(12-21-2015 08:52 AM)VisitorX Wrote: Bill - thanks so much for recognizing and responding to my need for (as you said) very step-by-step instructions.
Re. the sidebar, I did all you said. All the items you mentioned were already checked. I do have three (very basic) questions, though:
1. The first step on your list was to "open a finder window." But I don't know what a "finder window" is or how to open it. It is quite possible I already have had finder windows open but just don't know what that term means. (To follow the rest of your instructions, I skipped the "open a finder window" step and simply clicked on my desktop to make the finder menus become active; I then went to step 2 on your list.) So, can you clarify what a finder window is for me?
When you look at the screen on your Mac, at the very top you will see a "bar" (The Menu Bar) which contains an "Apple" - and an assortment of names typically:
<program> File Edit View -- and others, depending upon the <program>. The Finder is going to show you all of the various flies on your system.
When you have the Finder open, <program> will say Finder.
The easiest way to open a Finder Window is via the "Dock" -- which might be at the bottom of your screen or on the left or right side, depending on how you have set your system preferences for the Dock -- the Finder Icon is a "smily faced square in two shades of blue." Simply click on that icon and you will ether get a new finder window, or an already open Finder window will be brought "into focus,'" i.e. moved to the top most window on your desktop, which allows you to manipulate the contents of the window.
It sounds like you have a single finder window covering your entire desktop.
(12-21-2015 08:52 AM)VisitorX Wrote: 2. I don't know what a sidebar is or where it is located, or how to get it to appear. It is possible I have been looking at these my whole life without knowing it, or maybe not. (As an aside, you wouldn't believe it but I've been using macs for ages, starting with an old SE 20 and running through four different Mac laptops, but I obviously never learned the fundamentals.) So, can you clarify what a sidebar is and where I can find it?
A good tutorial on the Finder from Apple: support.apple.com/en-us/HT201732
Mac Basics: The Finder organizes all of your files
In the illustration there, note the "blue-grey" side of the illustration labeled with "Favorites" at the top -- this is a generic display mechanic called a "Side-Bar" - which literally describes what it is -- a bar on the side of the screen, in this case the screen is the Finder Window.
As you can see from that Apple Knowledge Base article -- the Finder is an important tool and one of the most basic concepts of OSX - simple at first and complex as you examine it more closely.
And, yes, you can "Hide the Sidebar." In the Menu bar in the drop-down under VIEW (when the finder is selected) you will see the words "Hide Sidebar" -- this is a "toggle" and by clicking on it it will change text from "Hide Sidebar" to "Show Sidebar". You can also use the keyboard shortcut - by pressing the Cmd/Alt/S keys simultaneously - to also toggle the sidebar.
(12-21-2015 08:52 AM)VisitorX Wrote: 3. In finder Preferences we were talking about before (or anywhere else, maybe System Preferences?), is there something that causes the sidebar to not appear at all? Could that be going on? (Or maybe, as in 2, just above, I'm already looking at side bars and just don't know it.)
For almost everything there are TWO sets of Preferences. First are the System Preferences, found by clicking on the Apple and selecting System Preferences from the drop-down menu. Then almost every program has another Preferences menu found under the name of the program - in this case FINDER. Click on the word Finder and a drop-down menu will appear with an entry for "Preferences."
(12-21-2015 08:52 AM)VisitorX Wrote: Also - a question about upgrading. Is it actually important that I upgrade from my current OS (10.8.5)? And are there risks to upgrading? (I had thought I was doing okay with the old OS, and I'm always afraid of upgrading things for fear I'll end up with some new headache.) Thank you for any thoughts.
Operating System Updates do multiple things -- The primary reason for upgrading is to protect your computer from "Nasties" on the Internet. The vendor (Apple in this case) is patching security holes which have been found. The second thing is to add new features to your environment. A third thing is to support specific new or changed hardware. 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion) is now three major releases "out of date." The current release is El Capitan 10.10.2; in between were Yosemite and Mavericks.
The primary risk to upgrading is "change." Any new (upgrade) will be different than the one you are familiar with.
(12-21-2015 08:52 AM)VisitorX Wrote: Finally, as long as I have you, I have a few questions directly related to the SD card reader.
A. Do you have any sense what is going on that would account for my inability to mount the SD cards? (And I'm using "mounting" to mean--correctly or not--"icon appearing on desktop.") I have tried with the SD cards from both my Resmed CPAP and now my new Respironics CPAP, and I can't get either icon to appear on the desktop. Does this suggest that my built in SD reader has died? (By the way, I did run that system report that Jang kindly recommended, and there does seem to be an SD reader in my computer.)
B. If said card reader has likely died, then short of having that internal reader replaced at the Apple store, is there a particular kind of external SD reader that you'd recommend (ideally an inexpensive but still reasonably funcitional one).
About the SD and SDXC card slot
Note especially items 7/8/9 - "if you put the SD card into the slot too slowly, it may not mount properly."
One last point here -- playing with external devices is always problematic. When I'm having problems, I always power-cycle my system. Shut it down (Shut Down, not restart or sleep), and then power it up again. This will clear and reset all of the USB signals which do get confused.
Also check, again in Finder Preferences, not System Preferences, under General -- that "show these items on the desktop" is checked for "External disks" -- if not checked, the SD card will NOT show on the desktop, only in the Finder Sidebar.