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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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Mac usability resources and tips

I still haven't made the full-on jump into the Mac world yet (if I knew more about the new MacBook Pro laptop just released, I wouldn't be so reticent to switch), but one of the primary considerations for me has to do with keyboard usability. That is to say, I'm a huge keystroke junkie on the PC, and especially when editing text, I very seldom have to make my fingers depart from the keyboard to grab the mouse.

In the Mac world, that's clearly not the way things were designed. I believe that the original masters of the Graphical User Interface (i.e. the GUI) of Apple's OS meant for the keyboard to function as a text entry tool (granted, with several command options available) and for the mouse to work as an application launcher and all-round user assistant. (As I recall from my faint Apple history, Steve Jobs fought hard to keep a single-button mouse design in the original Apple computers; everyone else wanted 2, 3, or more buttons for 'increased usability', but Jobs insisted that the best usability experience was the most streamlined one possible.)

As I continue my pre-purchase research on Macs and Mac issues, one of the things I watch for the most is power user hints. In that spirit, I'm posting a link for future reference to these Mac keyboard shortcuts (plus the Google search results for same), along with a link to this review on Macworld about Quicksilver, the (seems like) excellent keyboard-driven application launcher for the Mac. This "desert isle" question about the most critical apps to have on your Mac is also worth keeping for future reference.

If any other Mac users out there have usability hints, user groups, or other web resources to refer to me, DO NOT hesitate to tell me about them, will you? After reading Macworld's early impressions of the new Intel-based Mac notebook, I'm no longer as scared to wait for a bit and maybe try getting one of those machines. I don't want to wait much longer than a couple more months or so to buy a laptop, but I also don't want to miss out on what sounds like will be a great machine. (Especially once all the native apps become available, hopefully with the next year or so.)
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millennialhippy January 24th, 2006
The macbooks are slower with graphical programs like photoshop suite. And they aren't perfectly compatible with older programs developed for macintosh. Hence most people I know are not converting over (Even anytime soon). You are right to wait until native apps become available. I would let other people debug the machine. If you need a laptop soon, the powerbook is still a great purchase.

Speaking as someone with a powerbook, I don't use a mouse at all. Initially, I hated the touchpad, and bought a wireless mouse with that in mind. However, I've brought out my bluetooth mouse a total of 3-5 times in the 2 years i've owned this laptop. Mac has plenty of keyboard shortcuts. You just need to learn them. :)

I can't wait to upgrade to 0S 10.4 next month!

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