Gary Rosenzweig tackles the controversial question of whether you need to buy anti-virus software for your Mac. There are currently no active Mac viruses and anti-virus software could cause unexpected problems. Staying informed and up-to-date is a better option.
You can print envelopes, mailing labels and two kinds of lists from Address Book. You can also print to a PDF file to put a list on another device or send in an email.
Many take the file open and save dialogs for granted, but there are a lot of power user actions and keyboard shortcuts that can make these tools easier to use. You can navigate around your drive space with drag and drop, the keyboard, sidebar, the media browser and more.
While it is easy to take Software Update for granted, there are actually a few options you can choose and methods of delaying, ignoring or finding out more about the updates. You can also manually download most Apple updates.
Mac OS X allows you to declare a file as a Stationery Pad. When you double click a Stationery Pad, instead of editing this file, you will instantly create a new copy. This is handy for making simple document templates.
Learn interface window basics like resizing, closing and opening new windows. Learn how the red, yellow and green buttons at the upper left of most windows work.
You can use Activity Monitor to see how your Mac is using memory. But what do free, active, inactive and wired mean? How about page ins and page outs? Plus, learn to use them to figure out if you need more memory.
Before you buy a professional word processor consider using TextEdit, a program that comes with your Mac and can handle most non-professional word processing needs. You can format and style text, add images, lists and tables, and even open Word docs.
You can use Preview in Snow Leopard to merge documents and pages within documents. It works a little differently than it did in Leopard because you can have multiple documents in the sidebar which can confuse things.
The free Mac OS X extension Growl allows some of your applications to send you screen and audible notifications when events occur, like incoming email or completed downloads. You can even pass these notifications on to your iPhone. Check it out to see if it is something you can use.
When you print documents from your Mac just to read them away from your desk, you can choose Layout in the print dialog to save paper. You can put 2, 4 or more pages onto one sheet of paper this way. It is handy for long documents and multi-page receipts.
The free program Scratch from MIT allows you to learn how to program using a simple drag-and-drop interface. You can make and share your own games. You can even view examples made by others. This is great for children and adults who want to learn basic programming.
You can go even further with Print As PDF by printing into Preview and then saving the preview document. You can reduce the file size or apply any number of Quartz filters. You can even make your own filter. You can also save as an encrypted PDF.
Text Clippings allow you to save pieces of text as small files in the Finder and drag them into text documents and fields. You can create them by dragging text from an application to the Finder.
What to do when your Mac slows down. If you are experiencing a slowdown, there are several things you can check before having a pro take a look. Learn how to use Activity Monitor, Disk Utility and the System Preferences to look for obvious problems. There are also some other tips for clearing up trouble.
Take a closer look at Quick Look, the ability to view the contents of a file without opening it. Just select a file in the Finder and press the spacebar. You can also navigate between files with Quick Look active, and browse around inside the contents of a file. Quick Look also works in Time Machine, Mail and iChat.
On the Mac you can select single multiple items in the Finder or in applications in many different ways. Take a look at how selections work in a variety of situations using modifiers like the Command and Shift keys.
If more than one person uses your Mac, you should set up multiple user accounts so each person has their own space for files and their own application preferences. You can use Fast User Switching to keep multiple accounts logged in at the same time so applications remain running and documents remain open.
Skitch is a free tool that can be used to capture your screen and then draw on the image. You can also start with a blank image, photo or any file. You can export the result or upload it to the Skitch Web site to share.