Mac OSX! My brain is imploding...

Oy gavalt! I am an old Macophile, dating back to 1987. I have always been the Mac Expert… I have, at various times in my life, been employed as a Mac consultant and tutor.

Well, I got my new G5 last week, I’ve been struggling with it for a few days, and my brain hurts.

It’s difficult, if not impossible to search for “OSX” or “Mac” because of the irritating 4-letter limit, so forgive me if some other thread exists.

My first two leetle questions (out of many to come, if I can get some feedback here) are:

  1. Why does clicking in the window slide area cause me to go all the way to the end or the beginning, or at least many many screens? Or rather, screw “why”, just tell me where I can manipulate this to do what I want, which is screen-by-screen.

  2. What the hell is with the whole “users” crap? If all my documents are stashed away in a special “stoid->documents” folder, what is the point of the existance of the “harddrive->documents” folder at all? This is MY computer and only MY computer, and why do I have to put up with treating it like many people use it? This file structure is driving me insane! I have a computer, I have a harddrive…what’s with all this subdivision? Can I make it go away?

  3. Do any of you use Typeit4me for OSX? If so, can you tell me where the hell it is now that I have installed it, where to put my old data file, and how the hell to make it work?

Could you clarify what you mean by this? I tried doing what I think you mean, and when I click on the open spaces of the window scroll slide, the file listing just scrollss down partway, not all the way to the end. How and where do you click?


Two reasons, from what I know: first, OSX is based on UNIX, which has these subdirectories, and second, they want you to be able to have multiple users if you want it (presumably on the assumption that it’s easier to ignore the extra steps than have to go through some rigamarole to create them). Not sure what harm, if any, deleting them would do, though.


Don’t know about this one, sorry.

You got a G5?


(I am so beyond jealous of you.)

Okay, I’ll try to be more helpful, but I know that Mac folks like AHunter or rjung will be far more equipped to answer your questions.

The “users” thing takes getting used to, but I believe it’s part of the whole Unix thingie that OS X is based on. You can’t escape it, but you will get used to it. (Trust me on this one—I went through most of the same things you are currently going through when I first migrated to OS X.) No, I don’t think you can make it all go away. But that’s OK. It’s cool.

However, I do have folders on my desktop that are basically “Documents” files. I drag stuff in there, yadda yadda yadda. I also partitioned my hard drive, and I use some of these smaller partitions for “Graphics,” “Web Design Stuff,” and so forth.

Get “OS X: The Missing Manual.” It’s a great book and really helped me understand OS X.

I’ve never used Typeit4Me but I’m assuming that you’ll find it in your “Applications” folder.

(BTW, this is my first post to SDMB)

To change the preferences of your scroll bar, go into System Preferences, click on Personal, then General. On the first screen, the fourth option is:

Click on scroll bar to: Jump to next page
Scroll to here (meaning wherever your pointer is currently located)

Choose “Jump to next page”. Should do it for you.

(BTW, this is my first post to SDMB)

To change the preferences of your scroll bar, go into System Preferences, click on Personal, then General. On the first screen, the fourth option is:

Click on scroll bar to: Jump to next page
Scroll to here (meaning wherever your pointer is then located in the bar)

Choose “Jump to next page”. Should do it for you.

I didn’t have this problem when I tried a search. Try adding a hard space. I think it’s option-space to fill the term out to 4 characters.

The General pane in System Preferences. Select the Scroll to here radio button. Or deselect it as the case may be.

Vestiges of the Unix underpinnings. You’ll have to forsake a little of the flexibility you were use to for numerous other benefits as you’ll soon find out. It doesn’t actually matter that much but you should probably just select the Documents folder in your own home as the default for downloads to ensure you always give those files the appropriate permissions for you.

Hmmm. I don’t know this one. A lotof my apps have autocomplete but I’m not aware of a system wide utility like you mentioned. Tucows?

