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New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

For current or would-be users of Apple Mac computers, with answers to many FAQs.

Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby redlester » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:22 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:Edit The Unarchiver is free but I see the same people make The Archive Browser which allows you to preview or extract individual files and that's just £3.99 in the app store.

The Archive Browser is precisely what I was after, thank you so much.

I was aware it was simple to unzip, I just can't abide unzipping without seeing what's in there beforehand. It's just come from years of doing it like that all the time.
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby redlester » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:18 pm

OK am at the point where am going to be starting to install recording related software over the coming days.

First basic question, and I will find out for myself soon enough, but when I install software instruments and plugins, will I be given the option to install both VST and AU, or do both get installed by default on a Mac? Am thinking particularly of the likes of Native Instruments Komplete, Izotope stuff, etc.
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby desmond » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:35 pm

It depends on the installer, sometimes you get a Custom option which lets you select which type to install, by default they usually install everything.
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:47 pm

And that everything frequently includes AAX and RTAS and stuff like that so it's worth taking the option to select formats if offered.

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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby redlester » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:32 pm

Quite surprised to find I have had to install Acrobat Reader in order to view PDF's properly.

I thought the in-built Preview would work just fine, but the image quality is pretty terrible and it does some strange things with letter spacing on certain fonts. I downloaded the manual for my audio interface (Native Instruments) and it was almost unreadable in Preview. It's absolutely fine in Acrobat.

Looking at experiences of others am not sure if this is a High Sierra issue or has it always been poor?
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby desmond » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:48 pm

redlester wrote:Quite surprised to find I have had to install Acrobat Reader in order to view PDF's properly.

I thought the in-built Preview would work just fine, but the image quality is pretty terrible and it does some strange things with letter spacing on certain fonts. I downloaded the manual for my audio interface (Native Instruments) and it was almost unreadable in Preview. It's absolutely fine in Acrobat.

Looking at experiences of others am not sure if this is a High Sierra issue or has it always been poor?

I haven't had Acrobat installed on a Mac in years. Yes, there are some occasional PDF's that render poorly but this is usually as far as I can see poorly-created or old PDF's - the PDF format is a standard, and so probably created PDF's *should* render fine across the board...

I've never really found it a problem, in practice... I can't remember the last time a PDF wasn't rendered properly for me...
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby Forum Admin » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:21 pm

desmond wrote:I've never really found it a problem, in practice... I can't remember the last time a PDF wasn't rendered properly for me...

Me neither.

I have Acrobat Reader installed and keep it up to date, for compatibility checking, but Preview is set as my default .pdf extension file opener.

I use Preview's Tools > Annotate options all the time; Rectangle to crop any image file or PDF, Text, Arrow etc to mark up screenshots, etc.
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby Forum Admin » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:28 pm

In case it is useful to you, it's possible to right-click on any file and choose Open With to select your preferred app.

If you highlight a file type and use Command I (capital 'i') to Get Info on that file, you can change its Open With setting and, if you wish, click on Change All... in the Get Info dialogue box to ensure all files of that type open with your preferred app from that point on. (This can be changed at any time, using the same process.)
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby redlester » Sat May 12, 2018 6:24 pm

Another tip I found out the hard way... some of the music software us lot tend to use is classed as being from "unidentified developers". By default the Mac OS won't allow this to be installed, as I just found out trying to run the installers for Soniccouture sample libraries.

For future newbies, if you encounter this, Control+click on the installer you're trying to run, then select "Open" from the menu which comes up. Alternatively, if you go to Security in the System Preferences, you will see "Install anyway" listed as an option in relation to the item you just had blocked.

Note of caution, which is obvious but will say it anyway: use this with care. Only install apps you are certain are from a trusted source, as the protection is there for a good reason.
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby redlester » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:43 am

Well almost two months on I have finally reached a point where all my setup and installation is near as dammit complete and I can actually sit down and try to be creative with it.

Don't regret the change one bit so far. Within a few months I expect I will be confident enough to completely decommission the PC, which I never thought I would say.

Thanks to all who assisted with my early questions, and hopefully this is of use to others over time. My tip would be, if you are considering the switch, definitely try it but only spend what you can afford to risk in case it's not for you. Am glad I went the second hand route.

