The little manual that comes with a new Mac is a joke. There’s so much more going on in Mac OS X than even implied in that rinky dinky manual that I don’t know where to start. I just know why.
Why? Apple knows most people don’t read manuals. They sit down and point and click. 10 years after two-button mice, most people don’t know what the second button can do.
Why read manuals? Point and click will get the job done, right? Yes. And no. Obviously, just pointing and clicking and mucking around (Mac or Windows) will ‘get the job done.’
It’s a method that just doesn’t get the job done very well. Why not a bigger manual with each Mac or with Mac OS X? Why? PDFs you say? Nope. Most folks don’t read those either.
Apple’s OS X has plenty of Help Screens. Click on help, right? I’m often amazed at how many people have never used Help (Mac or Windows). They just keep clicking until the frustration builds up and they take a break…
Or, they finally figure something out.
Apple is just playing on human nature and saving a ton of money by not including a book, a manual, a document of all the tricks and tips that make Mac OS X better.
For example, Screen Captures. If you’re a long time Mac user you may remember the keystroke combination of Command-Shift-3 keys which gets you a picture of your Mac’s screen saved on the desktop.
Older Mac users may also remember Command-Shift-4 combination which gets you the cute crosshairs so you can select an area of the screen to save to the desktop.
The main problem with both is that you’re ‘saving to the desktop.’ Funny, but if you actually need a shot of something on the screen then you probably want to save it in an application like Fireworks, Photoshop, Mail, etc., right?
How about Control-Command-Shift-3 or 4? That takes the snapshot and saves it in the clipboard so you can past it into an email message without saving to the desktop.
Control-Command-Shift-3 or 4?
It’s instant. Your clipboard now has a new image ready to paste. Wait? How many fingers does that require? That’s why Apple didn’t put that in the flimsy little manual. You have to use both hands and your nose to get that keystroke combination, right?
Another example is web cams. No where in Apple’s documentation or help screens can I find anything about using a video camera to set up a web cam. Yes, I could buy EvoCam or ImageCaster (I have both).
Check this out: Go to your OS X Tiger’s Application folder and open Image Capture. It’s another one of those nifty Mac applications I’d never used because I bring in all my photos to the Mac via iPhoto, and videos via iMovie.
Select Preferences in Image Capture. Click the Sharing tab. Click the checkbox for Share My Devices. Your digital camera should show up in the list. You’ll also need to turn on Enable Web Sharing. There’s a URL that gets listed there so you can tell your friends how to see what’s on the camera.
I had trouble connecting my iSight camera this way, but my Sony video camera worked fine. As usual, your mileage may vary. It’s a web cam. It’s free. Except for the web cam.
No where can I find anything about doing that in Apple’s documentation (I got tired of looking).
The only other reason I can figure out that Apple doesn’t include a comprehensive manual with a Mac is because they want the publishing world to do it and want you to pay $20 for the book of your choice.
That way, they, Apple, gets free publicity, and a regular and growing supply of books about all things Mac. Either that, or Steve Jobs hates killing trees but doesn’t mind if someone else does it.