Dec 102008
 
Authors: Glen Pfeiffer, Ryan Gibbons

You like being cool. After all, you bought a Mac computer — because Mac computers are cool, right?

Well now that you have your Mac, it’s not yet time to sit back at the nearest coffee shop and type away on your sleek machine. You have to spice it up — make your Mac stand out in the crowd. Here are some tips that will get you on your way:

#1. One of our personal favorites, which is easier to do on a Mac than how we explained it last week for a Windows system, is the trick of setting a screensaver as your desktop background.

First, you need a special program — which is completely free, by the way. Google search “Wallsaver” — it’s the first hit -and download the program on the page that comes up. It’s easy to use — open the program and press the “activate” button — Voila! Your screensaver is now your background. You can continue changing your screensaver in the System Preferences the same as you did before.

Now personally, we don’t think the screensavers that come with the Mac are too exciting, so if you want something that people will stop and look at, go to www.apple.com, click the Downloads tab, and in the search box type “matrix saver.”

Download this and follow install instructions, and before you know it, you will have Matrix-like code streaming down your background. Note that you can go into your screensaver settings to change the way the “MatrixSaver” works.

#2. Here’s a shorter tip: Don’t clutter your desktop with random files and shortcuts. We’re not just saying this because we’re neat freaks — having a cluttered desktop literally slows down your computer and takes up unnecessary extra disk space, because each file is treated as an entire folder that must be tracked. So if nothing else, make a folder on your desktop and just throw everything into it. Then relax as you start to notice less colorful pinwheels of death popping up./

#3. This next one is a usability tip. If you are just switching from a Windows to a Mac (perhaps this Christmas?), you probably have a lot of .wma and .wmv audio and video files — these are Windows Media Player files and can’t normally be opened on a Mac.

Yes, you could open these by running Windows on your Intel Mac, but if you want a quicker way to just open a file, then download Flip4Mac (Google search it, you want the second hit, “windows media player components”). This downloads plug-ins for your Quicktime Player to be able to play these windows files on your Mac. We were using it just the other day to listen to some Monty Python.

#4. And now we shall address the old “one-button” issue. Everyone should know by now that Macs can match the Windows right-click by holding down Ctrl and clicking, but if you don’t want to do that, there is a way you can just hold down your mouse button or trackpad button and it right clicks after half a second.

Google search “mac onefingersnap” and get that first hit. It installs a System Preference which allows this function.

Columnists Glen Pfeiffer and Ryan Gibbons can be reached at verve@collegian.com

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