Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Renegades Reference | Mac Starters Guide

This post is dedicated to Me7sin and all Windows renegades out there; congrats on your new Mac! Hope you find this useful.

  • First thing to do is getting all available updates for your Mac by clicking on the Apple icon on your menubar (on the upper left corner) and select "Software Update". This will keep your Mac up-to-date so make sure you download them all.

  • Installing/Removing applications: Installing any application on Mac is a matter of Drag/Drop, just double click on the disk image (*.dmg) file extension, a removable disk icon will show on the desktop, open it and drag and drop the application icon into your "Applications" folder. If you want to remove an application simply drag that application icon and drop it in your Trash then empty it. If you want to remove every single relative file of that application, just search for the name of that application using Spotlight (on the upper right corner) and drag/drop all relative (*.plist) files into Trash then empty it.

  • System Preferences: Like Windows Control Panel; System Preferences is where you can control all preferences on your Mac. It doesn't take a computer scientist to figure it out so make sure you surf a little inside that menu to have an idea of what it contains.

  • Utilities: If you look around your Applications folder you'll find Utilities folder. This is where you can manage your Mac's utilities. The reason why I pointed this in priorities is because in Disk Utility you can mount/unmount, fix, remove, and repair disks & permissions. It is recommended that you repair disk permissions each time you install/remove applications or get new updates from the net.

  • Must-have Applications:-
  • Stuffit Expander: Stuffit expander will unpack almost all compressed files such as .sit, .sitx, .zip, .rar, and some others. Make sure you install it because you need it to uncompress some apps/files.

  • Real Player: To play Real media. (.rm/.ram)

  • Windows Media Player: To play Windows Media. (.wmv/.wma)

  • VLC -OR- Mplayer: Both are video players that can run almost any type of video (even .flv) except Real media. I personally prefer VLC over Mplayer. However, having them both won't hurt you.

  • Adium: Although there's a version of MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger for your Mac, they're not as good as Adium. Adium is by far the best instant messenger there is for your Mac because it can connect to AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more! The only downside is that it doesn't support voice/video yet, but that's not a big deal.

  • Roxio Toast: The mighty CD/DVD burner for all Macs.

  • Transmission: The ideal torrent client for your Mac. Also Vuse and xTorrent although the first is quite heavy and the latter is not for free.

  • Other useful Applications:-
  • DivX Player: For playing DivX videos.

  • Web Browsers: FireFox, Opera, Flock.

  • GraphicConverter: If you miss MS Paint then this is a better alternative.

  • Amadeus Pro & Sound Studio: For audio editing but they're not free.

  • Audio Hijack: Audio recorder that will come in handy if you want to record (convert) Real Audio into any other type.

  • Path Finder: An innovative file browser and manager with powerful tools. Not free though.

  • Pref Setter: Useful utility application for editing (.plist) files.

  • TinkerTool: Another useful utility application that can expand your Finder options such as viewing hidden files (files that begin with dot "." are hidden on Macs) and lots more.

  • HandBrake: Rip full DVD movies directly into iPod compatible .mp4 mode.

  • TubeSock: Downloads and converts .flv videos directly from YouTube. (ps: works only with YouTube).
    For all other video sites simply follow these steps.

  • OmniDictionary: English to Multilingual (including Arabic) lexicons.

  • Dashboard; Useful Widgets:-

  • iStat Pro: The ultimate system monitoring widget, consisting of nine sections which can be minimized, expanded, or closed.

  • Amazon Album Art: Search for artwork for the currently playing track and import into iTunes with the click of a button.

  • Organized: Take care of the little jobs with Organized, a new widget from iSlayer featuring a calendar with events, world clocks, notes and to do’s.

  • ABD Indicator: Adult Body Mass Indicator; Are you overweight, obese or maybe under weight? Find out for yourself with this helpful widget. This version has a smaller footprint and you can enter your height in inches and feet rather than all inches. Also includes metric units.

