Lesson 3 Getting Started


Home Computing      Lesson 3    (Mac/Apple)               Getting Started

All of our devices have an optional form of protection once switched on. It makes total sense to ‘password protect’ our devices and therefore, our data but, it can be inconvenient. Getting past passwords has become harder which is no less than we would expect but with Apple’s refusal to assist the FBI recently in breaking into a piece of equipment and with numerous ‘used’ Ipads out there that are locked, I would advise careful thoughts before electing any action.

Switch on your device; enter your password and hit Enter – the ‘carriage return’ key we used to use on our typewriters, located on the right hand side, RHS, of our keyboard.
For the purpose of this lesson, we are using a Macbook Pro Laptop but this is simply an equivalent of a PC desktop or laptop although some of the keys on the keyboard are slightly different.

Located on the bottom LHS, we find keys such as fn, ctrl, alt and cmd. Some of these are replicated on the RHS and between them sits the ‘space’ bar. Windows laptops have the Windows Logo button and I love this button as it is a shortcut to numerous (quick) screens, e.g., pressing the Windows button and the E button at the same time opens an ‘Explorer’ window on your monitor/screen and this it the whole filing cabinet or library contained on your computer and where we simply take control of all of our files, folders and hard drives - our total content in fact. Not so much on the Mac.

Pressing the Windows Logo and the letter D at the same time will take us quickly back to our Desktop, no matter how many windows or pages are open.

A word about the ubiquitous Mouse: an extremely clever device that changed how we use computers. When most of us heard about computers, it was with the onset of Windows 95 Operating System. Prior to this and from about 1981, IBM’s DOS, Disk Operating System dominated the computing world. However, the commands used in DOS are the basis of all commands and equate to things in Unicode, which is unimportant to us as users.
The Mouse, replicates the commands we type-in using our keyboards and handily, these typist style commands duplicate or are duplicated, by the Mouse actions. It follows therefore that an experienced typist with a good memory, can work more quickly in some instances than a typist in conjunction with a mouse. ?
If the typist knows the key sequence that the mouse is performing and can type the same commands from the keyboard, there is no point lifting a hand to engage with the mouse to locate the cursor to perform an action.

These shortcuts come into ‘their own’ in word processing.
In any of the word processing programs, certain actions are choices. Whether we choose to Left Justify (start our typing from the left hand side -  LHS) of the page or whether we centralise our layout, Right Justify or Fully Justify our text, is a matter of choice or purpose.
In the menu at the top of the page (toolbar), (radio) buttons are provided to enable these choices and with a click of the mouse (depressing the LHS button), you select accordingly.
IF you know the ‘keyboard shortcut’ for the action e.g., Ctrl + L = Left Justify or, Ctrl + E = Centralise Text or, Ctrl + R = Right Justify, then selecting this option from the keyboard is simply a breeze.

Numerous other shortcuts exist and probably one of the best known is Ctrl + P = Print.
Printing doesn’t actually happen but, a Print dialogue box opens and asks you what exactly you want to print and how – the user ALWAYS gets choices!

The CMD button on a MAC keyboard operates as a Ctrl button with Windows. Not all the shortcuts are the same and you can personally assign key sequences to actions if you so desire.

The Mouse: various models exist and as we learnt in our previous lesson, multi function mouses have taken over from the humble two-button original. Two button? The mouse has always had an under-used function namely, a Context Menu. Replicating some commands from menus, pressing the right button gives access to some of these actions however, as with the keyboard, some further actions can be assigned or added to the context menu.

These actions speed up operators or users and improve efficiency greatly. Adding more buttons, making wireless or radio mouses came next and optically operated mouses with trackballs to prevent mouse physical movements are a boon – if you like or get used to them? They do attract dirt through movement and require periodical cleaning to keep the actions smooth but without a doubt, the third addition was the most useful and took the shape of a wheel which scrolled and that scrolling action was seen in the screen as a cursor that followed up and down without the need to initiate the scrolling buttons (Up and Down arrows/pointers on the RHS) on the screen itself.

On some mouses, two more handy buttons have been added and by default, these buttons go back one action or forward one action e.g., when browsing, the back button will take you back a page (if it has already been viewed) or forward one page from the previous page (again, if it has been viewed already).

Studying Keyboards and their respective layouts is mostly, self-explanatory. Some keys do not match the identifier action depicted. We tend to assume that we are English speaking and we acknowledge differences between American English and UK English but does it end there? Of course it doesn’t. There are other variants of English and then all the other languages of the world; consider being French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese or Russian?

Many keyboard differences become apparent and necessary but, staying with English keyboard layouts itself presents some difficulty especially if people emigrate and take their equipment with them. There are a few common problems that occur regularly and accessing the Keyboard Settings Menu on your computer allows some changes to be made but some characters no longer can be found, some are located in the wrong indicated place and some are there but totally elusive.

I wouldn’t be too concerned except for a few conundrums such as @, £, €, and #. The @ is so necessary in all email addresses that it cannot be ignored so finding it is vitally important. The # known commonly as the ‘hash’ (also hash tag throughout the world), symbol in the UK and the number or pound symbol in North America is common in use too and all the characters can be found if you know where to look but, our focus is not on these assignations at present.

Accessing the Internet at ANY stage and typing in a question as basically as needs be, will produce numerous results to any and (almost) every query in the world. Remembering every detail has now become unnecessary due to this very reason and, unless there is a world-wide crash of computers, information and data will be ever-present.