If having to root through your entire hard drive in order to reach the directory where “your” files are stored is causing you stress, you can just drag your home directory to the Dock. There, it’ll act like a folder and allow you easy access to “your” files. I have mine set up this way, and I almost never see the Users folder.

Um, excuse me but, so long as all you mac gurus are in the house I am having an issue that perhaps you could help me with.

I just got G4,I’m back on line, life is good.

So I sat down today to do a little word processing and was shocked to discover no Appleworks on the HD.

Every Mac I’ve ever owned came with first Claris works and then Appleworks.

Is it hidden somewhere I can’t find it perhaps?

In the control panel, general section (on the first row of icons), in the middle there’s “Click the scroll bar to:” and two choices. I’m assuming you have it set to “Scroll to here”, which makes the scrollbar jump to the point that you’ve clicked on. You can also set it to “Jump to the next page”, which sounds like what you want, and is the way older Mac OS incarnations did it. Why they set it different by default I have no idea.

You can still put things mostly where ever you want to, but some programs expect certain directory structures, so you can’t really totally get rid of it. You can make aliases to have things basically like you’d have an os 9 system set up, though. I just tried putting an alias of my home Documents folder at the root level on the hard drive, and it works fine.

Almost every app should default install to Macintosh HD->Applications. I’ve rearranged mine with subdirectories so it’s not so cluttered, because if you just leave it and install lots of apps it can be hard to find things in there.

So far as I can tell, AppleWorks no longer comes preinstalled on Macs. From here:

My guess is that post OS X, Apple and MS swung some sort of deal to feature demos of MS Office v.X instead of including AppleWorks preinstalled on new computers. Apple also introduced TextEdit for word processing.

You can still purchase AW for $79 off the Apple Store.

I beleive you can use this AppleWorks Updater if you have a previous version of AppleWorks.

Or you can take OpenOffice for a spin. What the heck, it’s free.

There is no OSX native port of OpenOffice yet; using it requires installing an X-windows server on your mac. Info for that is here.

I believe Appleworks comes with consumer-target models. It was on my wife’s iBook last year and on my sister’s eMac this year.

To answer Stoid, the advice about window controls and user types is accurate. OSX is less forgiving in allowing you the user to dump any old files into any old folders. It seems to prefer all OSX apps in the applications folder.

Do learn what the default set of icons in the toolbar mean and then keep your files in the appropriate ones. I know, it is very unMac-like, but file structures and libraries get real complex with having to accomodate multiple users with varying privileges or the potential for such. “Home” especially is key to organizing your data. I also recommend Default Folder X. It is pricey but worth it–without it, navigating among Documents, Home, Computer etc. will drive you nuts when saving files, especially if you use the awful column view.

Finally, is the best Mac search starting point. But you knew that!

First off, welcome to the world of UNIX. You’ll probably be getting more help from command-line freaks like me than you ever got when you were still banging around with MacOS Classic. :slight_smile:

The concept of different users exists to keep you from shooting yourself in the foot. There are different users with different levels of permissions, with root (is it called root in Mac, or is it Administrator?) having all power and the rest of them having enough power to manipulate the files and directories they own, or have been explicitly been given permission to modify.

Permission? Ownership? Yep, those concepts are straight from the UNIX that serves as a server OS, allowing whole corporations of people to use the same backroom mainframe without anyone stepping on anyone else’s toes.

But you don’t care about that. You care about using your machine without hassle. The concept of users can help you with that, too. Simply create a user distinct from root (or Administrator) and do most of your work as that, instead of signing in as root all the time.

What does that buy you? You no longer have to worry about formatting your hard drive by mistake, or nuking an important system file. You can no longer screw yourself out of a usable OS through your own fumblings, because the OS can protect itself from a non-root user. You can just use your machine as you always have, with the added bonus of security not being root buys you.

Security? Yep. As a non-root user, any programs you install are also non-root. That means they can’t damage your OS any more than you can. To speak techie, programs inherit the permissions of whoever installed them.

