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Deborah Shadovitz About MacEfficiency™ for OS X

Hi, I'm Deborah Shadovitz creator, founder, and main author of

MacEfficiency is dedicated to helping you discover ways you can use the Mac's native features to maximize your computing efficiency — in plain English with easy-to-understand explanations and steps. Each week you'll find another recipe for a healthy, efficient, nice-looking Mac. Over time I'll talk about OS basics, cool utilities, tips and tricks, and fun stuff.

  • If you're new to the Mac, you should be able to follow along easily
    because I'll be keeping steps and explanations clear of confusing jargon.

  • If you've been using the MacOS for a while, you'll probably know a lot of this stuff already, but feedback from readers of my other such articles suggests that there will be some good info for you to pick up here too.

Please don't consider this a one-way communication.
Back in the days of my original web column one of my favorite things was getting to know readers. I loved it when people wrote to me with more info to add to a column. I often published reader's contributions to a topic or comments about what I wrote. I'd like to do the same here.

If there's ever something you want me to address, let me know. I've got so many things to write up for you that my head's been exploding with them since 10.1. You might help me get to your issues faster.

••• About meHistory • My set-upSite tools • Contact info ••• 

About me...

I'm a typical Mac user who loves my Mac, the power it gives me, the things it helps me do or enables me to do and the world it opens up to me.

It's funny... I studied writing and art, worked as a writer, photographer, and in video, then spent years backpacking around the world. I certainly wasn't any type of computer geek.

But like I said, I'm a typical Mac user. There's not one Mac user I've ever met who doesn't love discovering something new the Mac can do and pass it on to anyone who will listen.

So here I am, actually finding it fun to work on my computer ('cause it's a Mac). Somewhere along the line, helping people or passing the word on a tip turned into a full-time career as a Mac Instructor/Specialist. Somewhere else along the line I went full circle back to writing, by writing articles, books, and a column about the Mac.

You can learn a lot more about me at my personal site, and see more of what I do at and MacDayLA.


The History of MacEfficiency™

In 1989 I started selling computers. I was a horrible sales person because I loved teaching customers what computers could do, spending so much time with each customer that I didn't sell enough. After a year I changed my focus to demos and teaching (in addition to my own "desktop publishing" and word processing business.

In 1994 I started doing a seminar at MacFair LA, a now-defunct Mac show produced by the LAMG. My seminar was called Five Fabulous Utilities. It wasn't hard to come up with five fabulous utilities, but it was impossible to limit my list to only five and still do justice to those coming to learn. Instead, I cheated and covered about 10, at least giving quick mentions to easy-to-use no-brainers (remember RAM Doubler?). That's when I realized that I love utilities — and saw how much others do too. My seminar was always packed!

On Thanksgiving weekend, 1998, I emailed MacCentral, asking them to reduce animated gifs so it would be easier to read their news. Both owners, Stan and Dave, wrote back — and Dave's response really surprised me. He asked me to consider writing a column — about anything I wanted — for their site. I already had a couple of Mac books under my belt, some major magazine articles and a regular column in print for ComputerUser, as well. Knowing it would be fun to do something more frequent that let me be more in touch with fellow Mac users, I took them up on it.

The direction I took with my anything-I-wanted-to-write column? As you can guess, I wrote about the most common issues a Mac user had: how to use the Mac and its interface most easily and efficiently.

My web column debued on December 8, 1998 and was an immediate hit. The name Mac Efficiency 101™ was born Feb 1999 when I was asked to do a Macworld Expo seminar along the lines of the column. Seeking a seminar name it suddenly hit me: Mac Efficiency 101 said it all. In fact, the name felt so right that I asked to use it for my column too.

Since that day, I've presented a seminar by that name several times, both as one-hour sessions and all day seminars at Macworld Expo. When Macworld Expo started MacBeginnings, free sessions open to all attendees, and asked me to take part, I jumped at the chance to share my tips with so many people. I called this session Mac 101™ at each Macworld Expo, adding Mac 102™ in response to questions for the audience.

On June 3, 2001 I created this website to share all of my original Mac Efficiency 101 columns and a few more.


Deborah Shadovitz at work at her first MacGathering.About my setup...

I write and work on an Aluminum Powerbook, 1.25GHz. (Yes, really.) It has 2MB Kingston RAM. It sits atop a RoadTools Podium when I work at my Ikea desk. When reclining on my couch, my Mac sits on my lap on a Brookstone epad (new in August 2008). At times I rely on the Mac’s trackpad but I prefer the efficiency of a mouse. My current favorite mouse is the RadTech BT550. I covet a nice large flat panel monitor but since I rarely want to be stuck with cables, just use my old (2001) ViewSonic CRT 19” monitor once in a while.

In case you're wondering why I'm not on an Intel Mac, it's not that I don't want one or know they're great. My clients and friends are loving them. It's just that the Mac is such darned great hardware and the OS is so flexible, that I don't need to upgrade. Although, I had the honor of using an Air for a couple of months and it’s fabulous! I gush about it when I speak of how great an experience it is.

My 400Ghz Titanium is still going strong, in use by a freind. My 800Mhz original design eMac is still perfect and in use by a freind.


Site tools...

This site was originally created with some version of GoLive. This design was created using GoLive 9. So far, it is maintained in it as well. (I use custom keyboard shortcuts and an “Action” to avoid and remove the silly code that Adobe made the programmers make GoLive write as they worked to kill that great app.) The menus are courtesy of MenuMachine, an add-on that does amazing things.

In some screen shots, a red dot represents a single click. A second circle represents a second click, etc. This effect is provided by Mouseposè, an excellent presenter's utility by Boinx Software. It does a lot more, too.

Speaking of screen shots, screen shots and screen capture videos here are done using Ambrosia Software's Snapx ProX. That's what gives them the beautiful rounded corners and shadow. I have used this utlity through all my years of writing. I can't imagine having to do a book or doing any of these articles for you without it.

The system that enables you to sign up and receive notification of each new column is PHPList.

Traffic to this site and general info about who visits is provided by

And friends. We're nothing without friends:

  • A special thank you goes out to Derry Thompson of Gloderworks for his help as I created this fully-CSS website.
  • Another special thank you to Richard McLean for the mac. efficiency. logo back in 2001.  
  • And thanks to my great circle of web-site-creation support friends around the world for feedback and tech support:
    David Portela (a citizen of the world), Beate de Nijs (in Germany), Ken Martin (in Minnesota).


Contact me

If you'd like to let me know how you like this site or have a comment or idea, I'd love to hear from you.

I'm also available for personal or corporate training.

Here's how to reach me:

If making a suggestion, when you write or leave a message, please let me know if I can use your comment on this site and how to attribute it: name, url if you'd like a link, company name if appropriate, etc.

Until next time...

PS: If you like this article and want more, please sign up to receive a simple email each time I publish a new piece. It's easy.

Thanks to...
Typical Mac User Podcast and Memory Miner
for sponsoring this article.

This page was last updated 9/24/08.
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