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View Full Version : Why is OSX so confusing to use??



Blaine
06-27-2006, 04:15 PM
Hello everyone, i just recently coerced my mother into buying a new macbook pro after growing very tired of cleaning spyware, viruses, and other random crap off of her windows laptop for years now. Unfortunately she has had the computer for at least 2 months now and complains daily about how difficult it is to do anything on it, and being that she is far from a computer expert i can see why she is having trouble. Simple things like installing a program are very troubling and i am ending up having to do even more for her now with OSX than i did with windows. When she try's to install an application it has to mount it first as an image which appears on the desktop which she definitely doesnít understand, and sometimes after the program is installed it doesnít show up in the launch bar at the bottom so i end up having to dig through the hard drive to find the .exe and manually add it to the launcher...how is this supposed to be easier than everything showing up in Start > Programs?? Donít get me wrong i like OSX and how it operates myself as a fairly proficient computer user who has run linux for years etc, but for someone who isnít very knowledgeable OSX seems to make the simplest things very complicated. I realize this has turned into a rant and i'll probably get flamed but the main reason for posting this was to ask if anyone knows of any websites/literature out there that will quickly and easily explain to a new user how to perform the most basic of tasks under OSX, because at this rate she is almost to the point of having me put windows XP on it and removing OSX completely because she needs the computer for work and cant function properly not knowing how to use it.

Mace
06-27-2006, 04:23 PM
As far as the program mounting itself. Click the disk image, then a box with the icon should appear, drag that icon to the apps folder and then you can eject the disk image. Now to find the app just open the app folder, scroll through and find the application you want to open.

If you want to set that application to open at login or to keep it in the dock, "hard click" on the icon in the dock and those options should appear.
Personally I find dealing with apps on OS X light years ahead of what I had to do in XP. No wizards to deal with, no next button to click, simple.

Hope that helps :bone:

surfwax95
06-27-2006, 04:45 PM
My brain just exploded.

deus_ex_machina
06-27-2006, 04:48 PM
Hello everyone, i just recently coerced my mother into buying a new macbook pro after growing very tired of cleaning spyware, viruses, and other random crap off of her windows laptop for years now. Unfortunately she has had the computer for at least 2 months now and complains daily about how difficult it is to do anything on it, and being that she is far from a computer expert i can see why she is having trouble. Simple things like installing a program are very troubling and i am ending up having to do even more for her now with OSX than i did with windows. When she try's to install an application it has to mount it first as an image which appears on the desktop which she definitely doesnít understand, and sometimes after the program is installed it doesnít show up in the launch bar at the bottom so i end up having to dig through the hard drive to find the .exe and manually add it to the launcher...how is this supposed to be easier than everything showing up in Start > Programs?? Donít get me wrong i like OSX and how it operates myself as a fairly proficient computer user who has run linux for years etc, but for someone who isnít very knowledgeable OSX seems to make the simplest things very complicated. I realize this has turned into a rant and i'll probably get flamed but the main reason for posting this was to ask if anyone knows of any websites/literature out there that will quickly and easily explain to a new user how to perform the most basic of tasks under OSX, because at this rate she is almost to the point of having me put windows XP on it and removing OSX completely because she needs the computer for work and cant function properly not knowing how to use it.

OSX is just different - Windows would seem odd and confusing for someone who's used Mac OS solely. They'd ask, "Why do you use a wizard to install everything? To erase a program, why can't I just throw it away?" Often it's hard to change and let go of how Windows does things because this a different creature altogether. These forums are a good place to start with questions - that search button up top is valuable. I still stand by "OSX - The Missing Manual" for a nice comprehensive of OSX's workings without alot of jargon.

dtravis7
06-27-2006, 04:48 PM
My brain just exploded.

Sorry, so did mine. OSX has to be the easiest to use OS in recent time I have ever used and I have used them all. Sure if you come from another OS there are a few things that you have to learn, but they are so easy, I was comfortable in just one day of use with OSX.

MACE had some good suggestions. What else is she having problems learning?

deus_ex_machina
06-27-2006, 04:50 PM
My brain just exploded.

