Mac Lab Report

Answers to Student Questions about the Mac

- 2003.03.13

What they ask: "Where is the Internet on this computer?"

What they mean: "How do I start a browser?"

My usual answer: "The Internet is what gives us our power. It's an energy field created by all functional computers. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."

What they ask: "Where does the printer come out?"

What they mean: "Where is the printer in this room?"

My usual answer: "A printer usually comes out of the top of a box, unless you're in a real hurry."

What they say: "The computer won't turn on."

What they should ask: "How do I turn on the computer?"

My usual answer: "How long have you been in this class again?"

What they ask: "How do you eject the CD on this? I'm just curious."

What they mean: "My music CD I shouldn't have been listening to won't come out of the computer."

My usual answer: "Let me eject that for you. Oops! I forgot to put away that big magnet. Sorry. Now your CD-R is erased. Hope you have some more blanks at home."

What they ask: "Will PowerPoint on a PC run here at school on a Mac?"

What they mean: "Is a PowerPoint file created on a Windows PC compatible with a Mac running PowerPoint?"

My usual answer. "Yes. Really. No kidding. Trust me. Let's just try it anyway. Whaddaya know, it works!"

What they ask: "How much is that laptop?"

What they mean: "Is getting one for Christmas within the realm of possibility?"

What I answer: "Around a thousand dollars and up. No, that really is cheap for a laptop. Really."

What they say: "The program ____ is not on this computer."

What they mean: "When I double click on this program icon, nothing seems to happen."

What I answer: "The program is already running. Open a window. See, if you have two open windows with a shared menu bar, it is actually less confusing than if you have a menu bar in every window. I know you don't care; stop rolling your eyes at me."

What they say: "The computer didn't save it."

What they mean: "I hit save and have no clue about where the file might have been saved because I don't fundamentally get the whole 'file hierarchy' thing."

What I answer: "Apple-F."

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is a longtime Mac user. He was using digital sensors on Apple II computers in the 1980's and has networked computers in his classroom since before the internet existed. In 2006 he was selected at the California Computer Using Educator's teacher of the year. His students have used NASA space probes and regularly participate in piloting new materials for NASA. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and scientific papers. He currently teaches astronomy and physics in California, where he lives with his twin sons, Jony and Ben.< And there's still a Mac G3 in his classroom which finds occasional use.

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