Author Archive

Mac Geek Monday – Keyboard Shortcuts

Monday, June 15th, 2009

A few years back, in the interest of trying to save time while working on computer projects, I began to take a serious look at time-saving keyboard shortcuts. These two or three keystroke combinations managed to greatly reduce the time I spent mousing up to the menu and icon bars, and right clicking for shortcut menus.


no mouse

To utilize keyboard shortcuts, you need to press and hold down the first key on the keyboard, then press down the second (or third) key. You release the keys at the same time. For instance, to save an open Mac document, you would:

  1. Hold down the Command key (the one with the Apple on it)
  2. Press S
  3. Release both keys

Because I spend quite a bit of time using both Windows and Mac platforms, one of the first things I noticed is most shortcuts are the same for both PC and Mac users; except instead of using the Control key (Windows platform), Mac uses the Command key (the one with the Apple on it).  For example, Control-S for saving an open document becomes Command-S.  [BTW: I don’t mean to leave out Linux users in this article, but I don’t have any experience with that platform.]

There are so many time-saving Mac keyboard shortcuts and the best site I found that condenses them into a user-friendly format comes from our friends down under at CNET Australia who put together “The ultimate guide to Mac keyboard shortcuts.” Check it out and discover the joy of giving your mouse a little less exercise.

Edit 6/29/09 – Just found this useful list of shortcuts for use in Firefox web browser. Remember the CMD 0r COMMAND key looks like this:


Image from / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Mac Geek Monday – Where’s the Right Click?

Monday, June 8th, 2009

If you are a savvy computer user, you know that the right click of the mouse button opens up a wealth of shortcuts to common commands or tasks.  My personal favorite lately is “Move to Trash” as I am trying to clean out my nearly full hard drive space.  But I digress…

Mac Touchpad

One of the first things people notice about a Mac mouse or laptop touchpad is the use of only one button.  “Where’s the right click?” is the most common question people who borrow my MacBook Pro ask. So, here’s my answer for all of you.

There are several ways to access the right click function (as usual there’s more than one way to do most everything on a computer).

  • Hold two fingers on the touchpad, and click the button.


  • Press and hold ctrl + click the pad button.


  • If you have Leopard, you can do the two finger tap on the touchpad.

Are there any other Mac mouse/touchpad tricks YOU couldn’t live without??

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Mac Geek Monday – Finder Views

Monday, June 1st, 2009

A nice thing about Mac Operating Systems is the ability to see your files organized by icon, file, column, or cover flow view in the Finder.  Each has it’s own unique features and times when you will want to switch to a different view to locate a file you need.

Column View

My personal favorite is Column View.  I tend to work with pictures and pdfs alot and would be lost without the good-size thumbnail previews, quick file size information and created and modified dates offered by this view.  If you find that you tend to have long file names that get truncated in this view, let your cursor arrow linger over the file name and within a few seconds, the entire file name will pop up.  If time is of the essence, you can also press the OPTION key when you arrow over the file name to have the full name immediately pop up.

Column View

Icon View

Icon view is the default view in Mac OS.  It is useful if you like to organize your file system like your desktop.  You can freely arrange and group files in the window pane, but this can get messy.  A quick clean up option is to go to VIEW on your Menu bar and click Clean Up to see them in a grid formation instead.


List View

List view is most similar to the Windows way of viewing files with file names, date modified, size and kind columns available in the default view.  You can click on the top header row to sort by that column.


Cover flow View

Cover flow view is new as of OS X 10.5-Leopard and provides a viewing of thumbnails of your files in a horizontal scrolling pattern which reminds me of old jukebox filing systems or album art in iTunes.


Image from

For more useful tips on getting the most out of your Finder Views, check out Macworld magazine’s March 16, 2009 Business Center blog by Kirk McElhearn.

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Mac Geek Monday – Surviving the Worst Mac Disasters

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Studies show that the number of Mac users is growing daily, especially if you add in the iPhone and iPod wielding crowd. In an effort of help people getting to know Mac hardware and software, I’m going to put my 20 years of Mac experience at your service. Every Monday, check this blog for tips, tricks and answers to puzzling questions related to all things Apple.

apple enlightenment on Flickr by SeenyaRita

To get us started, let’s mention a dirty subject in computerland…crashes!! In my experience, they don’t happen very often to Macs. I’ve had one disasterous crash in my Mac history… but with some savy surfing, I was able to find the problem, and fix it within 20 minutes. A couple months ago MacLife magazine posted quite an excellent article on surviving 17 of the worst Mac disasters. I particularly liked #4, “It’s Just Too Slow,” as I didn’t know about the Unix scripts and rarely left my computer on overnight, and did notice some sluggishness, but just attributed it to my rapidly depleting memory space. I was also a horrible desktop clutterer. Thanks to the article, now I’m using a finely tuned machine and loving it!!

At the end they recommend 5 tactics to avoiding disasters. They are worth repeating here:

1. Stay Dry

Keep the beverages away from electronic devices—make it an unbreakable rule not to drink and compute. Ditto any watery activities: Leave the devices at home or buy a waterproof case.

2. Stay Up-To-Date

Mac owners can get blasé about keeping their software up-to-date, as they aren’t plagued with the plethora of PC viruses/spyware/hack attacks. But Apple software does have security holes, and it’s important to get those patches onto your machine. Ditto the fixes from outside vendors—even if the patches don’t address security issues, they do make programs more stable and efficient. To make sure that your machine is up to date, go to the Apple menu, choose Software Update, click the Check Now button, select the items you want to download, then click Install. Reboot and repeat, as some software will only be available if other software is installed. To keep your other applications in shape, drop by the vendor’s site once a month or so to see if there are any updates.