All keyboard questions have been answered many times and all keyboard shortcuts are readily available for all operating systems, keyboards and languages.
Additionally, on the Macbook you can choose to display the keyboard icon on the top of your screen; clicking the icon opens a keyboard layout depiction and pressing keys with the cursor, demonstrates the actions as they will be in reality.

There are also dedicated buttons for accessing the Home page of a website when browsing; volume increase, decrease and mute; brightness increase and decrease; Play, Pause, Forward and Rewind along the top row and most importantly, an Escape button.
More useful on a Mac than a Windows device, the function often facilitates a quick exit from situations that don’t always bode well; it also has some positive functions as well.

Cursor Up, Down, Left and Right come in the form of Arrows < > and á â and the Shift function enables Capital letter typing whilst àI is the Tab key and moves across the page in steps or jumps open pages in sequence – more on this later.
Keyboard shortcuts quickly take you to the end or beginning of a line and also, the start and finish points on a page. There are ways to scroll down or up the page quickly too.

One common thing we have to do throughout our lives is compose letters for communication purposes. Similar in construction to the lessons we learned in school, the principles remain the same but the layout is simple but quite important – an example exists below:

The Principal                                                                                                                 Mr T Shoobridge
Faraday Higher Education Authority                                                                                  Park House
Nelson House                                                                                                                        Silver Street
The Strand                                                                                                                                    Honiton
London                                                                                                                                             Devon
W1T R2D                                                                                                                                     EX14 1QJ
                                                                                                                                   16 September 2018

Dear Sir
 
Re Employment Vacancy Ref 27345 Science Project Leader

I wish to apply for the vacant position indicated above, as advertised in the local press and as such, please find my Curriculum Vitae attached for consideration.

I will be available to attend an interview at your convenience and my contact details are as indicated above. Alternatively, I can be contacted by telephone on either of the following two numbers – xxxxx xxx xxx, xxxxx,xxx,xxx.

Yours faithfully

T Shoobridge

T Shoobridge

As you can easily see, the format is probably quite familiar to you and the contents, succinct? The information is minimal but perfectly adequate; to the point and not wasteful in words or reading time. The contents define the purpose clearly and all the necessary information is present.

My suggestion is that you ‘play’ with your individual keyboards and computers, learn how and where your keyboard skills lie and can be developed and simply practise some basic functions and exercises.

Keep your eyes on the ‘drop-down’ menus (Toolbars) at the top of your monitor screens and simply press buttons to see what happens. There is virtually nothing you can do that will harm the computer. Select ‘New’ from the ‘File’ document to open a new document and try highlighting a section of text by clicking the left button (possibly double-clicking) at a start point of your choosing and moving your mouse along a line of text. Unclick the mouse LH button and look for the Cut, Copy and Paste buttons in the menu at the top of the screen. If you select Cut, you can move the cursor to a new point and click Paste. This will drop the “cut” text where you decided to put it.

At any stage, clicking Ctrl or Cmd + Z will undo your last action (repeatedly).

Ctrl/Cmd + X will also Cut selected text, Ctrl/Cmd + C will Copy highlighted text or an object and Ctrl/Cmd + V, will Paste the selected Cut or Copied text.

Fn keys are Function keys and their action should follow that which is depicted on the keys of your keyboard. Shift + T will print a capital ‘T’ whereas, pressing T on its own with no Shift will produce a ‘t.’
Shift will also type the upper depicted character on the top row (2nd row down) of your keyboard.

Explore all the functions and actions of a word processing program as the versatility you will gain will be used in numerous applications including emails. There are simpler programs that can also be used for word processing but I advise you to use, to the fullest extent possible, Microsoft Word, Open Office or Libra Office’s equivalent as quite complex publications can be achieved as well as art, picture, object and photograph insertion. A word processing program of this nature is the fundamental program you will need in computing life – the backbone of nearly every writing program you will encounter.

Tables, charts, flow-charts can easily be created and numerous templates (patterns) are not only available as a standard part of the software but can easily be downloaded from the Internet for specific purposes.

Templates exist for CV construction, Booklets, Posters, Flyers, Newsletters, Business Cards and many other publications.

Finally, we need to Save our work or, discard it. With ‘>’ depicting the ‘next action’ instruction, this little sequence will illustrate how exactly we Save our work:
(Menu) File > Save As > (type in the name you wish to call your document) – you will see at the top of the Save As box, a location e.g. C//: My Documents.
We will go into this in more detail later but click OK and the document will be saved in that location with the name you decided. You can now click the Close (X or X) and the document will disappear from sight.
On a Mac computer, the program MS Word will remain open until you click on the word, WORD at the top LHS of the screen and select Quit Word  from the drop-down menu – the program will now close.

Though some of the explanations are in their basic form here, I’m sure most readers will have some appreciation and experience of these basic actions and functions?
The author does not wish to stagnate on instructions that cover the very basics unless the student really has no knowledge of these explanations and instructions?
Please email tshoobridge@btconnect.com if this is relevant to your situation.

Ctrl/Cmd + I will italicise the highlighted text.
Ctrl/Cmd + B will make the highlighted text Bold (blacker)
Ctrl/Cmd + U will Underline the selected/highlighted text
Pressing any of these buttons again when the text remains highlighted or, is selected again, will reverse the action of, Ctrl/Cmd + I, B or U.



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