The MacValley blog


Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.


Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

Editor: Tom Briant


Click here to email Tom

Click here for Tom's profile



To search the blog posts please use the box below

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tips gathered over the years

Here are some tips for Macs that I have picked over the years. I may have mentioned them before, but I’m putting them here again. 




Q: “Help! I’m 3/4 of the way through writing a long important document and my laptop’s keyboard just died on me! What can I do? It’s Saturday night and the repair shop doesn’t open until Monday! That’s when the paper is due!”


A: First, calm down. Have a root beer or some herbal tea to calm down.  This is easy to fix temporarily.  If your laptop’s keyboard dies on you, just plug in a stand-alone keyboard. 


You need to determine if your laptop has two PS/2 jacks for the keyboard and mouse. That means it’s a really old Windows laptop. You’ll need a keyboard and mouse with PS/2 plugs. 




They’ll look like the plugs above, one in green for the mouse and one in purple for the keyboard. 


Now if you have a Mac or current model Windows laptop whose keyboard stopped cold on you, you can use a keyboard and mouse with USB plugs like this:





Just plug the USB plug for your keyboard and mouse into the USB jacks on your laptop. 


What do you do if you only can find a PS/2 keyboard and mouse for your Mac? Again, Don’t Panic. You simply need one of these devices:


ps2 usb c.jpg


The appearance may differ depending on the brand, but these PS/2 to USB adaptors all have two PS/2 jacks on one side, some circuitry in the middle, and a single USB plug on the other side. You don’t need any drivers


Here’s an earlier article I wrote on this blog about mapping a stock Windows PS/2 keyboard to a Mac using one of these PS/2 to USB adaptors and some free software. 


So just relax, take a deep breath, and head out to Fry’s Electronics in Woodlands Hill or Burbank, Staples Office Supply, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Best Buy, or Radio Shack. Even the 24-hour drugstores, such as Rite-Aid and CVS, may have keyboards and mice in their office supply aisle. 


Help, my laptop screen/external monitor reached the end of life right in the middle of my dissertation!


Plug in an external monitor. The old tube (CRT) type of monitor that weighs a ton uses the VGA arrangement. The VGA plugs and jacks look like this:


VGA jack on your computer or monitor:





VGA plug on cable:





You’ll have to go to Fry’s or BestBuy or Office Depot or Staples or Office Max. 


Users have discarded their old CRT monitors. I found the one I use in the laundry room of my condo complex! 


If you want to purchase a monitor,  you’ll get the LCD monitor variety. Tip: If you have a flat-screen TV, you could use that in a pinch. 


You’ll need to hook up your flatscreen TV with either a HDMI cable or a DVI cable. 


This is an HDMI port on a laptop computer:





These are the DVI connectors and cables. You want the DVI-D cable for a Mac





Not the DVI-A or DVI-I cable! 


If your laptop lacks a HDMI port and your flatscreen TV lacks a DVI port; then you need an adaptor cable. 




You’ll see a HDMI plug on one end and a DVI cable on the other. 


Your best place to shop for those adaptors in an emergency is Fry’s. Your best place to shop for them before you get into trouble (think ahead, people!) is 


How to select text letter by letter from the keyboard, if trackpad is too difficult.


Simple. You’ll use your arrow keys on your keyboard and the Shift key.


Use the arrow keys to place your cursor, the fine vertical line on your screen that moves as you type, to the immediate left of the first character you want to select.


Now hold down the Shift key with one hand, using the other hand to move the cursor across your line of text. You’ll see highlighted text on either a Windows computer or a Mac. 


If you want to keep your hands on your keyboard to copy, cut, and paste text; memorize these three commands.


Command (Mac)/Control (Windows) plus the letter C to copy selected text into the clipboard.


Command (Mac)/Control (Windows) plus the letter X to cut selected text and place it into the clipboard.


Command (Mac)/Control (Windows) plus the letter V to paste selected text from the clipboard.


Why C,X, and V for copy, cut, and paste? Why not P for paste? 


Look down at your keyboard at the bottom row. On a standard QWERTY keyboard, X, C, and V are next to each other. P is usually assigned as part of the keyboard shortcut for printing with Command/Control + P


Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog

No comments:

Post a Comment



Blog Archive