Beginner Q&A sessions
We’re all beginners in the sense that we continue to learn. The Beginner sessions are for everyone who wants to grow and learn new Macintosh skills.
The session runs from 6:30 – 7:30 PM (before the general meeting).

  • The setting is informal where you are encouraged to ask questions. Tables are set up for notes and laptops.
  • There’s no set agenda. It’s purpose is to respond to the interests of the attendees.
  • The emphasis is on basic Macintosh use: such as eMail; the Internet; Trouble shooting; iLife and iWork.
  • There’s a broadband, wireless Internet connection available to all.

We’re not in the repair business, but you can bring your computer, set it up, illustrate any
problems or questions. It’s likely that someone else has had your experience.


Resources for Mac Beginners


Join SBAMUG.  We have 100 members from beginners to experts. Come to the monthly meetings and special interest group meetings, receive the newsletter, get product discounts.  Our email group is a great resource for answering questions.

Call 310-644-3315, contact the Membership Chair at or visit the web site at Dues are only $35 a year.

2. Classes at the Apple Store

Go to to find your nearest Apple Store.  The Manhattan Beach Apple Store has free Getting Started workshops every Saturday and Sunday.

3. Other Apple Store resources

Apple Care – You get 90 days of tech support via telephone with your new Mac.  You can extend it to 3 years (and extend your hardware warranty to 3 years) for a price.  It’s $169 for an iMac, more for a MacBook.

Workshops – contact your Apple Store

Genius Bar – It’s free, but you need a reservation.  Best for getting answers to specific questions.

4.  Web Sites

Mac Basics is a good place to start: Other useful web sites are, and There are many more.

5. Books on the Mac operating system

The Missing Manual series by David Pogue

Teach Yourself Visually Mac by Paul McFedries

6. Podcasts

Allison Sheridan podcast at – interesting but not necessarily for beginners

7.  Radio shows

Leo Laporte  (Weekends on AM 640) – He has a big following, but he’s PC as well as Mac and the commercials are oppressive.

8. Magazines

MacWorld and MacLife – neither are essential

9. Consultants

Pat Dengler ( and Sean Graham ( are recommended consultants.

Other Consultants mentioned on Nextdoor:

Gabriel Silk (378-9142)

Steve 310-618-1537

Matt’s computer handymen – call or text me at 310-357-3504 or check out my website at –  25012 Narbonne, Lomita, on-site and in-shop repair, $75/hr

Martin Feldman 310-908-6851

Aaron Chang  310-497-3888

11 Tips for Beginner/Intermediate Mac Users

1.  Google and YouTube are your friends

If you want to learn how to do a task or are having a problem, Google it.  I just figured out how to selectively sync my ipod thanks to Google. Or search for a pertinent YouTube video.

2.  The email group is there for you

Join the SBAMUG email group.  Where else can you find a collection of experts like Dr. Dave, Bob, Jim, LJ, Hector, Glen and the others?

3. Check out the SBAMUG web page (

It contains the current and past club newsletters with Bob’s monthly column and descriptions of Jim’s public domain CD’s.  Plus the Wiki with hardware and software reviews, how to’s, tips and more.

4.  Visit the Mac websites

Myfirstmac and Macefficiency have excellent how to articles for the beginner.  Macfixit addresses more advanced tech issues.  Macnn is a tech news site.  Macrumors has news plus a useful buyer’s guide.  There are many more.

5.  Backup

Your hard drive is a mechanical device that will fail sooner or later.  To protect your valuable files, you must backup.  The simplest way is to buy an external hard drive.  They start at less than $100.  If you have OSX Leopard, you can backup with the Time Machine software.  If you have an earlier version of OSX,  you will need a program like Silverkeeper of Superduper.  It is possible to go into great detail on this – see the SBAMUG Wiki how to’s for more.

6.  Learn the vocabulary

Learn your operating system.  Communication is difficult if you don’t know the dock from the menu bar.  The Help menus and are places to start.  Buy or borrow an OSX book.  Attend a class at the Apple Store (

7.  Avoid span and viruses

Google search can help figure out an email is spam or real. Try searching for a whole sentence or 2.  All emails that ask you to forward them are spam.

Your Mac does not have the same susceptibility to viruses as a PC.  The consensus is that virus protection software is not recommended for a Mac.  Still, you should not open an email attachment from an unknown sender.

If you are still worried about viruses, you might want to use an old Mac for web surfing and your new spiffy Mac, not connected to the internet, for critical work, personal stuff, etc.

8.  Get organized

You shouldn’t have a lot of stuff scattered around on your desktop; it makes things hard to find.  Put your files in folders in the Documents folder of your Home folder (the one with the little house icon).

9.  Check out Apple Mail

You don’t need a .mac account to use Apple Mail.  You can manage all your email addresses from this one location.  

10.  Mind your email etiquette

Don’t write your message in all caps.  Have a subject.  Use cc if you want all recipients to see each other’s address, otherwise use bcc.  See Bob’s June ‘07 newsletter article for more.

11.  Don’t panic!

If you make a mistake, you can undo it (drop down under edit).  If an application is not responding (spinning pizza), force quit (cmd > option > esc) or drop down under Apple icon.  If the problem persists, you can Restart (drop down under Apple icon).  If your internet is not working, power off the modem and the router. wait a minute and power on the modem. When it seems ready (normal number of lights) then you may power on the router.