This course is designed to be both lean and iterative. After many years and hundreds of students I’ve learned a thing or two about education itself. Effective learning happens through repetition and application, and even elementary concepts can feel quickly “learned” but increasingly “understood” after years of application. Whenever you complete a project and begin the whole process again, you learn more comprehensively the second time through because you’ve got a sense of the structure and increased ability to more meaningfully place and connect the content you’re learning with an understanding of the whole.
That said, let’s get a few fundamental life skills ascertained before diving in:
Like it or not, YouTube is a wealth of information (and misinformation) that you should be privy to as a lifelong learner.
Speed changes are easy with YouTube keyboard shortcuts: Simply press Shift+period key to increase speed. The more you press it, the faster it goes (up to 2x). To slow down the speed press Shift+comma. This should make it easy for you to follow any video, regardless of the instructor’s pace. The period and comma keys also allow frame by frame navigation if you need it and you can even use the numbers on the keyboard to navigate very generally to different places in the video. For example, pressing NumPad number “3” will navigate about 30% into the video.
Launch programs using spotlight (Cmd+Spacebar). You can also use this handy tool to perform math, look up word definitions and search the web.
Cmd+Shift+/ will search all menus in the current application. It’s a very handy way to find a specific command without perusing menus and submenus.
A given application’s windows can be cycled between via Ctrl+Tab to move to the right. Add “Shift” to that combination to move to the left. Cmd+T opens a new window. These work in something like Finder as well as in Google Chrome.
Cmd+Tab cycles through the available open apps. “Mission Control” (three finger swipe or Ctrl+Up Arrow) can be used to access a similar feature but displaying every window of every currently open app all on one screen.
When you maximize (make full screen) a window on Mac, it occupies a new “Space”, basically another desktop which allows you to keep things separated. In the above screen capture of mission control, the spaces (only one in this case) are listed at the top. Spaces can be navigated via a three-finger swipe or Ctrl+Arrow keys.
To close an application on a Mac, use the menu or the keyboard shortcut Cmd+Q. Simply clicking the red “x” button often closes only the active window, but not the application. Check the upper left, next to the Apple Icon to see which app is currently active.
Use the keyboard shortcut Cmd+Shift+4 or Cmd+Shift+5 (Mac OS Mojave and later) on a Mac to take a picture of your screen. The latter option allows for intuitive customization and even the ability to draw overtop your screen capture. The spacebar can be used to trigger capture of a single window after pressing Cmd+Shift+4.
This useful application lets you see what applications and processes are most affecting system performance. You can force close applications just like you can with “Task Manager” in Windows. You can see CPU usage and display by highest usage (over 100% simply indicates usage of more than a single core). You can see RAM usage, including total system RAM, RAM used by open applications, RAM cached to disk (“swap used”), “wired” memory (cannot be cached because it’s vital to system performance, and more. Cmd+2 for monitoring CPU load and Cmd+4 for GPU history are useful here.
You do not need to understand what all of this means, but it’s good to remember that Activity Monitor exists and can help you narrow down problematic apps should you encounter issues.
MacOS Sierra introduced a very basic “snapping” of windows but it’s not terribly useful. It basically just doesn’t let you overlap two window edges if you hover one next to the other temporarily. An inexpensive app I use all the time for window organization is called Better Snap Tool and Better Touch Tool.
Other useful things to remember on Mac include: