Did you know that your Mac will zoom in on anything? This feature is available simply by holding down Control and using your scroll wheel. If you use a notebook computer, you substitute two fingerson your trackpad for the scroll wheel. Using this function, you can zoom in and out to your heart’s content. This feature comes in handy when trying to view small text or fine detail, or simply to give old tired eyes a break after a long day.
I am a big fan of Rick Georges‘ FutureLawyer blog. I read it daily, and he frequently has interesting and informative posts about a wide range of legal technology issues. Yesterday, Rick wrote a post in which he lamented the fact that it took him three days to migrate all his software to his new Dell notebook computer. He also wrote an article, The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Laptop Upgrade, for Law.com today on this same subject.
Rick stated in his article that “Purchasing and configuring a new computer is an adventure. It’s somewhat like getting a root canal. You know it’s going to hurt, but you’ll feel much better when it’s over.” He went on to describe his “slow and agonizing” process as “two days and nights of file copying (the system stops every time it sees a file with the same name as the one being copied, requiring user intervention),” followed by “reinstalling all the software to get the essential files in the Windows folder.”
The worst part is that this agony is not necessary! Mac OS X Tiger makes moving all of your files, music, photos, documents, etc. from your old Mac to your new Mac a simple, quick, easy process. When you’re ready to make the “big move,” you simply connect the two Macs with a FireWire cable and run the Migration Assistant. Once you double click on this program, it asks you a series of screens with simple questions about what you want to do, and then it will make the move for you (including copying your settings for things like email, bookmarks and more).
When I buy a new computer, I don’t want to dread the experience or to compare it to a “root canal” at any time in any way. Fortunately, as a Mac user, I don’t have to. At the risk of sounding like I’m making a pulpit call, you don’t have to either, my brothers and sisters. Yes, you too can reap this and the other many benefits that Macs offer. Come join the flock — you too Rick! We Mac users will welcome you with open arms.
You may not know that Macs have the built in capability to talk to you. This nifty feature is built in to Mac OS X. You simply highlight the desired text, follow the easy steps below, and away you go. You can also set up a key combination in Speech preferences to hear the text spoken.
This feature is handy not only for the visually impaired, but it can also be used when you’d rather listen to something rather than read it. For instance, you can have your Mac assist with proofreading documents such as Wills or Deeds. I find it helpful sometimes to close my eyes when listening to something to get a different, unimpeded “view” of it.
Here’s how you can make your Mac speak selected text :
- Choose Apple menu > System Preferences and click Speech
- Click “Text to Speech”
- Select the “Speak selected text when the key is pressed”checkbox
- Type one or more modifier keys (Command, Shift, Option, or Control) and another key to set the keys you’ll use to hear selected text
- Click OK when the key combination you typed appears in the text field
You can learn more about Apple’s Accessibility and Text-to-Speeach features by clicking HERE.
Working on a Mac is soooo much easier than using a PC. Using a PC is generally slow and cumbersome, whereas Macs are quick and easy. For a great, useful example, let’s take a quick look at text clipping on a PC vs. Mac:
On a PC:
Select the text, right click, and select copy. Then, go to your desktop, right click, and select New / Text file, give the file a name, and click away. Now, double click the file to open it, paste the text in there, and save it. Whew, that was a lot of work, wasn’t it?
On a Mac:
Simply select the desired text, click it, and drag it to your desktop. Done. If you want to include this text clipping somewhere else, such as a Word document or an email, you simply drag the file from your desktop into the desired target, and your clipped text is automatically inserted. What could be easier?
You have probably seen Apple’s commerical touting the fact that although there were 114,000 known viruses for PC’s last year, there were none for the Mac. If you know someone who is still using a PC, odds are that you know someone who has been exposed to a virus.
The simple fact is that PC’s are susceptible to having its operating system modified by a virus, often without the operator even knowing it is happening. On the other hand, Macs require you to type in your password before it allows any significant changes to be made.
PC users are compelled to purchase virus protection software to minimize the risk of attack. Even worse, this software is expensive, and it must be constantly updated. Many Mac users (myself included) have no separate virus protection software. I have never had any virus issues with my Mac.
I understand the need for security, but I believe that OS X’s security features are more than sufficient for my needs. Macs allow you to save money and have peace of mind. To find out more about Macs and viruses, read “114,000 viruses? Not on a Mac” at Apple’s website.
Mac OS X (Tiger) contains many useful PDF functions as a core component of its operating system. On the print menu in every program is a PDF drop down menu that gives you options to save, fax, and/or email any document in PDF format. This option is available with word processing documents, photos, and web pages (full or partial). Here is a screenshot which shows the PDF drop down menu and the various options it offers:
I use the “Mail PDF” function all the time, as it makes it extremely easy to email a copy of any documents to my clients. One nice feature is that when you select that option, Mail automatically opens with the PDF inserted, saving time and energy. Also, the PDF that is created is sort of a “temporary” type file, in that it can be emailed and used by the recipient, but you do not have to save it anywhere. Clients love being able to receive updated information so frequently, and I love being able to do so so quickly.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a lengthy section of text automatically summarize itself for you? Mac OS X (Tiger) has this capacity built right in, called “Summary Service” — although for some reason, it receives little fanfare.
This function is found under the “Services” menu, and it is therefore available in most programs. Summary Service allows you to automatically summarize any selected text in most software programs. It works in all Apple products (Pages, Keynote, Safari), most web browsers, but not Word.
Better yet, you have the ability to adjust the length of the summary on the fly to make it as long or short as you want. You also have the option of displaying the summaries in either paragraph or sentence mode, which can be particularly useful with longer summaries.
I have found this feature to be particularly helpful for summarizing affidavits, online appellate decisions, and even medical research. While not perfect, it does a surprisingly good job of including the most important content in its summarization.