What To Do When You First Get A Mac – Update 5

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What To Do When You First Get A Mac – Update

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Its Christmas Day, hopefully Santa has brought you a nice new shiny Mac and you can’t wait to use all of the cool new features. This post is designed to be a quick guide on what to do when you first get a Mac. If you are reading this on your brandy new iMac, Mac Pro or MacBook you have passed step one (connect to the Internet and create an account). We now need to go to step 2 to make sure you have everything in order.

2) Update. First things first you need to make sure you have anything in tip top shape. Although your Mac may be new it could be sitting on the shelf for a couple of weeks or hidden in Santa’s sack for the last month. It may not have all of the latest updates. To install them go to the Apple Menu and press Software Update. Let it run and download all of the latest updates.

3) Set up Time Machine. You need to have a back up. Leopard’s Time Machine is perfect at this. Find an external hard drive or a spare drive and set it up as a back up drive. It will take a long time to back everything up, but having that piece of mind is worth it. You may need a hard drive, I recommend looking  at Amazon.

4) Calibrate. If you are on a MacBook you need to calibrate the battery to make sure it is reading correctly. Head over to my previous guide to find out how to do this. If you are using any sort of screen you will also need to calibrate the colours to make sure it is true to life. To do this open up System Preferences > Displays > Color > Calibrate. Go through the calibration steps to make sure everything is looking great.

5) Set Up Mail. Mail is the best program on the planet for doing email related tasks. Only Outlook is a good contender. Set up Mail by following the instructions in the program and your email provider. You will first need to add a new account which is found under the Mail > Preferences section of the program. While you are at it, its probably a good idea to subscribe to my RSS feed so you have all of the latest information to hand.

6) Download VLC. Although Quicktime is good for your video playing needs you may need something more powerful. One of the first downloads I always recommend is VLC. Its the best media player around and can play almost any type of video media.

7) Set Up Right Clicking. Although you can right click with the Control key and then the mouse there are other work around, especially if you are on a MacBook. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > TrackPad. Set the secondary clicks options. If you don’t have a track pad look through the preferences and change what you feel comfortable with. There isn’t many options which can screw your computer.

8) Download New Apps. Although a explicitly mentioned VLC, find new and interesting apps to download. I recommend searching through Apple’s, iusethis and MacUpdate’s library to see what you can find.

9) Restart. You have been downloading programs, doing updates messing around with the system. It doesn’t help to have a good restart to make sure everything is loaded properly. Since you have a new system a restart should only take a couple of seconds.

10) Play. You have a new Mac have a play. Open up every single program you have pre-installed see what they do. Download new programs off the net. Live the Mac life. If you get stuck at something you can always do a quick Google search to find the correct answer.

11) Update Download Growl. One of the best applications on the Mac is Growl. It is a app which is designed to display messages and feedback from programs. Only select programs use it, but you would be surprised how useful it becomes.

This are just a couple of tips I recommend. If you have anymore please leave a comment below. I am always glad to hear them. Happy Christmas.


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