Educating Jasper

by Giles Turnbull

I was working in the town library - I often do that, to escape the distractions of the internet and sit somewhere warm. Tapping away confidently, I turned and saw my friend Jasper had walked in with his young daughter. She ran off to the children's section and my friend wandered over to say hello.

He drooled over my Powerbook.

"Nice machine," he said.

Just before he'd arrived, I'd happened to hit F11 to fill my screen with miniturized Expose goodness. Jasper peered at the tiny shrunken windows and gasped: "How can you see that? It's far too small."

Smirking, I held down shift and hit F11 again, for the full slo-mo Expose effect. I watched his eyes pop out.

"Hey, that's nice!" he muttered.

I was confused, though.

"I thought you had a Mac," I said.

"Yeah I have," he said, a strange look on his face. "But it's - ah - old. About System 7. In fact, I've got two machines. One for writing, one for my email. Useless, aren't I?"

I nodded.

He continued: "I've just ordered a Mac mini, though. Should arrive any day now. Perhaps you should come round and show me how things have changed. Looks like I shall need some help to bring myself up-to-date."

I nodded again.

"Yeah, sounds like a good idea. Any time you like."

So, what shall I show him? How shall I strike a balance between bringing him up-to-date, and overloading his brain?

I've already decided to keep things simple: show him around the new Finder, show him a browser or two (Safari and Camino, probably), and since he's a writer, show him some writing apps. I suspect that TextEdit, plus the indispensible NanoCount, will be all he needs for most of his work.

Anything else you think he ought to know about?

Don't be shy now.


2005-11-09 15:33:20
what I would do..
Personally, I wouldn't show him all the alternatives there are. (3 different webbrowsers, 4 text editors, 3 mail programs,..) I think that would get confusing very fast. Pick a good program in each category and just show that. If he yells "my god that sucks", then you can always suggest alternatives :)

My top ten things to show:
finder (concept of home directories)
dashboard (and where to get more widgets)
safari (tabbed browsing)
omnioutliner (could be a nice writing aid)

2005-11-09 15:37:48
...very slowly prepare him for the mercyless truth that Claris eMailer will have to be replaced...
2005-11-09 15:54:40
Educating Jasper
I agree with previous poster, start simple: Finder (including Menu and Dock), Mail, Safari, and access and navigation. This includes tool bars, side bars, the Menu bar, key commands, Application Switcher, Services, and, dare I add, something like LaunchBar, QuickSilver or Butler. Access and navigation are critical, and the sooner a user ingrains the means of navigating a HD, means substantially enhanced by such "launch" apps, the more enjoyable and prodcutive the experience will be; also, a user can learn the feature set of any given app later. By teaching access and navigation, users begin to understand the infrastructure that most native or third-party apps are designed around.
2005-11-09 16:31:09
even slower
I think I would start even slower. Spend your time in the finder. There is a LOT to learn there - searching, printing, networking... That should be enough of a brain melter for someone coming from OS 7. From there, apps are apps man - pretty self explanatory.

He should be thankful he avoided the train wreck of 10.1. ;-)

2005-11-09 17:48:29
To help with separation anxiety, I'd recommend showing him an older app running under the Classic Environment.
2005-11-09 18:59:47
Terminal velocity
Show him the terminal!
2005-11-10 07:07:06
what I would do..
Since he has a daughter, if she is going to use the same Mini, I would add:
Creating multiple accounts (related to home directories above)
Parental controls
2005-11-10 07:17:04
I disagree with this. I'd recommend a clean break, send him 100% native. Don't even install Classic. Tiger Finder still behaves enough like Classic that he'll recognise the basics. Besides, the jump from 7 to 9 to Tiger would confuse him more.
2005-11-10 13:20:03
stuff to learn asap
In order: Logging in to multiple accounts. System Preferences. The Dock. Home folder and its default folders (Documents, Music, etc.). Applications folder. Printer Utility (no Chooser!). Spotlight. Safari. Mail. Connecting to servers in the finder (no Chooser!)
2005-11-11 07:23:34
anything can do editing - show him something new
FreeMind and Idea Knot are both great.
Show him his website in Apache.
Show him SubEthaEdit and do a collaborative document using bonjour.
Show him how you sit on your porch and use a news aggregator.
Hook an iPod up to your laptop for desert.
The reason he is still on system 7 is that it does everything he needs. He could get ten Windows 95 machines at a flea market and be good to go for the next five years.
2005-11-11 07:40:00
anything can do editing - show him something new
These are all great things, but I'm inclined to go with the advice of others who have left comments here - I'll keep it simple and try to cover things that his System 7-oriented mind will be looking for. The Finder and Dock will need some explaining, as well as User accounts, Home folders, that sort of thing.
2005-11-11 07:41:01
stuff to learn asap
Yep, I think these are important things to explain.
2005-11-11 07:42:07
Yeah I'm inclined to leave Classic out of the picture if I can; might as well start afresh and not give him the chance to re-invent old ways on the new machine.
2005-11-11 14:38:03
Someone here mentioned LaunchBar already in passing but I would highly recommend setting him up with it.

It bypasses a lot of the learning curve; no need to mess around with the apps folder, Utilities folder, even the dock. Just type the name and go. Complements Spotlight nicely, if you can avoid confusing the hotkeys.

Eventually, it will be important for him to be familiar with the much more rigid folder structure in OS X. "No, you can't put everything at the root of your hard drive anymore."

Maybe some basic troubleshooting. Rebuilding the desktop file is not step #1 anymore. Instead, he needs to know about Repair Permissions, perhaps creating a clean user account for recovery.

I'd also show him the Keychain feature. It's not often mentioned, but it's really convenient to have all your passwords stored in a secure place.