Learning From Experience

The Mac can be deceiving. Just when you think everything is working well an unwelcome problem comes along to ruin everything (at least for that day). Here are some general tips based on my personal experiences:

– Extensions: Are the cause of most of the problems I have experienced on my Mac! I am careful about adding new software or unnecessary extensions. With System 7.5 there is a nice Extensions Manager that makes it easy to turn off the ones you do not need. If you have a conflict, then simply use the Extensions Manager to turn them all off, except System 7.5. Then check your software and if it works fine you know the cause is probably an extension conflict. To find out which one(s) is the cause, simply start turning them on a few at a time and restart your computer. Recheck your software each time you add a few until you find the conflict. I have had some conflicts with Norton Utilities (3.1) FileSaver and FastBack Scheduler. I do not need them so I turned them off. Also turning off the extensions you do not need saves RAM memory which will help you run your programs better.

– Fonts: Remove the ones you are not likely to use and put them on disk or at least in a fonts storage folder. After installing many different programs on my computer I think I accumulated several hundred fonts. They use memory and slow down your computer. When using ClarisWorks, have you found that your fonts are no longer displayed in their original type for easy identification? This happened to me and is caused by new software that came with other programs (like Adobe Type Manager). Simply hold down the shift key before you pull down the font menu on ClarisWorks and the fonts should be displayed in their original type again.

– Speed Doubler: I bought this for my Mac Performa 637CD (an 040 chip computer) and it seems to be a waste of money. The speed increase is minimal and it conflicts with other programs causing crashes. After I bought it I read several reviews and its ideal use is for running non-native software on a PowerMac. For an 040 Mac it seems to be a waste of money.

– RAM Doubler: I have used this for almost a year with no problems except that it conflicts with at least one CD ROM (Dark Forces). If you really need a lot more RAM ,then go buy some. If you only need a little help (don’t we all?) then it is well worth the $50 or so.

– WordProcessors: For most needs the word processor in ClarisWorks is just fine. I also own WordPerfect 3.0 which has many nice features for intermediate to advanced wordprocessing. Even with WP, I still mostly use ClarisWorks which is an excellent program that you should learn to use well!

– Games: We all need a break from working on our computers! My favorites for relieving stress and having fun are Pro Links Golf, ChessMaster, and F-18 (my favorite!). Now I wish I could get my $110 ThrustMaster joystick to work properly.

– PageMaker: Some say you can do excellent page layout with ClarisWorks. I tried it and quickly moved on to PageMaker 5.0 which I really like, though it takes time to learn (and a lot of memory too!). If you are getting into any kind of desktop publishing give PM a try! I have not used QuarkXPress but I have read that it is also very good.

– Modems: I am on my third Global Village modem (a 28.8 GV Platinum) and I strongly endorse their products! They are very easy to set up and use. They also come with excellent send/receive fax software. I am one of the moderators of the Mac Area on the Great Lakes Freenet and I get many complaints about various other modem brands. The only other brand that I have heard many good things about from various users I know is Supra. For now these are the only two I would endorse!
(Editor’s note: I have had MANY problems using the SupraExpress 144 Plus. I will switch back to a Global Village when I upgrade to 288)

– Mac Books: The “Macs for Dummies” series are excellent and fun to read! I also own both the Mac Handbook and the Mac Bible which are excellent. You do not need both, but all Mac users should probably own one or the other. I also really like the MacWorld series of books, in which I own the ClarisWorks and the PageMaker 5.0 versions which have helped a lot.

These comments and suggestions are merely my opinions based on my personal experiences and from many others I know who have shared their tips and tricks. Please feel free to send your comments or suggestions. Remember that when you have problems to stay cool and if things get really desperate you will have to turn to the last resort us Mac users go to, the manual!


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