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In this course, Macworld senior editor Christopher Breen provides a comprehensive overview of Mac OS X Mountain Lion, complete with insider tips for getting the most out of the operating system. The course shows how to configure system preferences, personalize the interface, master gestures, and achieve fluency with applications such as Mail, Calendar, and Preview. The course also includes tutorials on browsing the web with Safari, automating complex tasks with Automator, sharing over a network, performing maintenance operations using Disk Utility, and offers time-saving techniques for using the Mac efficiently. Along the way, Christopher reviews the 200+ new features in Mountain Lion, which gives even experienced Mac users a valuable head start.
It's time to delve into System Preferences. Specifically, those for configuring the look and feel of the Mac's interface, and we're going to start with the General System Preference. So you have various options that you can configure in the General Systems Preference to change the look of the Mac's interface. So you can change the color of the buttons in the menus. You have blue or graphite as choices. You can change the highlight color. So, for example, currently, if I want to change its Name, it's a light blue, but I can change it to a different color if I like.
We'll leave it as the blue. You can change the size of the side bar icons, much bigger now, and very tiny. And medium, and I'll leave it at medium. Then there are scroll bars. Let's pull up a window. Let's pull up one that actually has scroll bars. Now, as you can see, just like in Lion, you have these grayish scroll bars here to the side.
This is much different than what came before. So you can have those scroll bars automatically appear based on whether you're using a mouse or a trackpad, or they can appear only when you're scrolling. So now, I'm scrolling and they appear and then I stop scrolling and they disappear, or you can have them on all the time. Take it away and they're still there. If you have a mouse, they'll be there all the time. If you have a trackpad, they won't, and the reason for this is because it's very much like the iOS.
If you're accustomed to swiping things on your iPhone or your iPod, you don't see scroll bars, it just scrolls, and so they assume that if you're using a trackpad, you want that same kind of experience. You can change how the scroll bars move, depending on where you click, so if I click in the scroll bar, currently it will move down an entire page, or move up a page, or I can choose to jump to the spot that's clicked. So if I want to go all the way to the bottom, I'll click on the bottom, go to the middle, click in the middle, and so on. In another movie, I showed you how to use autosave in TextEdit and other supported applications.
By default, when you close a document, it will automatically save changes you've made. You don't have to allow that to happen, however. If you enable "Ask to keep changes when closing documents," instead of it just closing and saving, you'll see a little dialogue box that asks if you'd like to keep your changes. The next option has to do with closing windows. So by default, if you have a bunch of windows open and you close an application, when you next restart that application, those windows will open up again. In this case, if you enable "Close windows when quitting an application" when you close that application, those windows will close. The next time you open the application, the application will open without any of these windows open.
If you go into the Apple menu, you see that there's a Recent Items entry, and that includes Applications, Documents, and Servers. You can choose how many items are going to appear there. By default, it's 10. But you're going to have no items appear and you can go as far as 50 items. Font smoothing is on by default, and this is a good idea. A lot of times, if you're in your web browser, for example, and this isn't on, some text is going to look a little jagged. If you turn this on, the text is just going to look better.
Here's another font smoothing option, again you can choose which sizes font smoothing will kick in on. By default, it's at four, I like that setting. Now, we'll move to Desktop & Screen Saver. I can close this window here. So within Desktop & Screen Saver, to no one's surprise, there are two options, and one is for configuring the look of the Desktop and the other one is for the Screen Saver. So Apple provides some desktop pictures. To change, simply click on the one you like, and you can also go with solid colors as we have done.
You can also choose a custom color if you like. Wow! That'll wake you up in the morning. You betcha! That's a little too much for me, so I'm going to turn that off and I'm going to change it back to my -- ah, now I feel much calmer. You can also choose items from your iPhoto library if you like. Let me choose photos. That's very nice, too. You can choose how that's going to work, so it can fill the screen, it can fit to screen, you can stretch it to fill the screen, and you can also place it in the center.
Once again, we'll go back to our solid colors. Then if you like, you can choose a folder that has images within it. Now, there you go. Wow, no, not even my wife would like that. Okay, so yes, you could choose your own pictures if you like. Now, also at the bottom, this is something we changed earlier, and that's the Translucent menu bar. If you want things behind the Menu Bar to kind of show through, you can leave this on.
