Mac Resources At Your Fingertips
Before I get into my exhaustive list of Mac resources that I have compiled for you, I want you to know that I am gearing up for a very exciting new Mac business venture, which many of you have requested from me in the past:
Inspired by my extremely successful Mac training classes in Los Angeles that I taught at UCLA to first-time Mac users, these Mac Training Bootcamps will be weekend-long intensive bootcamps in Los Angeles, in which I will turn Mac beginners into advanced Mac users by the end of the weekend.
These bootcamps will be especially useful for people who just switched over from Windows to the Mac, as we will spend significant time discussing the differences between the two operating systems.
These bootcamps will be coming later this year, so stay tuned for more details!
Lucky for you, you have plenty of options at your fingertips.
First, you can always contact ScottWorld for a private Mac training session at your home or office. (Once we get our bootcamps started, you’ll be able to sign up for those as well.)
Furthermore, Apple has posted some great training videos on their website that will get you up & running with the basics in no time. These Apple training videos should tide you over until we start ScottWorld’s comprehensive bootcamps:
Mac Tutorial Videos
- Mac Basics
- iPhoto (your new Mac comes with iPhoto for free!)
- iMovie (your new Mac comes with iMovie for free!)
- iDVD (your new Mac comes with iDVD for free!)
- GarageBand (your new Mac comes with GarageBand for free!)
- iWeb (your new Mac comes with iWeb for free!)
- MobileMe (you can sign up for a 60-day free trial of MobileMe)
Written Mac Tutorials
Apple also offers some highly-confusing text tutorials:
But if you’re looking to read your Mac tutorials, I highly recommend skipping over those two links above, and instead reading one of these outstanding training books for the Mac:
Mac Tutorial Books
- Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition – This beginner’s book is specifically designed for people who are switching from Windows to Mac, and covers all the basics that you need to know when using a Mac for the first time.
- Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition – This book is a comprehensive overview of the Mac for people who already have a solid understanding of the Mac, and who want to get more in depth with their Mac knowledge. This is an “advanced beginner to intermediate” level book.
FYI: The Apple Store offers paid one-on-one training sessions too, but these are only available if: (a) you bought your Mac at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store, and (b) you paid for this program within 14 days of your purchase.
More Great Mac Resources For Beginners
So these are all great resources for Mac beginners, and here’s a few more resources as well:
- Mac|Life Magazine – this is the magazine for which I am a contributing editor. I write the monthly “Ask” column, where I answer Mac tech questions from readers around the country. That’s right — I am the “Dear Abby” of computer geeks! I would recommend subscribing to the print edition of their magazine, which I find significantly better than their website. For some reason, their website doesn’t publish all of the articles that are in print. I have no idea why. My articles are typically on the Tip of The Day page, but again, only a small handful of my articles make it to the website. Very bizarre… I just brought this up to my editor for the second time to try to correct this issue. They do an outstanding job in print, but I think they need some work on the web side of things.
- MacWorld Magazine – this is Mac|Life Magazine’s main competitor. Clearly not as good as Mac|Life! 😉 No seriously, they have a much better website than Mac|Life does, and their print magazine is really good too. But I prefer Mac|Life in print, because it’s a little more personable of a magazine… for example, you’ll almost never see a photograph of a person in MacWorld Magazine (only product shots), but Mac|Life Magazine does profiles on human beings all the time. I feel like Mac|Life does a better job of connecting to the user in print, whereas MacWorld does a better job of giving you a good web resource.
- VersionTracker.com – There used to be a myth circulating around PC users that there weren’t that many programs available for the Mac. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Mac is the ONLY COMPUTER ON THE PLANET that can run 100% of all the software ever created. The Mac can run ALL Windows software ever created (with the purchase of additional software), the Mac can run ALL Linux software (although I don’t know why you’d want to do that), and it can run ALL Mac OS X software. Not that you would ever WANT to run anything but Mac OS X native software once you get used to the Mac, because Mac software is so much higher in quality than its Windows counterparts. And you can always find ample Mac software in ANY category of software that you are looking for.
There is one exception: games. If you’re a big gamer, Macs are notoriously lacking in native Mac games, but there’s still plenty to choose from and you can always run Windows games on your Mac. ANYHOO (I can’t believe i just said “anyhoo”, I think this is the first time I’ve ever said it), more on gaming in a moment, because I’ve totally digressed off my point here. If you’re looking for a piece of Mac software, check out versiontracker. They do their best to keep up-to-date on all the thousands of programs that are available for the Mac. What’s most useful on their site are the user reviews and product ratings, which are usually pretty damn accurate.
