the symbol of Apple Macintosh computers!

Mac Users -

just for us

"Some people think the pentium II is the fastest processor in the world.
Not quite.
The chip inside every new Power Macintosh G3 is up to twice as fast.
Apple. Think different."


What's a Macintosh?

A Macintosh or 'Mac' is a computer running the Apple Macintosh Operating System (OS).
Some people still function quite happily with the old (small and simple) System 6; others have the brand new (much bigger and more complicated) System 8.5.
My elder daughter has System 7.1 on my old laptop, the Powerbook 140, because it's an older computer (not so fast, not so much room), but it still allows her to do everything she needs to do (assignments, email, research on the Internet etc.).
My son (currently in Year 12) and my younger daughter (aged 8) use System 7.6 on my desktop computer, the Quadra 610, because it is newer (faster and with more room), and they both like to play games with a lot of large, fast-moving pictures.
I use System 8.1 on my even newer, saved-up-for-ages-for laptop, the Powerbook 1400, because this machine has plenty of memory and space to run that System, and its features are useful to me in the many different things I like to do when I can.
For newer machines, System 8.5 (soon to be 8.6) does look useful; I'm rather hoping someone will give it to me for Christmas!

However different they may sound, and although more recent ones take up much more space and memory and cost more, the Mac Operating Systems are all really very similar, and very easy to use.

For example, I bought a Mac LCIII (known as Elsie) when my youngest was only two years old.
She helped me unpack it and plug it in.
Then, unfortunately, I had to go to the toilet (this is a real-life story!). Being a toddler, this little one asked me urgently through the toilet door if I could "get her into the computer". I said that I would, of course, when I got out of the toilet!
When I got out of the toilet, there she was, having climbed up on the computer chair, turned on the Mac, and got herself into ClarisWorks. She had opened a new drawing document and was drawing!

This always sticks in my mind as a down-to-earth example of the ease of use that Macs offer. I started out on mainframes with punchcards at university, over twenty years ago, and since then have used and taught on many kinds of computers, and all main operating systems. In my experience and opinion, nothing touches the Mac for ease of use and intuitive design.
In my youngest daughter's case, a two-year-old, a toddler who had never used a computer before, just did what felt right and looked right, and it all worked. Needless to say, she has been very confident with computers from that day, and has taught herself all sorts of things.

So, if you have a Mac of any kind, Welcome to the Mac family, and do feel free to get in touch.
To start with, read down the page.
You will know if you have an Apple Mac computer, because it will have a colourful Apple (with a bite taken out) shape on it somewhere (like the image above), and the word Macintosh, and the name of the model.
If you have been part of the great iMac rush, you can't confuse that with any other computer!


Where do I get information about my Mac?

The more you know and understand about your Mac, the more you will get out of the relationship.
Yes, this is a Macintosh I'm talking about!
You'll find, or you may have already found, that your Mac has a character and style of its own, and can help you do all sorts of things that you want to do.
It's been designed and built with some understanding of your limitations (you need to see things, for example, you need information presented in a certain way), so the more you understand about its limitations (it needs a very even supply of electricity, for example, and needs room to store and handle information), the easier it will be for you to make things work, together.

If you have a new Mac, the manufacturer is the first place to go for the latest information.

Apple Australia's Site will keep you up to date.

If you have bought a new Mac or any peripheral (printer, modem etc.) which is still in warranty, you can contact your retailer, and your warranty card will list service centres in your area.

Although there is no authorized Mac reseller or service centre in the Riverland, I've been impressed with Next Byte in Adelaide, who immediately located and sent up a spare part for my computer, that had been "on back order" for months with another company.

They also gave me the information (both in person and over the phone) to solve two printer problems that had been frustrating me ever since I bought the thing, and referred me to a very positive printer service centre which negotiated for my warranty to be extended so the hardware problem would be fixed for free.

I visited them first in Adelaide, and spent quite a lot of time salivating over their displays, and bending their ears: they were unfailingly courteous (however confused I became, since I was unwell) and well-informed.

Next Byte are authorized to sell and service new and used Macintosh computers, peripherals and software.
Their website is at

They send out a newsletter regularly, with more specials to put a gleam in your eye
(if anyone wants to give me a G3 Powerbook for my birthday, I won't object ;-)
and with useful information.
I noted that they offer 12 months' free training for people buying a new Mac, and would certainly know whom to recommend for Mac training of any sort.

Older Macs don't die, they're too damn useful.
You can get excellent deals on second-hand Macs, and can upgrade them to do what you want (unless you want them to be new, at which we all only get one chance!).
I gave my daughter my Powerbook 140, a B&W laptop (Oct 91 - Aug 92), from the earliest laptop series.
I had upgraded it with second-hand RAM and a larger (also second-hand) hard drive, and she can use it for web-browsing, email, news, webpage-writing, tertiary study, and a large variety of applications.
I bought her a second-hand modem to go with it, and she received the modem, plugged it in and immediately emailed me. Plug and play: Macs really do it.

Since I'm mostly bedridden, my saved-up-for Powerbook 1400 is my lifeline.