  • Gmail & Blogger Widgets: Gmail inbox & quick posting on Blogger in two widgets.

  • Suduku: Play Suduku on your dashboard.

  • Mono Solitaire: Play Solitaire on your dashboard.

  • BubbleTrouble: Waste some time with this game.

  • The Holy Qur'an: Read and Search the Quran in Arabic, English, French and Spanish on your Dashboard!

  • ThinkFree Viewer: View ThinkFree or Microsoft Office word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation files without having any other office applications installed. After installing the appropriate Widget simply drag and drop files from your desktop, or copy and paste the Web URL into the ThinkFree Widget.

  • Web Translator: Web Translator is a little widget that lets you translate any web page to and from ten different languages using AltaVista's Babel Fish translator and/or Google's Translation service. So when you come across a page that's written in a different language, Web Translator is the widget you need.

  • Wikipedia Widget: A Dashboard widget for browsing the free, user-created encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Search for articles and view from the Dashboard, complete with pictures and links.

  • Utility Button: UtilityButton is a small widget that gives you easy access to Mac OS X utilities that you use sometimes, but don't want cluttering up your dock. All you do is click on the button, choose the utility, and it opens.

  • Tips & Hints:-
    Get used to keyboard shortcuts. They're very useful.
    Here are some of the most useful shortcuts:-

  • fn+F9: Expose ALL applications. (or F3 alone)

  • fn+F10: Expose all windows of the active application.

  • fn+F11: Show desktop.

  • fn+F12: Dashboard. (or F4 alone)

  • Commands+shift+3: Capture current screen.

  • Commands+shift+4: Capture selected area of the screen.

  • Commands+Q: Quit application.

  • Commands+W: Close active window.

  • Commands+alt+esc: Force quit.

  • Commands+ "," (comma): Application preferences.

  • Commands+I: Show file information.

  • Commands+shift+B: Send file via Bluetooth.

  • Commands+alt+ctrl+8: Invert screen colors.

  • Commands+alt+8: Turn on magnification.
    ----> Commands + (+/-) = zoom in/out.

  • Commands+Tab: Swap between active applications.

  • Commands+shift+N: New Folder

  • Commands+shift+A: Opens Applications folder.

  • & some quick hints:-

  • Trackpad Gestures: Get used to those gestures. They will save you a lot of time once mastered.

    - One finger: Move cursor.

    - Two fingers: Scroll up/down, Zoom in/out.

    - Three fingers: Next/previous document pages, Back/next browser page.

    - Four fingers:
    Up > Desktop, Down > Expose,
    Left/Right > Active Applications..

  • Right-click menu: To get the right-click drop-down menu in a one button mouse or trackpad just hold down Control "ctrl" and click your mouse/trackpad button.
    In recent Apple laptops (Intel Based) you can configure your trackpad to have a Right-click by placing two fingers on your trackpad + click or tap your trackpad with two fingers. This can be enabled/disabled in "System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse"

  • Scrolling using trackpad: Some new Mac users don't know this feature or were used to scrolling by moving one finger around the edges of their Windows laptop's trackpad. Simply place two fingers on the trackpad and scroll/move in your desired direction.

  • Setting default Applications for specific files: Say you have a Windows Media movie file and you want it to be opened using VLC permanently. Select the file and click "Commands+I" to show its pereferences (file info) then from "Open With" tab, select the desired program and close file info.

  • -------------------------

    And that's about all you need for a start. Hope it's helpful.

    Enjoy your new Mac!

    PS: I'll be updating this post frequently whenever there's new stuff to add.
    Latest update: February 7, 2009.


    Anonymous said...

    yeah! it was useful. thanks man! i really wanted those tips about installing and removing applications.. am a new mac user and it seems like am gonna be one of macaholices just like you

    thanks again!

    Me7sin said...


    i didnt think for one sec it would contain this much detail and be this helpful....thannnnks X10000000

    oo sami7na ta3abnak LOL *dont say la ma la min oma post 6awal ma3ak*

    ya36eeek alf 3afya walah ;P truly apreciated

    Anonymous said...

