Mac Happens

Easier Computing

Evan Kleiman - 1999.08.03

Computers were designed to make our lives easier, right? So why do they make our lives harder? Everyday, just to use get a few emails you need to do so many things - how exactly is this easier?

Well, it's not. Computers have done many things for our lives; making them easier is not one of them. But there are many ways to make your computing experience easier, so your life can be easier. Today I'll be your guide to making your Mac life much easier.

One of the biggest things that makes my Mac computing life hard is program launching. This is because it takes many steps to find your favorite important productivity program, like Doom. First, you need to go to your hard drive, then the folder, then the application. But there is an easier way.

Out on the net there are many programs to make launching easy, such as the free launcher application that came with your Mac, or Drag Thing <http://www.dragthing.com>. But all of those applications are either costly, obtrusive, or both. So I made my own little launcher: it's free, very small, and all you need to make it is Mac OS 8.0 or greater.

  1. Make aliases of all your favorite educational programs (Quake), banking programs (Decent), and any others. You can make an alias by selecting the file and pressing the Apple key and M at the same time.
  2. Take these aliases and put them all into a folder.
  3. Put this folder into the Apple Extras folder, since that's a good place to put things like that.
  4. Rename the folder with the aliases of the programs to one space, not the word, just hit the space bar once. You'll see why we did this later.
  5. Next, open up the folder and make sure the buttons item is checked under the view menu.
  6. Now, go to view options (also under the view menu) and select the radio button under the smaller icon picture.
  7. Now, close that dialog.
  8. Here's the last step. Go to the view menu once again and select pop up window. This will send your new launcher to the bottom of the screen. Now, whenever you want your launcher, just click the little tab with the folder picture at the bottom of your screen.

The other thing that makes using a Mac hard is a problem that makes most computer users lives hard, and that is of course typing. There is a program called KeyQuencer <http://www.binarysoft.com/kqmac/kqmac.html> that lets you can set up little programs called macros. You can set it up so that whenever you press Control-1 it types something. This little wonder has saved me much time typing.

Now, these might now be all the ways to make your Mac easier, but these timesaving tips are definitely a start. Instead of spending hours looking for your important business program (Duke Nukem), you can be working on your new project (beating level five).

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