So, what if you want to fix an important file, but OS X bitches that you can’t 'cause you aren’t root? Simple: Log in as root (which in the command line involves running su, and I have no idea what the Apple folks gave you for the GUI equivalent), alter the file, and log out of root to return to your normal status. It’s like being Superman. He doesn’t wander around in blue spandex all the time because he doesn’t want to be constantly hassled, but when duty calls he drops the Clark Kent persona in the nearest phone booth and Does His Thing as the ultimate superuser. (Superuser, in fact, being the other name for root. ;))

So how do directories tie into this concept? Well, whole directories can be protected from tampering. You can set up a directory that’s between you and root: Nobody else can even see what’s inside it, let alone enter it. This means that no programs can futz with it, either (remember the inheritance principle). Directories also help you (and the programs you use) find things more easily, because everything `stays where it’s put’. That was once a GUI theme in the Mac world, but it’s always been a file theme in the UNIX world. Two great tastes that taste great together, as it were.

(Disclaimer: I’m a Linux fan, and MacOS X runs a BSD variant as its kernel. But the things I’ve talked about apply to all UNIX versions, right back to the 1970s.)

Launch NetInfo Manager which you’ll find in your root Utilities folder. Click the little padlock and enter your admin password (the one you selected when you first setup the computer) Then select enable root user from the Security menu. Now you can logout and when the login window comes back up, use root as your username and the admin. GUI root access!

Having said that, I’ll leave a disclaimer pointing out that the root user gets no handholding or warnings when they try to delete essential files or make catastrophic changes. Be absolutely cautious and when in doubt… don’t. You can still consider yourself a poweruser without ever using this technique.

Precisely. The UNIX philosophy on the matter runs thusly: “User knows best, and superuser knows all.”

If you want to completely hose your filesystem as root, the OS will not only let you, it will help you for as long as it can.

If you want to install Microsoft products on your machine as root, the OS won’t complain, but you’ll open yourself up to the same attacks Windows users already face.

The OS will give you free reign over whatever you own. When you’re not root, you don’t own the hard drive’s filesystem and you don’t own the essential system files, so you can’t stomp them. When you are root, you do.

So, what general rule to pull from all this? Only become root when there’s no other way to accomplish the task. Never run an untrusted program as root, and never install a program as root unless the program needs to be installed with root’s permissions. And even then, be wary. Part of being a poweruser is using the power of root intelligently.

I think you don’t even need to enable root in NetInfo Manager unless you want to log in to the graphical interface as root. Doing “sudo su” works on virgin systems if all you need is command line access. And of course if you startup in single-user mode, you’re the machine’s god. But for that you need physical access, so if it’s a concern you can password protect open-firmware. Of course if your hard drive is stolen, you’ll still be subject to data theft. So supposedly Mac OS X 10.3 will encrypt entire users’ home folders.

Sorry, one thing led to another there.

Oh dear… lots of good information here, thanks all…but also lots of scary info and confusing terminology.

I think I’m going ot have to crack the books. There’s nothing more annoying than having to be afraid of myself on my computer. (For instance…I have no idea who I am right now. Root? Not Root? how the hell can I even tell? I just boot up and start working…)

If you have to ask, you’re Not Root. When you first fired up the computer, if you’ll recall, it asked you to create an account. If you don’t remember the name, it’s the name of your home directory. If you haven’t done anything to change it, that account is who you are. That first account isn’t quite the root account, but it is a privelidged account. You know how when you download a lot of software (like Apple’s own System Updates) it asks you to re-enter your password? That’s so it can get root access to do whatever it needs. On the GUI level, it only uses the root access to install that particular piece of software; if you were logged in as root, it wouldn’t need to ask.

The upshot is that if you (or a program you run) tries to do anything really harmful, you’ll be asked for your password. If you don’t know why it wants your password, don’t give it. Presto, instant security. A virus, say, can’t trash your system files, and might not even be able to exert enough control to propagate itself (I’m not sure about this part). It can still wreak havok on the files you personally own, but that’s all it can do.