    Hi thanks for the info, they're really helpful. I'm a new mac user and I was wondering if you know a software that can convert real media audio files into mp3. Preferably free! On windows, I used to use the older version of streambox ripper and it worked just fine, but I can't seem to find one for macs. Thanks again!

    CyberRowdy(Q8TechDrive) said...

    stuffit expander! a name from the past...I used a floppy version of this long long back...

    The Criticizer said...

    Don't mention it. I'm glad to know you find this useful. ;)

    "oo sami7na ta3abnak LOL *dont say la ma la min oma post 6awal ma3ak*" -me7sin

    LOL!! It took me around 2 hours to complete but it was worth it.
    All is good for ma hommies. Stay tuned cuz I will be updating this post into perfection. ;P

    There's one application that I know about, which is Audio Hijack, but it's quite tricky. It doesn't literally convert Real media into other types but it can record internal audio significantly so all you'll need to do is run your Real audio file and record it into MP3 or any other type using Audio Hijack.
    No probs and hope that this one solves your problem. :)

    I didn't know this would ring any bells! lol ;P .. It's the ultimate decompresser for Mac.

    Anonymous said...

    OH MY GOD !!! I LOVE THE POST !!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!! 3ajeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeb .. i love my mac even more now xD

    CyberRowdy(Q8TechDrive) said...

    stuffit expander + lots of circuit projects...I still remember...I am sure that floppy is safe in my safe back home...or atleast my bro who know nothing about computers using it as a coaster...I hate him for breaking my keyboards, stealing the mice balls...and turning off the power intentionally while i do something on the computer.

    The Criticizer said...

    *is happy to know that*
    You're welcome.

    Turning off the power intentionally? LOL!! That's so mean. xD

    Missy said...

    helpful! thank you. plz inform me when u update the post :P

    Amola said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous said...


    Arabian lady said...

    Salam Alaikum
    Thankx a dozen brother ! you really really helped Me :D !! ..
    Ra7 ad3eelik enshala ;P..

    added to my bookmarks law mako mane3 =) !

    The Criticizer said...

    You're welcome.

    arabian lady:
    No problem at all, glad to know this is useful.
    And thank you for adding my blog to your bookmarks.

    EmiratesMac said...

    Glad you recommended WriteRoom. More people should know about that app.

    Intlxpatr said...

    LLLOOOLLLL about the two fingers on the trackpad - I wondered why sometimes it would scroll and sometimes not - could not figure it out!

    And oh, how I love the Control/Shirt/4 trick you taught me. Woooo Hooooo on YOU, MAC!

    The Criticizer said...

    More people should know about Mac. :)

    Glad to be of service. ;)

    ali said...

    perfect topic
    very useful :)

    how to add or change skin or icon for mac os leopard?

    The Criticizer said...

    Glad to know you find it useful.

    To change icons on Mac you have three options...

    1- Use ShapeShifter.
    It allows you to download and apply various skins on your Mac.

    2- Use CandyBar
    You can change one or more icons (package) with one click.

    3- Also known as the "Manual Way"...

    * Download icons from sites such as InterfaceLift & PixelGirl.

    * Select the file/folder/volume you want to change its icon and click "Commands+i".
    ** Do the same on the icon you want.

    * Click on the icon on the top left corner of the file info and copy it with "Command+c".

    * Click on the file/folder/volume icon on the same corner of the info file and paste it with "Command+v".

    For more info check [link]

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

    7afsa said...


    The Criticizer said...

    I'm glad my effort didn't go to waste. :)

    Anonymous said...


    The Criticizer said...

    What's up with that? :/

    Anonymous said...


    Anonymous said...

    Thank you.... I will use this A LOT.

    MacaholiQ8 said...

    You're most welcome. I just realized it's OLD! I will update it right away. :)

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