Without missing a beat, Deus mops up surfwax's brains.

alucard
06-27-2006, 04:54 PM
Think of the program mounting as unzipping a file which i know you had to do with windows. once you have it mounted double click it. When it open drag that to your applications folder (or create a folder of your own and put it there). You have to manually drag it to the dock if you want quik access to it. I've been a PC guy for many years and one of the problems i had with OSX was how easy it was to install and uninstall. all you do is move the folder (or file) to your Macintosh HD or to the trash. Lets see windows do that.

Your mom is probably used to windows so much that she doesnt want to learn the new interface. It does take time to learn OSX. I have been at it a month and i learn new stuff all the time. And the worst thing you can do is compare the two OS's. If you got your Mac at an Apple store or if you have one near by, spend the extra $100 bucks and get a pro care account. You can only learn so much from people typing and telling you. sometimes you need someone to help you and watch what you are doing. I know $100 is a lot but its a good investment. I got one and learned a TON of stuff. I am going back later for an iMovie and iDVD session.

OSX really is an awesome interface and easy to learn. Take what you (and your mom) know about Windows and toss is out the, well, window. :)

D3v1L80Y
06-27-2006, 05:01 PM
Hello everyone, i just recently coerced my mother into buying a new macbook pro .........When she try's to install an application it has to mount it first as an image which appears on the desktop which she definitely doesnít understand...how is this supposed to be easier than everything showing up in Start > Programs?? .......Donít get me wrong i like OSX and how it operates myself ......... at this rate she is almost to the point of having me put windows XP on it and removing OSX completely .
Okay, I edited your post down to some key points. I don't mean to be harsh about this, but the obvious truth may be painful.

First off, you 'coerced' her into a new OS. Things were probably working fine for her and she was in no need of learning a new OS. Just because Mac might be good for you, doesn't mean it is good for her.

Secondly, it sounds like she is falling prey to the big thing that most new Mac users do... she is thinking "Windows", but using a Mac. Some things are simply done in a completely different manner. She will have to get used to this. For example, your reference to installing things. Yes, she has to mount a disk image and drag the app to her Applications folder. Simple as that. No, it won't show up in a Start menu because there isn't one. Trying to even begin to compare it like is futile.

Thirdly, it doesn't sound like she even wants to learn a new way on how to do things. She seems like she was very comfortable with Windows and would have been happy staying with it. Just because we as Mac users may prefer Mac, doesn't mean that everyone we know will like it or that they should use it.

Now, since she already has the Mac, she might as well at least try to get used to it. A very good book that has been mentioned several times on this forum and others is David Pougue's "OS X: The Missing Manual". I suggest getter her a copy of that. Online resources are abundant as well. This very forum is a good place to search for answers for new Mac users.

Again, I apologize if my post seems somewhat crass, but the fact remains that some people are just more productive and happier with Windows. There is no great need or burning quest to "convert the masses" to Macintosh.

Murlyn
06-27-2006, 05:10 PM
Or just give her a start menu. Drag the applications folder to the dock.. give her a two button mouse.. and tell her to right click on that application folder to view all her applications. When she's installing an application.. open up the image, drag the program to that applications folder on her dock and it'll be in there ready for her to use.

There are definitely things to help her along if she's used to Windows.. make it more windows like.. it's quite customizeable.

yogi
06-27-2006, 05:16 PM
An operating system gives a user the power to use computer hardware to his/her productive benefit.
In order to make this OS understandable, programmers have to develop concepts for the user to understand.

One such conept is the start button. Microsoft thought it was a good idea to put all action and interaction with programs inside a menu like that. It was great at it's time, because you could keep laods of apps and the desktop stayed clean, as opposed to Windows 3.1 .

Another concept in Windows Vista would be the sidebar, that gives us tons of info all the time. Apparently.
Concept No. 3: Install Wizards. Microsoft thinks that if the computer talks to yo with text boxes, that's a good way to guide you through the process of accomplishing things, troubleshooting wizards, ms office wizards, uninstallShields.

