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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.
At one time, the way to get software for your Mac was to trot down to your local software emporium and purchase a box that contained the software you needed on some kind of disc. Today, we rarely get software on discs. Instead, we download it. While many of us still down software from various websites, Apple wouldn't mind terribly if you used its Mac App Store, which makes it very easy to obtain, update, and reinstall your software. Let's take a tour of the store. To do that, you go to the Apple menu and choose App Store.
When you do that, the first thing you see is the Featured tab. This includes a few applications at the top that Apple thinks are worthy of your attention. Below, you'll see a New and Noteworthy area, some highlighted categories of applications, What's Hot, and these are applications that seem to be getting a lot of attention from people, another set of collections, and then kind of a special area. In this case, this is enhanced for the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, so the graphics on these applications have been tweaked to work with Apple's Retina Display MacBooks. Don't forget to take a look along the right side as well.
First, you're going to find some quick links to things, and then you're going to look at your All Categories. You can browse applications by category. So for example, I want to look just at Apple's apps, I click on that and you see the applications that are made by Apple. To go back a page, we just click on the left arrow, and now we're back on the Featured screen. Another important area is the Top Paid area. This tells you exactly what's popular at the App Store. In this case, Mountain Lion is still a big seller, as are lots of other Apple applications. Then there's the Top Free area.
These are also popular applications that you don't have to pay for. They're all free. Now, if you want to see all applications of a particular kind, say Free, we can click on See All and then we see a long list of these applications. Now, let's take a look at those Top Charts. So if you don't want to use the sidebar, instead, you can go to this page and look at what's Top Paid and again, click on See All and you see lots and lots of popular applications. Top Grossing is important as well. These are the applications that are making the most money for those people who've manufactured them and look at this.
Apple seems to be doing extremely well as it seems to have the top eight applications. Then Categories is where you can choose the category of software you want to look for. So if you need something in the Business category, simply click on its category and you'll see popular apps at the top and then the applications listed below. Then there's Purchases. We took a brief look at that in another movie but this is very helpful. Once upon a time, if you purchased something from Apple, you'd have to download it to your computer, in most cases this was iTunes content like music and movies and that kind of thing.
And when you did, you had to keep a backup of it. If you lost it, if your computer crashed, for example, and it was completely gone, you would actually have to write to Apple and say, "Please, I lost all my stuff. Any way you could give it back to me?" And they'd be very nice and they'd say yes, you can download it again just one time. Well, that's all over now. There's a new program called iTunes in the Cloud, and it's a broad policy that allows you to re-download anything that you've purchased from Apple. Actually, this can free things that you've gotten from the Mac Apple Store, as well as from the iTunes store.
So while you're on the Mac App Store, you'll find all your purchases, and if you don't happen to have them on this particular computer, all you have to do is click on Install and they will be installed on your computer. I showed you elsewhere the Updates area, and this is where you get the software updates for any Apple applications that were installed when you first got your Mac, as well as applications that you've purchased. Now let's look at actually obtaining an application. Let's go back to Featured and let's go to Top Free. Let's look at Window Tidy and we'll click on that. Now we're actually on that app's page.
You can see a description at the top. They provide some screen shots so you can see what you're getting into, and below are customer ratings. These can be very helpful because it shows you what real customers think of the application. Now what I find most useful is in Sort By to choose Most Recent. Do this and you can see the most recent comments. This is helpful because it's possible that when an application originally shipped, maybe there were some bugs with it, it wasn't quite finished, and it got a lot of poor ratings.
However, the developer then updated the application and it got better over time and that should be reflected in the rating. Note too, there are occasions when you want to take some of these comments with a grain of salt, particularly for free applications. People have paid nothing for something. They may not be happy with it because they thought it should do this even though it was never intended to, and so they'll issue negative comments. So it's a good idea to run through the comments and try to figure out if that person is just a crank or if there really seems to be trend and there is something wrong with the application.
So we'll go back to the top and if we want to get this application, all we have to do is click on the Price, in this case it's free, and then click on Install App. When we do that, we'd be prompted for our Apple ID and our password. I don't actually need this application right now so I'll click on Cancel, but if you were to enter your password, you'd be signed in and then the application would download automatically and be placed in your Applications folder. Those are the basics of the Mac App Store. It's a convenient way to purchase software but not the only way. Now some applications are barred from the Mac App Store because they perform the kind of under-the-hood chores that Apple would prefer that users not do.
If you don't find the tools you're looking for on the Mac App Store, hunt around on the internet. Developers of these tools may be selling them from their own website.
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