So, you have either just got a new mac or are having some problems that for some reason don't occur in PC's. Well since I don'y much care for PC's have decided to make a website on how to have seamless compatability with PC's and just overall help your mac to perform better.
Various Media Files
A very common question that many people have when first using a mac is: "why wont my movies/music files play?" The answer is that mac only come preloaded with Quicktime preloaded and quicktime dosen't support all file formats. You have many options and they are:
VLC - VLC is a very well respected media player that will play tons of different files
MPlayer - Similar to VLC but does play some that VLC can't
Divx Plugin for Quicktime - This simple plug-in will allow quicktime to play .avi files that use DivX encoding
I would recomend installing all three just to be sure you can support almost (98%) of media files. I also hate to say it but I also have Windows Media Player 9 and Real Player installed on My Mac for that same reason of total compatability. Another thing I thought I would throw in is that iTunes is not only for purchasing music but also functions as an excellent Jukebox for music organization.
When former PC users get their first mac the most common misconseption is that you have to use Microsoft's Internet Exploder err... I mean Explorer But the truth is, on the face of the planet I have never seen an Internet Browser that is worse. So, if you are a mac user I highly recomend using Safari. It's absolutely free and came with your computer. I like it because it is fast, reliable, and used by many mac users. I can also recomend:
Mozilla Browsers - I love mozilla browsers. They tend to take the longest to launch but perfrom extremely well. Try Camino or Firefox.
Opera - Nice Quick Browser $39 if you can't put up with the small banner or text ads.
Another Common question is: "Why can't I open up my Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Entourage files?" The best answer to this question is to buy either Microsoft Office X or Microsoft Office 2004. 2004 being the most recent is the best, but, not by much. The only two things that 2004 is really superior at that I am aware of is taking up less of your computers power to run and also a new note taking feature in Word. I still use Office X and I works fine for me. You can probably grab it for $40-100 on ebay or in a clearance section of a store. A new copy of Office 2004 will run $75-250 depending on if you can buy one at a university that has an educational discount or if you are even a student/teacher. The other free solution is if all you are trying to open is word .doc files then you can simply use TextEdit which is included with OS X and can be found in your applications folder.
Another issue that some people have is that their mac dosen't always run quite as fast as it used to or some programs are expriencing some problems. To keep it running well I recommend using Disk Utility which again is included in OS X and is located in Applications/Utilites/Disk Utility. Once you have opened the Utility simply click on the disk you want to repair then click on repair permissions and let it begin. This process can take various amounts of time depending on how many permissions you have to repair. This can really speed up your mac and the programs you run also. vJust a word of caution don't mess around with the Disk Utility unless you know what you are doing because you could accidently erase your entire disk. The two awsome programs I can highly recomend are:
Cocktail - Little app that can repair permissions, enable/disable journaling, and so much more. even if you don't know that much about computer I recomend you try it because there is so many cool little thing you can enable.
Tinkertool - Similar to Cocktail, but, offers a few things it dosen't.
Another thing I thought I would mention is, your mac by default uses virtual memory which uses your hard drive as extra RAM also Safari (and most other browsers) also stores cache files from browsing the internet over time these can build up and waste your hard drive space and slow down your computer. Because of this Apple has a little scrpit called Cron that is set to run very early in the morning (I think 3:00) to delete these files. It comes in daily, weekly, and monthly forms. The only problem with this is that most of us users have our computers asleep at this time so they hardly ever run this script. The good news about this is that Cocktail can run all three scrpts when ever you tell it to you can also tell it to run a specific list of tasks at specific times.
Peer to Peer File Sharing
Another very popular question is: "Can I use a program like Kazaa on my mac?" The answer is Yes! And they run much better on a mac because they contain no Ad Ware, Viruses, or Spyware. I like Acquisition because it is simple, full of features, and work well, but, if you don't want a small notice to come up every time you use the program you will have to pay a $15 regestration fee. Other highly recomended File sharing programs are: Poisoned, and Xfactor. Also see www.mac-p2p.com and consider BitTorrent too.
Watching TV on your Mac
If you have a PowerMac G4 or G5 the best solution for watching TV on a mac tends to be the miglia's Alchemy TV PCI card it runs around $100 and works well. If you have a notebook, iMac, or eMac then you are stuck with external so probably elgato's EyeTV or the Formac Studio PVR.
WARNING: copying commercal DVD's is illegal!
One important thing to know is that commercial DVD's are dual layered and can hold up to 8.5 Gigs (7.91g Actual) of data and the actual data that is required to hold the movie is usually about 6-7 Gigs. The superdrive that apple sells is a single layered burner (as are most DVD burners) Single layer burners can only burn DVD-R, -RW or +R media (DVD-R or DVD-RW only for superdrives) which has a capacity of 4.7 Gigs hence you can't fit all of the data on the DVD-R. Some dual layered consumer DVD burners are just coming out now (hopefully soon superdrives will be dual layered) and dual layered blank DVDs are coming out soon and will cost around $20 each.
If you have a SuperDrive you still have options you can:
All of the programs mentioned above can be found on Version Tracker or through google.