Now...when's that new Mac Pro announcement...? :bouncy:
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:17 pm

redlester wrote:Don't regret the change one bit so far. Within a few months I expect I will be confident enough to completely decommission the PC, which I never thought I would say.

I've never been able to say that, even though Mac has been my primary platform for a good few years now. There is software I've never been able to fully replace (Serif PagePlus, for example) and I've never fancied dual boot. Fortunately Vmware Fusion works very well on the Mac with all versions of Windows, and there are other such virtualisation packages out there which probably work just as well, some of which are free. That's my solution and one you might consider if you find you can't quite turn off the PC for good. :)

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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby redlester » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:44 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:
redlester wrote:Don't regret the change one bit so far. Within a few months I expect I will be confident enough to completely decommission the PC, which I never thought I would say.

I've never been able to say that, even though Mac has been my primary platform for a good few years now. There is software I've never been able to fully replace (Serif PagePlus, for example) and I've never fancied dual boot. Fortunately Vmware Fusion works very well on the Mac with all versions of Windows, and there are other such virtualisation packages out there which probably work just as well, some of which are free. That's my solution and one you might consider if you find you can't quite turn off the PC for good. :)

CC

Ha ha cheers will bear that in mind.

The only thing I really miss so far is Sound Forge, which was always my favourite for things like transferring vinyl etc. I find the Sound Forge work flow really easy and it's what I'm used to. I have the "Audio Studio" AKA their 'lite' version, which does everything I need, but is PC only. They do a Pro version for Mac but no lite version, and it's not worth me shelling out for the Pro version, so have now gone with Wavelab Elements. Am sure I'll get used to it.
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby redlester » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:41 am

So...it's taken me just over two months of Mac useage to find that I have begun going up to the top left with my mouse when trying to close a window on my PC at work. :beamup:
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby Forum Admin » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:51 am

Cmd-W closes your current Finder window (don't induce RSI using the mouse for mundane stuff like this)... it's what your left-hand is for. ;-)
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby redlester » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:26 pm

Forum Admin wrote:Cmd-W closes your current Finder window (don't induce RSI using the mouse for mundane stuff like this)... it's what your left-hand is for. ;-)

Cheers. I wish I had it within me to memorise more keyboard shortcuts, but there are so many, especially ones specific to each software package, I find it too much to memorise unless it's something I use all the time.
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby Forum Admin » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:49 pm

redlester wrote:...I find it too much to memorise unless it's something I use all the time.

You'll find a commonality amongst most software for the core tasks, but I strongly advise you learn the essential Finder shortcuts (shown on the File menu), as they tend to be used all the time.

I use the TEXT options in System Preferences > Keyboard > Text to keep long HTML code strings I use over and over. I start typing the first few characters and it auto-inserts the full string. A great time-saver for me. See screenshot (FYI, you can't see the full string in the narrow window).

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 13.44.51.jpg
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby redlester » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:54 pm

Forum Admin wrote:You'll find a commonality amongst most software for the core tasks, but I strongly advise you learn the essential Finder shortcuts (shown on the File menu), as they tend to be used all the time.

Very true, I know. I think the best way to learn such things is by repeated use. I am aware I should get into it more.

I just the other day found out that Ableton 10 can zoom in the Arrangement window using the mouse wheel with Command (horizontal zoom), Option (vertical zoom) or Shift (scroll L or R). Useful is an understatement!
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby Forum Admin » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:33 pm

Yes, PreSonus Studio One (my DAW of choice) does the same.
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Re: New Mac user, any tips gratefully received

Postby job » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:43 am

redlester wrote:Cheers. I wish I had it within me to memorise more keyboard shortcuts, but there are so many, especially ones specific to each software package, I find it too much to memorise unless it's something I use all the time.

But you do have it in you :thumbup: The way to remember the shortcuts is just to make it a point of using them. Start with the ones where you're doing something a lot, like that ctrl/cmd W for closing a window. My guess is that you don't go to the file menu to save a program but rather ctrl/cmd S, and ctrl/cmd shift S for save as, and this is second nature to you because you've done it so much. Every other hotkey is that same principle :thumbup:
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