The Art of Web Browsing

One of the first things I notice when tutoring a new Macintosh computer owner, or even a new PC computer owner (yes, I tutor THOSE people, too) is how much easier their Internet browsing would be easier if they learned a few pointers.

First, when you see a link on a web page, usually text underlined in blue, or a button or graphic, you do NOT have to double-click it. For some reason, double clicking is something many new users think you have to do to get a link to work. Not true; one click will work just fine on any link on a web page.

How often do you follow multiple links from one web page? Do you click on a link, then have to click the “Back” button on your browser a few times to get back to the page you started from? There’s a much better way. Did you know that if you hold the mouse button down as you click on a link you’ll open a pop-up menu that will give you multiple choices? Here are two screen snapshots from the two most popular web browsers, Netscape Navigator 4.6 on the left, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.5 on the right.


As you can see, both will open the link in a new window. Both will also add this link as either a bookmark (Navigator) or a favorite (Explorer). But the important thing right now is “Open Link in New Window” and “New Window with this Link” This will make a new web browser window open, while keeping the original page open as well. Now, when you want to go back to the main page you started from, you simply close the new window, and there is the original page.

Apple Menu
Want a quick means of opening an application you use often? The easy way to add that program to your Apple menu is to first make an Alias of the item (click the icon of the program once, then go to your File menu and select “Make Alias”). Now take that alias and drag it into the folder named “Apple Menu Items” inside your System folder. That program can now be launched from your Apple menu.

Take out the Trash
Another things many new Mac users seem to do is keep on their hard drive everything they ever receive‹old applications, old email, old documents‹you name it! Whether it’s from fear of throwing something important away, or perhaps simply not knowing which files perform which function, I’ve seen new users become virtual pack rats, their hard drives clogged with megabytes upon megabytes of useless clutter. If this is the case with you, you’ll find your Mac will be a lot happier when you reclaim that lost disk space with a good tidying up.

I’ll give you an example of the type of thing you can‹and should‹toss out. Below is a file I downloaded from the Internet. I only want to keep one of these things, since the other two are just relics of the file’s metamorphosis.


Can you guess which of these you should throw away? If you guessed #1 and #2, you’re absolutely correct. #3 is the actual file you want. #1 is the hqx version, which is simply a format which makes it easy for Mac files to be downloaded from the Internet without losing important file information in the process. #2 is called the .sit file, or sometimes a .sea file. A .sit or .sea file means that the original file is compressed, making it smaller than the original, thus faster to download. When you have all three of these, you can safety get rid of the first two. Sometimes, you may only have #2 after you download a file.

Well, that’s all for this month. If you have a question, or would like to see something covered here next month, be sure to drop me an email!

Tim Robertson

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