Macintosh Basics Chapter One

by Jim Breen
from the March 2003 Newsletter

0303macimage1.jpg (1328 bytes)Actrix has many customers who are using Macintosh systems and some information and tips on how these customers can get the most out of their internet experience and be able identify and rectify common problems should be useful.

There are many versions of the Macintosh operating system still in use ranging from OS 7.5 through OS 8 and OS 9 to OS X. Also, many different web browsers and mail programs commonly being used. For the moment we will concentrate mainly on OS 8 to 9 as there has been a lot of information and publicity recently about the new OS X system and the many users on other systems have largely been ignored.

Basic trouble-shooting before calling Support

First, re-start your computer as this will fix many problems, especially modem related ones. This is the only way to reset internal modems on a Mac. If you have an external modem cycle the power switch on the modem before trying again.

If you find you are suddenly unable to get websites or e-mail and these had been working normally prior to this, check that you are actually connected with your modem.

If you have your dialup set to connect automatically when starting a web browser or when selecting send/receive on your email program, it might not always be obvious that the modem connection has not been made. This can be checked easily by opening the dialup connection screen.

For OS 8.5 to 9 Go to the Apple Menu/Control Panels/Remote Access. In OS8.1 it will be called PPP.
0303macimage2.jpg (12860 bytes)

For OS X go to Finder/Applications/Internet Connect.

You will be able to check the status of your connection, whether connected or idle. It is sometimes more reliable to connect directly from here initially but if you are having trouble, make a point of selecting Connect from here as it will give an error message that is useful in determining the problem.

Also check here that your username is correct. This is the first part of your e-mail address before the @ sign. If you are getting any password error when connecting, delete your password and re-type it, making sure you don't accidentally have the capslock key on, as passwords are case sensitive.

Help the helpdesk

When you call the helpdesk the first things you will be asked for are username, operating system and version of the web browser or e-mail program you are using.

User name: If you have forgotten your username you can check it on the connect screen described above.

Checking your operating system: First make sure you have Finder selected. Go to the Finder icon in the top right corner and select Finder. Go to the Apple Menu in the top left and select About this computer.

0303macimage4.jpg (16142 bytes)You will see the operating system listed here, as well as other useful information about the amount of built in memory and the amount being used by any programs you have open.

Checking versions of you web browser and e-mail program: Open your web browser (it might be Netscape, Internet Explorer or something else) and open your e-mail program (it might be Communicator, Outlook Express, Eudora or something else).
Go to the Finder in the top right corner and select the program you want to check.
Go to the Apple Menu and if, for example, you are using Netscape Communicator you will see that listed at the top, click on it and it will give you all the details about the version installed.

Next month - Current Macintosh browser and mail programs available for download, useful Mac sites and Using the Help Menu.