ba With most of the holidays come and gone, a ton of people got new macs. I’m sure a large number of these individuals are switchers in some regard and have quite a few questions about their switch. I know for me it was a complete trial and error process, as I knew no one that owned a mac at the time. Being a pioneer in this regard within any social group makes the switch a little more difficult then it really should have to be. So, I decided to put together a quick Q and A answering some of the questions that are frequently asked when making the switch to a new Operating System, and a new Mac in particular.

New Mac owner Q and A…. for switchers

Q: How do I do updates like Microsoft Updates?

A: On the left, under the apple on the left, under the “Apple” Menu, click on Software Update. Much like Windows Update, Software Update will update Mac OS X, printer drivers and any apple related software.

Q:What is the Mac equivelent to the “control panel”?

A: The control panel equivalent is called “System Preferences”. It is on the Dock, or under the Applications folder.

Q: I just got a new Mac, how do I do a right mouse click?

A: There’s two ways, get a two button mouse (if you’d like). Or, if you have a mighty mouse, under “System Preferences” -> “Keyboard and Mouse”. Under Keyboard and Mouse, you have the ability to have the mighty mouse do a “right-mouse click” but changing the right button option to “Secondary Mouse Button”.

Q: What do I do if I have a windows application that I NEED to run?

A: Well, there probably aren’t very many applications that you NEED to run under Windows (except the Real Estate MLS application). But as a safety blanket, there are two ways, either Apple’s Boot Camp (Runs just like a Windows Laptop). Or via Parallels or VMWare’s Fusion PC Emulation software.

Q: While on Windows, I always had to have an anti-virus, anti-spyware, and personal firewall software installed, is this necessary with a Mac?

A: You do not necessarily need any of this software (at this time). At some point in the future it might become a necessity. However, if you need the security blanket like Linux, there are a couple of solutions. One is Clam-AV. It’s open source, and free. There’s also Symantec Norton Anti-virus for Mac available.

Q: As I was unpacking my new Mac…WTF is that stupid remote for?

A: The remote is used for the use of Front Row. Front Row allows you to use your mac as a media center, including hooking up your TV to watch any content, or just to watch a DVD on your computer. The remote will work within iTunes to switch to the next track, or change the volume, within iPhoto to go back and forth during a slide show and even within Keynote for presentations to switch to the next slide.

Q: I’m getting rid of my Windows Computer, and I have iTunes on it… is there anything I should be worried about?

A: Yes, If you’re on the same network, copy over all of the files from the windows PC to the Mac. Second, and most importantly, De-authorize that Windows PC, it’s easier than wasting an authorization of a computer.

Q: I had every chatting program on my old computer, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, Google, Skype and the like… can I reduce this to fewer programs?

A: Yes you can. Skype will have to stay separate, but the rest can be done using Adium. Apple includes iChat, which will do .Mac and AIM, but none of the others. Adium will do the following Services: AIM, .Mac, MSN, Yahoo, Bonjour (iChat), MySpace, Gadu-Gadu, Novell Groupwise, QQ, Lotus Sametime, and Jabber (Google Talk & Live Journal).

Q: Where else can I find more tips and tricks and news?

A: There are a ton of places to find some tips and tricks. You can check out the Macgasm archives. There are many podcasts, including (but not limited to) the MacCast by Adam Christianson, the Typical Mac User by Victor Cajiou, for news there is MacOSKen by Ken Ray, MacBreak Weekly by Leo Laporte, and ScreenCastsOnline by Don MacAllister. There are many websites, including Mac Fix It or even the apple discussion boards