That's just what MS programmers thought out. And they had valid reasons.

Now Mac Programmers jsut had other ideas. They thought Apps should be Packages of stuff that are basically closed to the user and which the user can move around as he likes.

If you install an app, think of DMGs like a suitcase you just recived. In order to see what's inside, you need to mount it on the desktop (literally put it on the table) and see what's inside. Then drag out what you need and throw the suitcase away.

The app will be jsut that one file (for you to see) but it's actually a bundle. Microsoft handles it like a folder with 1000 subfolders and one main exe file. Not there on a mac.

These concepts all have valid reasons for existing, and it's up to you and mama to grasp them and adapt. It took me a while to accept that I can't maximize windows. Now I find it totally obstructive to maximize anything.

D3v1L80Y
06-27-2006, 05:16 PM
make it more windows like.. it's quite customizeable.
I will respectfully disagree with that suggestion. I stand by the idea of forgetting everything and anything you know about Windows...you must unlearn what you have learned.
:black:

Comparing it to Windows and making it more "Windows-like" (or any other OS) only serves to make the learning experience that much more difficult, in my opinion.

Leave your Windows knowledge behind, start all over and dive right into learning Mac OS X from the ground up.

deus_ex_machina
06-27-2006, 05:16 PM
Or just give her a start menu. Drag the applications folder to the dock.. give her a two button mouse.. and tell her to right click on that application folder to view all her applications. When she's installing an application.. open up the image, drag the program to that applications folder on her dock and it'll be in there ready for her to use.

There are definitely things to help her along if she's used to Windows.. make it more windows like.. it's quite customizeable.

Nice! I hadn't thought about doing something to make the transition easier like that.

surfwax95
06-27-2006, 05:22 PM
I will respectfully disagree with that suggestion. I stand by the idea of forgetting everything and anything you know about Windows...you must unlearn what you have learned.
:black:

Comparing it to Windows and making it more "Windows-like" (or any other OS) only serves to make the learning experience that much more difficult, in my opinion.

Leave your Windows knowledge behind, start all over and dive right into learning Mac OS X from the ground up.

I'll agree with this advice. *For me*, Windows had a terrible way of doing everything and OS X had a great way of doing everything. So, making OS X like Windows would....well, you get the idea... :D

Oh, and OS X doesn't use .EXEs, that's another Windows Only thing.

technologist
06-27-2006, 05:26 PM
I find parts of the original post wonderfully ironic.

First, the poster notes that his mother's PC was infested with spyware and other nasties. Then he notes that software installation on the Mac requires more work than it does under Windows.

These are two sides of the same coin. If it's trivial to install software, then spyware will also be trivial to install. His mom's PC didn't get that spyware by itself...his mom installed it (deliberately or otherwise.)

Murlyn
06-27-2006, 05:27 PM
Yep each person is going to differ.. his Mom is having problems doing the transition.. it's easy to ease them into it because OS X is so customizeable.. just because you don't think it should be easy for switchers to transition.. the thread creator, due to all the questions, certainly does think it should be easier to transition.. once mama gets used to this new way.. hopefully she'll start feeling more comfortable with OS X and start experimenting and do it whatever way she wants.

Why limit them to ONE way? It's pretty rediculous in my opinion.. which is again just my opinion and as a web developer for 10 years.. I think my clients agree with me that it's much easier for them if they can do things multiple ways and whatever way that is easier for them to understand and manage ;)

Murlyn
06-27-2006, 05:28 PM
Oh and .exe could mean executables.. which is what exe stood for in the first place, but point is valid.. if you're trying to install a file with a .exe extension.. it's not going to execute as an app on the mac :)

Blaine
06-27-2006, 05:54 PM
All i have to say is WOW. I expected to get horribly flamed and am very surprised that i didn't. I appreciate all of the information posted thus far and i will relay what i can to her. She did spend the extra $100 for the apple pro care and i have been trying to get her into a mac store to talk to someone but her time is very limited.

