I had a lot of questions about how to use a Mac when I first got started. And I learned a lot by having the courage to ask them. But, I probably learned a lot more by answering questions.
“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”
– Thomas Berger
The best questions are results oriented. When learning to use your Mac, there are two main results that you are looking for:
- Knowing how to do something specific.
- Understanding how to control your Mac in general.
Examples of specific results could be, “How do I add a picture to an email message?” Or, “How do I buy my favorite song online?” These kinds of questions help you to learn a new skill, or build upon an old one.
Sometimes these specific results oriented questions can lead to great general knowledge. “How can I slow down the speed of my mouse?” might lead you to understand the various ways your mouse helps you interact with your Mac.
General understanding is the kind of knowledge that lets you figure things out on your own in the future. When you know how your Mac responds to different controls and actions, you can do your own trouble shooting and problem solving.
You can also then formulate better questions, or even teach yourself new skills without having to ask questions at all. You will be better prepared for seeking answers in more advanced level books and websites.
“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”
― Albert Einstein
When my aging parents started to see all the things I was doing with my Mac, and realized they were falling behind the rest of the rapidly changing world, they wanted to learn how to use a Mac, too.
After teaching my parents, I started helping their friends, and then my friends. I have a lot of experience with the kinds of questions beginners will ask, and developed the patience and language required to explain them.
There are two main problems with the way a lot of books and answer sites on the Internet answer beginners' questions:
- Their explanations are rushed and too short.
- They use a lot of jargon.
For example, one basic Mac video I found online begins with, “just go down to the Dock, where you'll find the apps and folders you use most.”
While that may sound like perfectly good English to most Mac users, many newbies will stare and wonder what the heck an “app” or a “folder” is, let alone why they would call a collection of such things a “dock”.
In my answers, I do my best to explain in laymen's terms. If I have to use jargon, I will explain what it is and why it's called that, or link to an explanation or tutorial for you.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million.”
Some answers require more than a verbal explanation. Especially with something as visually oriented as the computer.
I create step-by-step walk-throughs on how to accomplish some tasks, and when pictures are not enough, I create a video to show you exactly how it looks and works.
If you have any questions or feedback about how to ask good questions, or they way I will answer them, please leave a comment below. I'd love to read them, and respond.