In the sitting room, heavily infested with children and teenagers, is my Quadra 610 (Oct 93 - July 94, still very 'out-of date' and worth very little on resale), which has a faster processor, more RAM and disk space, and a high-quality colour monitor, and thus will handle the massive games, image files and animated CD's fed in from the high-speed (24X) CD-drive I had to buy just to run a CD I bought my younger daughter for last Christmas.
{mutter... bloated programs... pictures... animation... featuritis... having to upgrade... grumble... moaning about money... etc.}

Your 'older' Mac is far from out of date: it can do so much!
One great resource for comparing models and finding about your own upgrade options is the freeware program GURU, downloadable from Newer Technologies' website.
It covers all models, right up to date, is particularly good on RAM upgrades (which are their business), and gives you all the basic info about your and any Mac model (not to mention info you didn't even know you didn't know).

The great online resource is the Low End Mac website, at, offering you untold (really, I haven't told you yet) information and links about Macs in general and any Mac in particular.
Fact sheets, advice, mailing lists, technical info, contacts...


What about help with day-to-day use?

Well, you're never alone when you have a Mac, and it comes with day-to-day help.

First of all, each computer (and peripheral) comes with a User's Manual.
The manual is usually brief and to-the-point, and I have found I always save myself time and trouble later, just by taking the time to read that manual first up.

You can certainly ask for help elsewhere, but you are going to feel silly, and the person you ask is going to feel frustrated, if the information you want is already in your manual.
You don't drive a car without being able to understand what the bits and pieces are for, and what the signs mean.
Don't drive your computer blindly.

One of the reasons that most manuals are very brief, is that we are all trying to move away from on-paper information.
On your Macintosh 'desktop', near the right-hand edge of the menu-bar along the top (more in the middle, but still on the right of the other menus, for System 8), you can either see a little question-mark inside a talk/thought balloon (like in a cartoon) (up to System 7.1), just a big question mark or a menu named Help (later systems).
This is the Help menu.
It contains Balloon Help, which will pop out little balloons to explain what things are and how to use them (in the System and in many programs).
It will also contain specific Help information for the program you are using.
Wow! I will confess and look just as silly as anyone else: I just had a look at the Help menu while in my webpage-writing program (PageSpinner, shareware), and found a list of extremely useful things I had no idea were there... {blush}
Examples, information, other programs that will help, where to get them, Web addresses (it even offers to connect me to useful places, but checks with me first)...
OK. Read the Help. Use the Help menu. (This means you, too, Clytie!)

As for support, Apple User Groups exist all over the world.
For a very modest subscription, you can have access to libraries of software, problem-solvers and resource-people, demonstrations, buy/sell/swap, and the sharing of information and experiences.
The South Australian Apple Users' Club Inc. sends out a great monthly magazine called AppleSauce, with stacks of useful tips and information, and offers all the sorts of support I mentioned.
Even though I've never been well enough to go to any of the monthly meetings in Adelaide, just getting the magazine has been well worth the subs, to me.
Country members have the same status as city members, and are just as welcome to ring up a 'problem-solver' for help with something in particular, or to borrow software, or to take advantage of one of their special offers.
These people are top value ;-)


What about really technical information? or are the places to start.

Among other things, you should be able to get to the TIL (Tech. Info. Library) from there.
It can be very slow, and finding the info can be frustrating; then other times it's easy and the info is there. I personally think it is haunted. ;-)
The TIL site is supposed to be at, but you never know.

You can pick up a lot of really useful help, and ask for it specifically, on any of the Mac-related newsgroups (which you access through a newsreading program like MacSOUP), e.g.:
comp.sys.mac.comm (communications, i.e. Internet, any modem use)
so let your newsreader get you a list of newsgroups, and have a browse.


What else is on the 'Net?

There are various online tutorials and help pages.
For example, for Eudora, the most popular (and in my opinion the best) email program for both Mac and Windows, you can go to:
Hank Zimmermann's impressive Eudora site
'A Guide to the Eudora Mail Package'
'Internet 101: Eudora tutorial' etc.

Any newer Mac computer (especially the iMac) can use and enjoy the facilities of Cyberdog, the remarkable intuitive Internet suite designed for the Macintosh.
The program is on the System 8.0 CD, and is also available from TUCOWS program-archive sites, including TUCOWS at Ballarat. You find it under Mac programs, then under browsers.
The 'Dog is certainly my best friend, and I'm happy to answer email questions about it.

Other useful Mac links include:
Claris (ClarisWorks, FileMaker Pro, ClarisWorks for Kids etc.)
Australian Peter Lewis' Internet software
the TUCOWS (again) mirror site at Ballarat, lots of software for Mac (and other operating systems), a very fast link from


Who ya gonna call?

If you're really stuck, and with a totally new computer, or trying to access the Internet, or wrestling with some of the more bloated programs being sold (or all of the above) even a Mac User can get to the hair-tearing stage...

you're welcome to email me and ask.
Click on my email address (a 'mailto:' link) below, and type your message online, or copy the address down and write a message in your email program offline, sending it later. I will reply whenever I'm able ;-)

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