Apple's shiny new operating system, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) has a bunch of new tools that a small church office can use to work in ways that the Windows world can only dream about.
Okay, you can email back and forth, and then schedule a meeting to go over the latest board presentation or you can start a real time video messaging session using iChat and click to share your presentation or document and go over each page in real time. You can do this in between your offices or between states without having to pay for expensive web presentation sessions or trying to do it all by phone. All you need is a network connection or high speed Internet to make this work. No other subscription fees or batteries required.
Not sure of how to do something or need some help? With iChat, you can share your desktop with your favorite Mac support guy or gal, and while you watch, they can control your Mac, showing you how to accomplish a needed task or fix something that you thought was broken, but really wasn't.
With the standard iCal calendaring software, you can setup meetings, invite participants and keep your life organized. Larger organizations may want to get the affordable Leopard Server which comes with the ability to manage calendars centrally, or with the server version of OS X, centrally manage calendars, resources, and meeting rooms in a snap. Check when others are available or with a single click, have it pick the meeting time for you.
Want to go and see someone but not sure of where they live. Find the contact in your Address Book and with one click, bring a Google map of where they live.
Keep your machine running fast.
Nothing slows a computer down like the number of installed, active fonts. With the built in Font Book application, you can turn off all your fonts that you don't commonly use. And if you use a fun or crazy font in a document, whenever you open that document, the font will automatically load and stay active until you close your document, and then the font goes dormant again. No more font fog that slows you down.
This isn't just any email program. You can create To-do's and notes right from within an email. Most other programs force you to use another program or change interfaces within your email client to do that. Ever go back and forth between an email to put something on your task list? Well, no longer is that required. And when you create a task, it automatically enters that into iCal to keep your calendar up to date.
And if someone sends you their address in your email, it is smart enough to recognize that so you can add it to your contact without having to retype it.
Have a folder full of documents that you are always opening and searching through to find the right one? Well, you can use the blazingly fast Spotlight feature that will search for words inside your documents and emails. Or, use the Coverflow feature to flip through your documents just like a jukebox. And if you see one you want to look at, you can flip through the pages of that document or presentation without having to open the software to do it. How about that for finding that presentation on why your 200 member church needs that million dollar pipe organ?
Ever print something only to realize that it doesn't look the same as it did on screen? Well, that doesn't happen often on the Mac but there is an integrated print preview feature when you go to print so you can see what your documents will look like when your trusty inkjet lovingly lays down layers of ink. And more than 2000 printers are supported allowing you to plug and play with most of today's popular printers without having to install software drivers and all that messy stuff.
There is more than that and you can go to www.apple.com to find out all about Leopard. And FYI, if you're new to the Mac world, since the first version of OS X (pronounced "ten"), each one has had an internal code name after a big cat. Well, the internal code names became popular with Mac fans so now Apple uses the names in their marketing.