I prefer to have it off, however. Then you can choose how often you're going to change your picture. That can happen every 30 minutes, every hour, every day. Just to show you what can happen if you choose this. Change picture every five seconds. See, it's not terrible, because it fades in and out. However, I would find that really distracting, so I turn that off. Solid colors and back to blue.
Now, let's take a look at Screen Saver. There are a variety of Screen Savers available to you, and a lot of them have to do with slideshows now. They're all very pretty and this comes from a stock library of Apple's images. You can also choose other sources if you like. Again, you could choose a folder or you can choose from a photo library.
Then there are sort of these synthesized effects. This is Shell, iTunes Artwork, I don't have anything in my iTunes library currently, but if I did, you'd see album artwork. I could choose a random Screen Saver. Flurry is the default Screen Saver, and here's Arabesque, and we'll go back to the default. If you like, when a Screen Saver kicks in, you can have a clock up here, and then you can configure some of these things as well.
Now normally, these will kick in after a certain time, and this is configured in the Energy Saver System Preference, which we're going to look at later on, but you can also kick in using a Hot Corner. So you click on Hot Corners, and then you can configure what happens when you take your mouse to a certain place. So in this case, start Screen Savers in the upper left corner, so if I drag my mouse to the upper left corner, here's my Screen Saver, and then just drag it out and it stops. In this case I'll set it back to none and click on OK.
Now, one thing to know about Screen Savers, it used to be way back in the day, when we're all using these huge CRT monitors that you really had to worry about something like screen burn-in. This would happen if you were seeing a static image on your screen for hours. Eventually, that image would actually be burned into the phosphor. And so whenever you look at anything on your computer screen, you would see this ghost image. This is not a concern today with current monitors that we have. You don't have to worry about screen burn-in. So much of this is for your amusement.
The other thing is it's also a security issue. So you can configure your Mac, and we'll look at how that's done, so that when it goes to sleep and shows a Screen Saver, that in order to wake it up, you're going to have to enter your password, so that's one other use for a Screen Saver. And now let's look at Dock, and let's expose the Dock. Go to Dock, Turn Hiding Off, and here's our Dock. So you can change the size of the Dock. It could be big or it could be very little, and you'll change it based on how many items you have in the Dock.
You can also magnify the Dock, which is kind of a cool effect. So as you drag over, your image just get larger and then reduce as you drag away from them. You can choose where you're going to put it, left, right, or bottom. You can't put it at the top. There's a minimize windows effect. Let me show you how that works. So if I click on the yellow button, it minimizes the window. See it sort of swoops down? Here's a cool trick, hold down the Shift key and then you can really see how that effect works.
It also works that way when you bring it back by clicking on it. Again, I have the Shift key held down. And you can scale it down instead. So there's the scale effect with the Shift key. Put it back to Genie. You can double-click on a windows title bar to minimize it, so I'll turn that on. Click on the window. Double-click, there it goes.
You can choose to minimize windows into the application icon. See how that works. So notice, it didn't go to the right side, but instead, because it's a Finder window, it went into the finder icon. You can animate the opening of applications. What happens there is that if I open an application -- see that little bouncing in the Dock, I can turn that off if I want. I can automatically hide and show the Dock, I did that from the menu before, but I can turn that on here.
And very subtle, at the very bottom, any active applications are going to show a very light, whitish-blue, right here, light under an active application. You can have that on or you can turn it off. So you can see there's not a lot of difference, and let's hide our Dock. Then there's Mission Control. We're going to talk about Mission Control in another movie. This is where you modify its behavior and assign keyboard shortcuts to it. Now, a lot of the features here were once known as Expose in earlier versions of the Mac OS, as well as Spaces.
The two have been combined into this System Preference. We're going to talk about Dashboard in another movie. Again, we're going to get to some of these features when we talk about Mission Control, and you're also going to find a Hot Corners option here. Click that and you can choose to have Mission Control activated via a Hot Corner. That wraps up the basic Personal System Preferences.
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