When you get right down to it, the job description of every operating system is pretty much the same. Whether it’s Mac OS X, Windows 7, or Billy Bob’s System-Software Special, any OS must serve as the ambassador between the computer and you, its human operator. It must somehow represent your files and programs on the screen so you can open them; offer some method of organizing your files; present onscreen controls that affect your speaker volume, mouse speed, and so on; and communicate with your external gadgets, like disks, printers, and digital cameras.
In other words, Mac OS X offers roughly the same features as Windows. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that these features are called different things and parked in different spots. As you could have predicted, this rearrangement of features can mean a good deal of confusion for you, the Macintosh foreigner. For the first few days or weeks, you may instinctively reach for certain familiar features that simply aren’t where you expect to find them, the way your tongue keeps sticking itself into the socket of a newly extracted tooth.
To minimize the frustration, therefore, read this chapter first. It makes plain the most important and dramatic differences between the Windows method and the Macintosh way.