Get a Mac attitude5 ways to think like a Mac user

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Mac brain

This post is the 6th and final post of a series, Getting the most from your new Mac.

You've settled into your new lifestyle; you're moving from Mac newbie to Macompetent. But when you hit the wifi café for an Americano and a little surfing Safari, you feel like all those other Macbook-wielding hipsters can tell you're not quite one of them yet.

That's because there's more to being a Mac user than your choice of computer. Going Mac is an attitude, an aesthetic, possibly even a philosophical position. Here's how to shift your mindset so that you and your operating system become one:

  1. We're back, we're Mac, don't give us flack. This ain't 1998 (and thank god for that). Today's Macs are able to deal with just about any standard PC file format: Word files, Excel files, video files, etc. (Though if you're using Office 2008 on the mac, you may need to retro-format your files so that friends with older version of Office can read your files; just save as .doc or .xls instead of .docx or .xlsx). Don't apologize for your Mac: if they're sending you files you can't read, the overwhelming odds are that they are doing something weird on their end. Unless you're in a field that's using specialty, PC-only software (e.g. for health records), expect equal treatment as a Mac user. Let your colleagues, vendors and employers know it's not acceptable to insist on web sites or services that are Windows- or Explorer-only.
  2. Don't be a Masshole. The flip side of expecting reasonable accommodation is to restrain your own sense of superiority as a Mac user. It's very tempting to look down your nose at Windows users: their ugly machines, their painful crashes, their sad efforts at imitating the Mac interface. Thinking of a Windows user as a Mac user who hasn't yet seen the light may reduce your sense of hostility, but it will only heighten theirs. So try to remember: as much as the Apple lifestyle works for you, there are many people who are genuinely more comfortable and effective as Windows users. (I'm far less convinced by BlackBerry users who insist that a physical keyboard is more important than the downright joyful experience of using an iPhone.)
  3. Explore strange new worlds. If you've been a Windows user, and you have an even moderate level of risk aversion, you've probably been very cautious about downloading and installing new software. As a Mac user, you can be more adventurous: particularly if you've installed anti-virus software (though Mac viruses are rare), you can download software with a high degree of confidence in its safety and easy un-installability. (Uninstalling is almost always a matter of just dragging a file or two to the trash). So try stuff out! You may find new tools to recommend to me (that's what the comments are for.)
  4. Reach out and iTouch someone. Mac users are rabid evangelists -- well, a lot of us are. We love sharing our advice, tips, favorite apps, and beloved Mac sites. Don't be shy about chatting with the Mac user next to you in the café, especially if they've got lots of stickers on their MacBook (a pretty strong geek indicator) or they're cute (it's always fun to talk to cute-looking people in cafés).
  5. Love your computer. The best thing about being a Mac user is that you can stop thinking of your computer as that machine that you do your work on, and actually enjoy spending time online. My own switch back came ten years ago: I woke up one morning, and reflected that while I'd gotten into Internet reseach because I just loved messing around on my computer, I wasn't enjoying my computer time anymore. I went out that very day and bought a G4 Mac, and as soon as I left Windows behind, I loved being on the computer again.

Now that you've Mac-ified your soul as well as your computer, it's time to discover and share your own Mac secrets. Share your favourite tips here or send them to us on Twitter, and let us know if you have any Mac questions we haven't answered.

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5 ways to think like a Mac user | Social Signal says

June 30, 2009 - 9:32pm

[...] Alexandra Samuel wrote an interesting post today on5 ways to think like a Mac user | Social SignalHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

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