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Joe Reifer

Hi Doug,

Coupla inexpensive additions to your Mac that will make life easier:

Panic's Transmit FTP client - looks just like OSX, works great, well worth the 30 bucks:

Shirt Pocket's Super Duper backup / recovery software - easy to use, creates a bootable backup of your main drive:



Doug Plummer

Joe, thanks for the tips. I'm looking around for just those kind of "must-haves". An FTP client was on the list.


Why waste time with closing windows in corners? That is so slow!

Apple - Q closes a window pronto.

Toggle between open apps with: Apple - Tab. So much easier.

Sincere regards, JR

Jeff Carlson

With a lot of applications running, you can also choose Hide Others from the application's menu (for example, choose Photoshop > Hide Others). They're all still there, just made invisible.

You'll no doubt start to get more familiar with keyboard commands: Apple-W closes a window, Apple-Q quits the application. A tip I use frequently: press Apple-Tab to bring up the application switcher, tab (or mouse) to an app you want to quit, and press Apple-Q.


Doug -

What about using the windows machines as fancy servers...
I do everything via my Macs - although I work now in a completely Win work envorinment.

I'm in Greenlake, so if you run into things that really need solutions send me mail, and I'll see what I can do.


Dan Mitchell

Doug, the key command "command-option-H" will close all windows of other open applications if you want to eliminate them quickly.

"command-tab" will let you quickly cycle among all open programs.

("Command" is the command key, a.k.a. "the Apple key" - found next to the space bar.)




Just a reminder on windows, even if you close them all on the mac, the app is still (usually) running as indicated by the black triangle under its icon in the dock. To quit you have to go to the apps menu and select quit or type command+q.

I've never liked IE when I was on windows and used FireFox there. FF on the mac doesn't feel like it belongs at this point and it's slow to load. My primary browser is Safari since it's quick and fits the environment best although Camino (like FF but built ground-up for the mac) is catching up quickly and I'm debating switching to it.

Witch is a command+tab replacement that gives you more functionality than the system behavior.

And speaking of "must have" apps, check out Quicksilver. It's difficult to describe what it does but it's the most valuable app I use frequently. Without it, computing seems slow and clumsy to me.

At it's most basic it's an application launcher. Activate it and start typing the apps name and it shows up. It can do much more though such as archive files (make .zips), access your address book information, launch web pages, connect to FTP servers (using transmit) or even search for files via spotlight. You can see it in action here and learn more of it here.

Bruce Nall

You might look at Thunderbird and Firefox for e-mail and net access. Both work cleanly on a Mac. I rarely use IE except to make sure my site's pages display correctly there.

Doug Plummer

My problem with Safari is some issues with functionality. For example, in the Typepad dialog to upload a blog entry, photos don't show. When I tried to use it to upload a file in YousendIt.com, the upload page didn't work. These are common tasks, and Safari does not appear up to them.

Another Mac functionality issue has to do with a conflict with keyboard shortcuts and Adobe. I can't seem to use the function keys in shortcuts, which really crimps my style. What gives?

Howard Slavitt

I'm a big Mac fan, but I agree with you that Safari does not do all common tasks the way it should, or display all pages properly. I use Firefox, and am pleased with it. The only downside, IMHO, is that Firefox takes a bit of time to start up, may be 15-20 seconds (it must be creating a virtual cache or doing something else like that), but, other than that it's a great browser, better than IE on Windows.

Chris Junker

Hi Doug,

Nice to see you've turned away from the Dark Side of PCs.

A really slick way to manage multiple open windows and applications in OSX (more direct than messing with the Dock) is to use the F9, F10, and F11 keys, known collectively as Expose.
- F9 shows a small view of all open windows, just mouse over and click to reshuffle what's on top.
- F10 brings all windows of a specific program to the bird's eye view.
- F11, clears away everything so that you can find something on the desktop, just hit it again to restore everything back where it was before.
Some people have dismissed these features as just eye candy, but when you have 10 - 15 windows open, it really helps!

Doug Plummer


Alas, on this laptop, only the F11 key acts like you describe. The F9 and F10 change my keyboard lighting.

I'm liking Firefox, but the Bookmarks are more confusing than Safari (which is more confusing than IE). MacMail rocks, I'm preferring it already to my Windows Eudora.

Jeff Carlson

Doug, are you hitting the function keys that are on the MacBook Pro itself? By default, they're set to laptop-specific functions (like the keyboard backlighting). To use F9 as you expect, hold the Fn key (furthest lower-left key). That's one of the tradeoffs for having a laptop keyboard. However, you can reverse this behavior: go to System Preferences, click Keyboard & Mouse, and enabled the box that reads, "Use the F1-F12 keys to control software features".

Doug Plummer


Thank you, thank you! This was a terrific annoyance. Now it works like a Windows laptop!

Colin Jago

....Alas, on this laptop, only the F11 key acts like you describe. The F9 and F10 change my keyboard lighting....

Doug, those keys are assignable. Go to System Preferences and then Dashboard/Expose.

You can also assign screen corners to do some of this stuff if you would rather move a mouse than click a key. The controls to do this are in the same place.



Strongly suggest Camino as a browser, its super fast (the fastest) probably because its not full of 'stuff' rarely used. I actually use all browsers, required for assessing my web work, Camino is my favorite day to day browser.

For email I use Gyazmail, not as full featured as some perhaps but does most things without fuss.

Dave Kosiur

If cmd-Tab doesn't work for you for switching between apps, try using Expose, which is built into the OS. Try using the F9 key to display all open apps, for instance. This is all user-configurable in the Preferences panel.

Also, for quick access to apps and documents from the menu bar, take a look at Butler. An awesome app that's free! I also like Quicksilver for quickly launching apps, etc. from the keyboard -- type the first few letters of the app and you're off-and-running.

Doug Plummer


Thanks for the tips. I'm downloading Butler to see if it fixes what I don't like about bookmarks and dealing with all my open apps.

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