.

"Is it alright to move underused applications into sub-folders" "What's the mac equivalant of the registry"
Sure, put your apps anywhere! (Though they're easiest to find in /applications). That's the nice thing about self-contained apps / not having a registry.
(A little less glib, and more technical answer is that most applications, when they're first launched, write their preference files in the ~/library/application support/ directory, where ~ is your home directory.)

A great resource for OS-X tips and tricks (with a really high signal / noise ratio) is macosxhints. Also, feel free to send questions my way. Email's in my profile.
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:32 PM on February 6, 2005


Seems like you've got a bevy of volunteers already, but email is in my profile :-)
posted by onalark at 7:45 PM on February 6, 2005


Ditto on the email in profile. :) Please feel free to get in touch. I went through the switch in April, and it's been ... educational.

Personally, I prefer Mail to Thunderbird (or Entourage). The Mozilla apps (note, I've been using Firefox since ~0.4, and it's still very much my browser of choice on XP) are still a little slow and 1.0-ish, and they're not as well-integrated into OS X as they could be. However, as Popular Ethics said, both work.

(unsolicited suggestions follow)

You didn't ask, but: for an RSS reader try NewsFire. There's an almost indispensable iCal helper app, but I can't remember the name of the durned thing (I'm on my XP machine at the moment -- email or IM and I'll get it to you). And, you'll probably want Quicksilver for a lightweight, elegant application launcher (I used to use LaunchBar, but Quicksilver does essentially the same thing and has almost glee-inducing whizbang effects).
posted by socratic at 9:16 PM on February 6, 2005


Oh, and as to your first question (about Firefox, form widgets, and the tab key), apparently this is in the latest nightlies of Firefox as a fix due in 1.1. If you need that functionality now and you're not afraid of using nightlies, I think the Jan 11 Firefox nightly has this, and is fairly stable, but the Mozillazine forums will have the best information.
posted by socratic at 9:25 PM on February 6, 2005


"Is there any software which will allow me to mount FTP shares in Read/Write mode in Finder?"

Interarchy.
posted by tumult at 10:05 PM on February 6, 2005


I use Mice IRC. I'm one of those weird massively-left-brained people and when I use it I always heave a sigh of relief that there's someone else out there like me who knew enough to code up a client for people like me. If you're not one of us weird leftbrainers you'll probably prefer xchat.

I hope you are finding the Mac community as supportive and friendly as I always have. I'm not a great guru but you can email me (via livejournal; see my profile for my username) and I'll try to help.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:25 PM on February 6, 2005


Interarchy doesn't really mount FTP sites -- it maintains a local copy which it syncs with the remote server. That means the first time you set it up, it's going to have to download everything. It's the next best thing, though.

I need answers to questions like "How do I configure firefox so that moving between fields with the tab key also includes buttons and check boxes?"

You might try OmniWeb. It uses the same rendering engine as Safari and has this feature (plus about twenty bazillion more). Yeah, it costs $30, and Firefox is free. On the other hand, it's much more Mac-like than Firefox, and I like its implementation of Tabs much, much better.
posted by kindall at 11:19 PM on February 6, 2005


configure firefox so that moving between fields with the tab key also includes buttons and check boxes

the current release of firefox doesn't support this feature (which is built into the OS). but like socratic said, it will be supported in a later release. just make sure you turn the feature on in the keyboard system preferences. it's called 'full keyboard access'.

all good mac apps should support the tab to buttons feature when this is turned on.

note that with pulldown menus it is annoyingly different on the mac. you have to press space first before typing a letter. so for example if i tab to a 'state' pulldown menu, i need to press space and then 'c' to select 'CA'.

i prefer apple mail over thunderbird because the search capability is hands down the most effortless and fastest i've ever seen. plus i've already have all my addresses in address book. but on my PC i'm all about thunderbird.
posted by sammich at 12:24 AM on February 7, 2005


I work in a 99% mac IT job (I know, i am one lucky devil), so I am used to answering these questions on a pretty regular basis. Feel free to email me - it's in my profile.
posted by sluggo at 5:56 AM on February 7, 2005


To answer your #1 question:

1. Type about:config in the URL bar.
2. In the Filter field, type tabfocus.
3. Double-click on the accessibility.tabfocus preference.
4. Change the value to 7.
5. Restart your browser.
posted by bshort at 5:59 AM on February 7, 2005


I'd like to thank everybody for there help, and offers of support. Unfortunately, I will be emailing some of you. I think I'm one of those right brained people, but mice looks good. It's either that or colloquy. interachy looks ok. I'm currently investigating moving my hosting to something with webDav, but if I don't do it, then interachy it is. I may move to mail, but the export of messages from thunderbird doesn't seem to work. I compacted yesterday, so I'll try it again. Firefox v safari:- I'm settling on firefox, simply because of the "long click for context menu" thing it does.

Once again. thanks.
posted by seanyboy at 8:05 AM on February 8, 2005


Oh, and as to your first question (about Firefox, form widgets, and the tab key), apparently this is in the latest nightlies of Firefox as a fix due in 1.1.

Oh, and if you do try the Firefox nightlies (which I can recommend as generally harmless), be sure to checkmark "Turn on full keyboard access" under System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard Shortcuts. This enables keyboard hotkeys navigation many applications -- here in the office we affectionately refer to that checkbox as the "Make keyboard work" switch ;).
posted by Handcoding at 11:43 AM on February 8, 2005 [1 favorite]


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