Starting Line -My Mac Magazine #42, Oct. ’98

Halloween is just around the corner! Pumpkins, black cats, spiders, trick or treating… great stuff! The leaves turning brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows. The wind blowing through the trees, rattling the branches like bones. It’s time to watch reruns of all your scary favorites: Halloween, Halloween 2, Halloween H2O (okay, that one is still at the theater, but you can always see it twice!). Let’s not forget the all-time scariest movie of all: The Exorcist. Make sure you have someone you trust holding your hand while watching that one.

What else can you do to get in the mood? Read some of Stephen King’s most frightening novels: Salem’s Lot, The Tommyknockers, It, The Stand. Or, if you prefer, go to his early short story collections such as Skeleton Crew.

Before I go into Helpful Hints, I wanted to write about an experience I’m having with AOL. A couple of months ago AOL sent out an offer for its new long distance service… 9¢ a minute! Not too shabby. So, I signed up. In the offer I received via snail mail, it said go to keyword LDJULY to get the details. I thought, “No problem. I’ll sign up right now and print off the details tomorrow.”

The next day, when I was online, I typed in the keyword. It found nothing. I tried this for a couple of weeks. Nothing. I finally emailed Steve Case, President of AOL. I got a form email back. I eventually received an email from the long distance group letting me know the service has been activated. I emailed back explaining my situation. Long story short, I have not been able to get the details about the service.

Do I truly think I’m going to get the shaft? No. Especially with the problems AOL had not too long ago with line access, I think they will want to stay on the straight and narrow. And yes, I should have checked it out before I signed up. Even so, that does not change the fact AOL should have corrected this problem. If I couldn’t locate the information, how many others had the same issue? This is simply poor customer service.

Helpful Hints

HH#58: The MacAuthority— This is a neat little website I found. It covers, of course, Macintosh news. You can even sign up for email messages, all absolutely free! It’s related to a printed newsletter by the same name, The MacAuthority. It’s a great newsletter, costing about $40.00/year. Well worth the money. It gives you helpful hints, things to watch out for, things you might want to research more. It’s very informative. The website is

HH#59: How to Open a file, folder, or application— This is actually something I covered when I first started writing for My Mac. However, one of my readers, Buzz Buzzell, suggested might be good to cover again. It’s very basic, but very necessary when working on your computer.

Macs use double-clicks on the mouse to open pretty much anything. If you happen to double-click on a particular item that only needs one click, it’s no problem. It doesn’t affect the file/application/folder in any way. There are utilities you can purchase to reduce all your mouse clicks to one, if you prefer to work that way. We won’t cover that here.

Okay, I have to make an assumption: you know how to open your hard drive and how to open and use your browser, whatever it is. Essentially, the same principles apply to opening everything else.

Another way of opening something on your hard drive is to use the Open command. Simply click once on the item you want to open. Then, go under File at the top of the screen, drag down to the Open command and you’re all set! Or, you can use the keyboard shortcut, Command-O. Same results. Your file/folder/application will open for you.

Another way to open a file is to click, hold the file, and drag it to its application file. (The application which created the particular file you are looking to open.)

Another neat function our Macs have is opening unknown text files. For example, you have a read me file and you’re not sure what program created it. Simply click and hold that file, then drag it to your word processing application icon. Nine times out of ten, that will open the document. It could have been created in SimpleText, MS Word, TeachText, WordPerfect, or something else entirely! Fortunately, most word processing programs have reached the point where they will open a document created by another program. You may lose some of the text characteristics, but you should be able to read it.

Thanx to Buzz Buzzell for the topic suggestion!

The MacBug Tale: Check out The Conflict List, Take care of those bugs before they take care of you!

Internet Site of the Month:

This is probably the most advertised website in the world next to Yahoo!. I visited it for the first time last week and was I impressed. Why? I was looking for some oddball books. Hey, I love reading and I have eclectic tastes. What can I say? Plus, I’ve had a hard time finding easily accessible DVD suppliers. provides both and more! All on-line. Easy to search. Easy to buy. Quick delivery and easy on the pocketbook. If you haven’t already, take a look. You’ll like it. (I was especially pleased with the fast delivery. I received both my orders in less than a week!)

Have a happy and safe (and scary!) Halloween! ;­)

Barbara Bell

Websites mentioned:

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