Also, as was noted earlier it is very obvious she was happy with the windows interface and didn't really want to switch. But her inability to keep all of the garbage off of it made her agree to try something different. The only reason i even considered the apple for her is because it has the ability to run windows if she decides that OSX isnít for her. The other problem is she uses the computer all day at work and gets very frustrated with it because there is no one there to help her, and by the time she gets home and i am able to help her she doesnít want to go anywhere near the thing so helping her is becoming very difficult.

Also, it seems that some of you read that i am having trouble understanding it and that isnít the case, yah i have trouble with it from time to time.. the interface reacts very differently than what I am used to, but to be truthful I kind of like it. The problem is that it is different, and like most people she doesnít do well with change.

I realize i am all over the place with my posts and i apologize. There is just so much that i want to relay that just doesnít seem possible, thanks again for all of the help and hopefully OSX is something she grows to love like almost every other mac user i have ever encountered.

coach_z
06-27-2006, 06:13 PM
it is true that it does not install an icon into your dock because not everything belongs in your dock. i dont know how anyone ejoys having a program installed and then you can either a) go to your start menu to open it, b) go to your desktop to open it, c) go to your 'quick launch' menu to open it, or, d) go through your directory to find it and then double click it in order to open it. seems a lil redundant to me, do you agree????

installing programs. how difficult is a drag and drop install? you dont have to fill out stuff select directories click okay and next 5 times. you just drag, drop, and its installed. if you are going to use it often then drag it again to your dock or create an alias (in windows speak a shortcut icon thing) and put it on your desktop

you dont need to search through your HD in order to find anything unless you install it in some completely random spot on your hard drive, in your default finder window you should have a button that says "applications" that is where all of your applications should be installed. "where is that application i want to open?" click on your applications folder and BAM! its all right there in front of you

it sounds like your mom needs to learn how to use the operating system because it is different than windows....and there is a small learning curve and you might need to teach her some things and not just throw it at them and say "this is the best operating system ever enjoy"

if you feel flamed by this post dont be i didnt intend it to sound that way but you just cant throw a new os at someone and expect them to know how to use it right then and there. you might be able to do that to a 20 year old but not someone who grew up using a tyepwriter.
later
-chris

Murlyn
06-27-2006, 06:26 PM
he said that he didn't feel like he was flamed... heh

Blaine
06-27-2006, 06:30 PM
I never take constructive criticism as being flamed. Calling me a stupid idiot would be destructive, in which case i would say i was being flamed...but maybe not without reason? I realize that OSX is a different animal indeed and all that is needed to understand it is time. Hopefully she will stick with it long enough to love it. Thanks again for the help guys..

SilverEagle5
06-27-2006, 07:08 PM
it is true that it does not install an icon into your dock because not everything belongs in your dock. i dont know how anyone ejoys having a program installed and then you can either a) go to your start menu to open it, b) go to your desktop to open it, c) go to your 'quick launch' menu to open it, or, d) go through your directory to find it and then double click it in order to open it. seems a lil redundant to me, do you agree???


It may be redundant, but things are always easy to find. You don't have to add shortcuts to your desktop, start menu, or quicklaunch if you do not want to. In fact, a lot of programs give you an option as to where put shortcuts when you install them. You are able to delete unwanted things from your start menu if you want, too. Just so we're clear ;)

cazabam
06-27-2006, 07:11 PM
Your mum could do a lot worse than using the Mac 101 lessons here: http://www.apple.com/support/mac101/

The 'Get me working and playing' tutorial should clear up all your installation woes.

zal
06-27-2006, 07:16 PM
is there even a way to put folders on the dock?