3. Stay Secure

Security always requires trade-offs in usability, but protecting your data from prying eyes is worth it. Don’t enable automatic login, and set password protection for key files by customizing the Account settings in System Preferences.

4. Stay Clean

Keep your Mac happy inside and out with a monthly cleanup, blow the gunk out of its innards (see #5), repair disk permissions, delete or archive old files because a less cluttered hard drive is a more efficient hard drive, purge your Desktop of everything that really doesn’t need to be there, and run those UNIX scripts (see #4).

5. Back Up. Period

Just do it—OK? We’ll buy you a pony. Backing up your data is the single most important thing you can do to ensure that you—and your precious files—will survive any technological trauma.

From MacLife Magazine 11/13/2008 blog and November 2008 issue.

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Plant Swap and Bonny Scottish Gardens at EGR Today

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Think Spring at the East Grand Rapids Branch today from 1:30-3:30.

Share the wealth of green beauty in our community by bringing in a plant or seedling, indoor or outdoor, to swap for another.  While you are here, enjoy a glimpse into the bonny gardens of Scotland with Ian Warnock, Lead Horticulturalist at Frederik Meijer Gardens from 2:00-3:00pm.  As he shows pictures and tales of gardens he’s visited or cultivated, Ian’s delightful scottish brogue takes you away to the heather fields of his homeland.

Sponsored by the Friends of the East Grand Rapids Library. Part of our Everyone Gathers to Read event.

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Never Forget a Website Again…

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Ever been at a friend’s or work or the library and wanted to use that great new website you bookmarked (or favorited) on your computer at home?  You might be able to remember it… but why cram your brain with all those web addresses when you can use or instead!

Delicious and Magnolia are both social bookmarking services that have led me to some great websites on the invisible web that I may not have found so easily. Popular sites appear on both homepages for interesting browsing opportunities. Using tags (user-created words to help you identify site content), you can group your bookmarks into multiple categories of your choosing.  You can also browse sites that other users have tagged with that same word or phrase.

As with all social sites, you can share your bookmarks with others if you make that person a part of your network.  Or, instead, you might choose to share the web address of a collection of links related to a tag you created.  I’ve used this last method for a computer class I taught on creating your own holiday cards.  Here’s the link to see what I’m talking about…

If you like a little more privacy with your surfing habits, both delicious and magnolia have a private or do not share option.

Furthermore, you have the option of importing your already saved bookmarks and exporting your links.

Major differences between the two sites??…

Delicious has more active users and a larger base of tagged sites. Magnolia uses a star system to rate sites for relevance to your tag collection.  Magnolia also saves a snapshot of the website as it looked when you saved it, so if the site goes down or moves, you still have access to the original information.  Unfortunately, due to copyright issues, these snapshots are not available for sharing.

So, if you are looking for the best marketing tips to the most popular travel sites, and want to have access to your favorites from any internet connected computer…check out or today!

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Author Michael Crichton Dies at 66

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Michael Crichton photoMichael Crichton, the author of the blockbuster science-fiction novels Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, and State of Fear, has died unexpectedly in Los Angeles on November 4, 2008, after a private battle with cancer. He was 66.

Crichton’s medical and sci-fi thrillers often focus on the conflict between science and nature. The public loved his ability to play on our fears of scientific and technological change. He was also creator of the popular TV show ER, based on his real-life medical career.

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From Floppies to Flash Drives

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Recently turn up an old floppy while cleaning your computer area?  Chances are your new computer won’t have the ability to read the disk to see if it contains those long lost reports for a client…or maybe the only electronic copy of your resume…or perhaps the “Great American Novel” you started 10 years ago and want to try and get published today.


A well kept secret in Kent County is that KDL still supports floppy drives (or 3 1/2 standard).  Bring in your floppy, check what’s on it, and drag those files onto a new flash drive.  You can bring in your own flash drive or purchase a 512 mb one with a cool KDL logo from your local KDL branch library for $10.00.

After you transfer all your files, what do you do with the old floppy?  Well, visit this site for some crafty ideas for recycling it.

Or (thanks to Rachel)…If you really want to recycle your floppy disks (or other technotrash), check out Green Disk!

Also, looking for a way to convert your old or incompatible file formats (like MS Works) to run on other software programs.  Use the site for a free file converter.  Zamzar works on image and video formats too!

Posted by Kelaine

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Eco-Friendly Home Remodeling @ EGR

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Thinking about remodeling and want to make the best choices for keeping your children and yourself healthy?  Want to keep the earth healthy as well?

Come to the East Grand Rapids branch of KDL at 746 Lakeside SE tonight (Thursday Oct 23) at 6:30pm to hear Michael Holcomb, from the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability.  Michael has over 20 years in indoor air quality assessment experience that he’d like to share with you!

Call 616-647-3880 for more information.

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Computer Confidence Classes @ KDL

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Feeling a bit confused when it comes to computers and technology?  technology puzzle

Did you know KDL offers a variety of computer classes to help you improve your computer skills and knowledge?

From learning to type to learning Microsoft Word, KDL’s computer classes can help you feel more confident and comfortable with computers and technology. Check our program calendar for upcoming classes at a branch near you.

***Newly added classes:

  • Resume workshop
  • Computer Help Lab
  • Introduction to Microsoft Excel
  • Introduction to Powerpoint
  • Creating Digital Holiday Cards

***FYI: New class topics are offered based on your requests

Just can’t wait? Want to get started learning today?!  Here’s some Computer Tutorial Resources with great online tutorials for the novice computer user.

Posted by Kelaine


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