Setting up machine for my OLDER PARENTS


My parents' Gateway running Windows 98 (yes, I know, how could I let that happen?) finally died and I got them a Mac Mini. I'm currently setting everything up for their switch. I am trying to make everything darn near impossibly simple for them to use. I have used a Powerbook at work for the past year, but I am no Mac expert. There are several issues I am having with setting up their machine before I move cross-country:

1) I want to make the icons and especially the fonts (taskbar, desktop, AND within programs) MUCH LARGER for my step-dad's poor eyes. I read something about TinkerTool, but is this my only option for doing something like this? It seems like OSX should have some settings I could change. (NO, I do not want to lose picture resolution. We got a nice monitor for a reason.) Does anyone have any experience with TinkerTool that could offer help? I need to do this soon.

2) Is there a reason for purchasing anti-virus software for this machine? It seems like there are few to none OSX viruses out there. I do assume there will be at some point. Which are good for OSX and cheap? Similarly, are there any good anti-spyware programs for this machine?

3) What is the general consensus on iWork? Pages looks good, but can it open and save to ".doc" files?

4) I'm currently using Comcast DSL and thus I have a cable modem connected directly to the Mini. Is it recommended to set up a firewall? If so, what's an easy way to do this that should require minimum maintenance. I'm looking for something cheap and/or simple, as my parents really will not have anything work taking on their machine. They jsut want added safety for their emails and digital photos. I realize that this is a very open-ened question that could have MANY answers. Please just refer me a URL.

Thanks for your time (and for ignoring any of these questions that may be repeats or seems incredibly infantile to you). I hope you have a great day!


Registered Penguin
1. This is not natively supported by the Operating System (you can go to View Options in the "View" menu of Finder to turn up icon and label font sizes, but the menu bar and window titles etc. is all a standard size, AFAIK). Note, however, that I use Panther and this may not be true in Tiger.

2. No.

3. Yes, Pages can open Word documents. Apple's own Pages website tells you this.

4. OS X has a built-in Firewall in the Sharing pane of System Preferences. If you have no hardware firewall in the form of a router, I'd encourage you to turn it on. It's very unobtrusive.


1) In addition to what texanpenguin said, yes, TinkerTool can edit the size and type of font used on the system level

3) You'll have to run your Dad through a process of exporting though, if he wants to save his stuff as .doc-document. But he might as well use the standard format of Pages once it is setup. I like Pages a lot, and prefer it over Word at home

Just what I wanted to add, tex basically said everything that is important


Mac of the SubGenius! :-)
THe only reason to have a Mac run AV software is to prevent from transmitting any viruses over to another PC. Though the Mac won't get infected, it could pass along the virus and cause another PC (either through an e-mail or some other method) to become infected. If this happened and they sent something to another friend that does own a Windows PC, they would have effectively been the cause of that infection since the Mac didn't have any AV software to prevent the virus transmission.

But as far as any Mac OS X viruses, they are pretty few and far between with the exception of some rootkits which would have to be activated by the user manually anyways.

Just give it some thought before you decide whether it's necessary or not.