D3v1L80Y
06-27-2006, 07:20 PM
is there even a way to put folders on the dock?
Just drag the folder to the Dock.

zal
06-27-2006, 07:29 PM
it won't allow me to

dtravis7
06-27-2006, 07:31 PM
You have to drag it to the part of the dock toward the right after the open programs but just before the trash icon. There is a Line on the Dock between those two areas, drop it to the right of the line but not in the Trash!!! :)

dohidied
06-27-2006, 07:33 PM
Just drag the folder to the Dock.

to be more specific, you have to drag the folder to the right side of the dock, over near the trash can. if you drag a folder to the left side where the applications go it won't work. :)

alucard
06-27-2006, 09:33 PM
You have to drag it to the part of the dock toward the right after the open programs but just before the trash icon. There is a Line on the Dock between those two areas, drop it to the right of the line but not in the Trash!!! :)


I was wondering if that was possible. Thanks :)

coach_z
06-27-2006, 10:42 PM
It may be redundant, but things are always easy to find. You don't have to add shortcuts to your desktop, start menu, or quicklaunch if you do not want to. In fact, a lot of programs give you an option as to where put shortcuts when you install them. You are able to delete unwanted things from your start menu if you want, too. Just so we're clear ;)

yes i am clear and i do know that you can go through and delete everything that you just installed so that it is how you want it. even if you do select to not put it everywhere it is still going to end up in at least one place. and then the original poster is back to his original problem of having to search through his HD in order to find the program..

AND, i would like to state for the record that i was not windows bashing and several other people in the IRC chat agree with me that i was not windows bashing. i was explaining a accurate representation of the general installation process in windows and where it puts icons etc...now if i was to windows bash in this thread i would have included something like this: "put stuff everywhere so no matter where you click, something is bound to open"

have a great night
neg rep points will be given all around tonight
-chris

mac57
06-27-2006, 11:13 PM
Here's a radical idea. You say that you have used Linux for years. Why not get her up and running on Linux? It would run on her PC, and would be equally as virus, worm, etc. resistant as the Mac. If you use the KDE desktop, it has a fair amount of eye candy too and so is more pleasant looking environment to work in. PLUS, all your apps are FREE! You'd be more comfortable supporting her, and she would be safer in cyber space.

Now if that doesn't work for you and you REALLY want a Start Menu like thing, you can build one for her in Mac OS X. Just create a folder in her home directory called Start-Menu. Open it up and establish subfolders for things like Office Apps, Internet Apps, Graphics Apps and so on. Now go to your Applications folder and drag aliases for all her regularly used programs to the appropriate folder in your pseudo start menu. When you are done, just drag an alias of the Start-Menu folder to the right hand side of your dock, by the trash, and you are done. You could even change the icon to make it look more "Start'ish".

You have to do the configuration work, but once you set up the structure, it is simple to maintain. I have done a similar thing, but with a shareware app called Classic Menu, which sprouts the start menu type thing out of the Apple symbol on the upper left of your menu bar. If you've used Linux for any period of time (and I have), this kind of organized launcher is something you are used to. Happily, Mac OS X is so flexible, I have just showed you TWO ways to create one.

One last thought. Speaking out of the other side of my mouth, who needs lauchers and Start Menus anyway? Mac OS X gives you yet another easy way. Say I want to launch Firefox. Just click the Spotlight icon in the menu bar and type a few letters of the name. On my system, all it takes is "fir". Double click the firefox item that shows up and you are off! There you go, three ways now! ...and I am sure that there are many more!

Erudite.Warrior
06-28-2006, 08:23 PM
I can empathize with your Mom's pain. I bought my first Mac a little over a year ago. During the first few months I often felt frustrated, just like her, and I am a tech junkie!! The best advice has been said in many of the posts above:


You have to stop thinking windows and learn to think Mac.

Reminds me of the movie "Firefox" with Clint Eastwood. In order to get the plane to do what he wanted he had to think in RUSSIAN instead of English. Same thing here.

I doubt your Mom is going to read an OSX manual. Sounds like she does not have the time to study it. For her it is a tool vice a hobbie or a passion. However, I would recommend you make a cheat sheet for her. Two column page. First Column "Windows"; Second Column "Mac" in the Windows column you would delineate how to do a specific and often used operation in Windows; in the second column would be how to do the same operation on the Mac. Using this tool will help build her confidence and ease her frustration.

It took me a solid 6 months for my conversion to take effect. Now I get frustrated at work (PC) and I hit CMD+Space and Spotlight does not apper.

Good Luck!