Random Thoughts

Pimp Your Mac!

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Thanks to everyone who replied to my last post about the Mac software I should install on my computer….keep the programs coming!

On Thursday a lot the teachers asked me if I could help them learn how to use the Mac. Most of the new teachers coming in this year are coming from PC school and are new to the Mac OS.

So I asked if anyone would be interested in a “Pimp Your Mac” session at my house. 13 newbies showed up to learn all about their new machine.

We started off simple with how to connect to the wireless at home and at school, how to change the Proxy setting in Firefox and made sure that everyone could get connected to the Internet. The other new Technology & Learning Coordinator (TLC), Chad Bates (coming from KL), helped as well as we trouble shooted issues on machines and got everyone to a common place.

Then we got geekie and we looked at the dashboard, how to use spaces. The school pre-loaded Jing so we played with that a little bit. We talked about Skype and the built-in web cam. Most importantly though…we just answered question.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is just be there for people to answer questions.

Of course the teaching wasn’t all one way. I learned a lot as well like how to turn on the two finger right-click feature…very cool!

I have to say I was very impressed with the tech skills of the group overall. As I told my wife last night and Kim this morning…..these guys are going to be fun to teach with.

Thanks again everyone for the great tools you gave me in the last post I feel like we need a wiki if one isn’t already started of all the tools an educator might need on their Mac.

Now if I could only get my Entourage Calendar to sync with Google Cal….I’d be all good!

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Hi there,

    Glad you love your new Mac! I have been a Mac user since he late’80s. Nevre, thought of defecting!

    I love the way the word “pimp” is becoming gentrified!

    Go Apple – I keep on saying!


  2. Jeff- I totally agree with being available to staff for questions as individual schedules vary greatly and time is scarce.

    Also, in the photo I see a friend from ASM (Ali) in your group- you are lucky to have her at ISB!

  3. Jeff,

    I hope you share your list of recommended software. I am guessing even we long-time Mac users may find something new.



  4. Stuart Ciske, Ph.D. Reply

    Jeff – Hope you share your list

    Missed you at NECC

    Enjoy the new job

    an RE: synching Google Cal with entourage —- don’t we all wish we could do that!

  5. That sounds like a great help to your colleagues. Our school has all macs – the entire district actually. Some of the people that have come from industry have brought up the point that by using macs we are not preparing our students for the workforce (even though there are so many neat applications on them). What do you think?

  6. I hope you enjoy your Mac. I went back to Mac last summer, even though I am a tech coordinator in a district that is 95% Windows.

    As for syncing with Entourage, you may want to look at Calgoo (http://www.calgoo.com/index.do). They may have the ability to sync with Entourage.

  7. Sounds like a bit of fun Jeff!
    Have you found the transition easy?
    I see you’re still using firefox……I switched back to safari about 3 months ago….I don’t know if it was my aging Powerbook but for speed safari just blows firefox out of the water!!! That was the biggest change for me as firefox has all the cool add ons…but safari does too just different ways of using them.
    Keep us updated on Jing…would love to know more….is it for the teachers or students?

  8. Would LOVE for you to post a public wiki about your tech finds with the “newbies” and for the software! I get my MacBook on THURSDAY! Can’t wait – like a kid at Christmas! I’ve been PC since 95 and have a LOT to learn! All suggestions welcome!

  9. I just got a new mac and would love for someone to tell me how to right click! It is driving me absolutely crazy. I bought a mac because I want to be fluent on both platforms since two of my elementary schools are Mac. Someone help. 🙂


  10. Hey Jeff,
    I’m glad to hear you’ve switched over to Mac since I have as well. Let me know if you set up a wiki for good educational mac software. Also, although I’m sure you’ve looked into it already, Entourage will sync with google calendar but only one of your calendars, not multiple :(. We’re in the process of piloting google apps here so I’ve decided to use Thunderbird with the Sunbird add-on called lightning. With a few extra add-ons you can get the calendar and contacts to sync perfectly and email will as well as long as you use the imap settings, rather than pop3. Unfortunately, we have to use the pop3 setting since our Internet connection is unreliable but it does work the way it was designed to (mostly).

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