Best Productivity Software For The Mac
When it comes to productivity software for the Mac, you don’t really need to know anything more than these 3 pieces of information:
- BusyCal: Don’t even think about using Apple’s iCal that comes for free with your Mac. It is really a poor excuse for a calendar program, and Apple hasn’t updated it in years. The real calendar that all Mac users should be using is BusyCal. It offers everything that iCal doesn’t offer, and then some.
- The Omni Group: Makers of my favorite program OmniOutliner Pro (for professional outlining & idea organization), and a whole bunch of other award-winning programs such as OmniFocus (a “Getting Things Done” task manager that syncs to your iPhone via the cloud), OmniGraffle (professional diagrams), and OmniGraphSketcher (professional charts & graphs).
- OmniFocus vs. Things: Speaking of OmniFocus, there is a competing program called Things which many people think is easier to learn than OmniFocus. While Things might be easier to learn, it is really a much worse product than OmniFocus. Things lacks almost all of the sophistication and necessary features that I depend on in OmniFocus, such as nested actions within other actions (to name one example). Also, OmniFocus offers automatic synchronization between multiple Macs and multiple iPhones, and it will synchronize over the Internet. Things requires you to manually synchronize your Mac to your iPhone, and you must be on the same WiFi network in order to make it happen. Plus, I believe that Things only synchronizes to one Mac, not multiple Macs. OmniFocus is also updated with new features and bug fixes much more frequently than Things, and the Omni Group tech support is absolutely stellar. I hear nothing but complaints about the lack of responsiveness from the Things tech support team. So OmniFocus wins, hands down.
- iWork – Forget Microsoft Office. You don’t need it, it’s bloated, and it produces mediocre results. Just like everything else out of Microsoft. Instead, switch to Apple’s iWork, which is elegant, beautiful, simple… and it reads & writes MS Office files too.
- FileMaker Inc. – For everything else, there’s Bento and FileMaker Pro, the two best database programs available for the Mac. And ScottWorld offers the best Filemaker Pro consulting in the nation.
Gaming Resources For The Mac
You know, I’m not a huge gamer, which is funny because I started off my computer career (at 12 years old) reviewing games for a national computer magazine, testing text adventure games for Infocom, and programming my own interactive adventure games in Apple BASIC. If you walk into any Apple Store, they typically have about 75 Mac games to purchase, but it’s nowhere near the hundreds upon hundreds of PC games you’ll find at Best Buy. Apple clearly lost the war on desktop gaming, much of which has to do with Microsoft’s nefarious tactics to keep games off the Mac. (More on that in a future article.) And besides, Apple is currently conquering the game market with their iPhone/iPod touch platform.
But still, there are some good online resources for Mac games. The list below is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start:
- Apple – Games
- Inside Mac Games
- Feral Interactive
- Big Fish Games
- PopCap Games
- X-Plane Flight Simulator for Mac and iPhone
If those aren’t enough gaming resources for you, you might just want to invest in a Nintendo Wii like I did, which was a gigantic hit at my last birthday party.
Or, if you’re a true gamer, simply install Windows on your Mac and play all the Windows games that you can handle.
The Best Mac Technical Support Resource
Here at ScottWorld. we are the FileMaker experts of Austin. We are the #1 resource for top-notch, quality FileMaker tech support, expert Mac tech support, and unparalleled FileMaker Pro consulting in Austin. ScottWorld will even come onsite to your location (in the Austin area) to work with you & your Macs. If you need the Best FileMaker Consultants in Austin, look no further than ScottWorld.
However, this is very important, as we get dozens of emails a week from people seeking free Mac help: Please note that we do NOT provide any of our services for free. You must first become a ScottWorld client in order to receive computer services from us. Becoming a ScottWorld client requires an advance payment for 5 hours of computer service, and signing our ScottWorld contract. Contact us if you are interested.
Other Mac Technical Support Resources
- Your local Apple Store’s Genius Bar
- Apple’s Discussion Forums (these are peer-to-peer; Apple employees do NOT participate in the discussion forums)
- Apple’s support pages
- MacFixit and The X Lab (Mac troubleshooting websites)
- MacWindows (website dedicated to Mac/Windows integration)
Need to call Apple?
- If you need to call Apple for technical support, their U.S. phone number is 1-800-275-2273.
- Here are Apple’s worldwide phone numbers for technical support.
- And here are the rest of Apple’s phone numbers.
Mac News and Rumor Sites
Here are just a few of my favorite Mac news & rumour sites. I visit over 25 of these sites daily, but these are my top faves:
So there you have it — a complete listing of Mac resources that any Mac user would want to have at their fingertips!
In the future, I’m going to post another article which solves the biggest dilemmas that PC users have when they first switch to the Mac.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If so, please donate a small amount so that I can continue to post blog articles like this in the future: