Macintosh Consulting & Tutoring

Mac tutoring, coaching, consulting and classes ...
for everyday people who just want to get stuff done!

Tutoring for your everyday needs  |  Page layout, Word processing, Spreadsheet  |  Music, Audio, MIDI
 Graphics: particularly Adobe Illustrator  |  Web design / Website and HTML tutoring  |  CSS Zen Garden
Animation  |  Email, Skype, Conferencing  |  Backup   Special Deal$ on $oftware & $tuff   Contact me


Accomplish your original goals

Want to fix those pesky problems with your printer? Need to get photos off your camera? Can't figure out how to attach photos or documents to an email? Need help with organizing and finding documents and files? Got other stuff that's out of whack? We can fix all that!

Learn new territories

Learn the basics in entirely new areas, or round out your expertise. Explore any of the software listed in the column on the right.

Whatever your needs, I can get you from point A to B, quick and simple. Or if you want deeper understanding I can provide extensive training, so you know all about it.

Make more efficient use of your time

Few things are as valuable as your time. Improve your workflow by learning time-saving shortcuts. I'll observe how you work and offer suggestions on how to do it more efficiently. If we can shave five seconds off a task you perform repetitively 100 times a day, that's four hours of free time each month. Streamline your work habits ... then reward yourself with a half day off!

Show me where you get stuck, I'll help you past that hurdle. While you practice and review I'll create notes for you, so you can accomplish your goals with less chance of getting stuck again.

Here's quite a few time saving tips  ... and more tips here.

I offer tutoring those using the current Macintosh operating system, or with those using an older version of Mac OS X, and I can help with Mac OS 9 or Classic:

Lion (10.7 to present)
Snow Leopard (10.6)
Leopard (10.5)
Tiger (10.4)

Be comfortable. Stay healthy.

Your health and mobility are extremely important. Look no further than the workman's comp statistics to see how many people suffer from computer related ailments.

Get easy-to-apply pointers on a healthy, ergonomic approach to computing.

I offer a basic ergonomic review and provide feedback toward a healthy workstation setup. A TV tray for your mouse and a keyboard shelf will go a long way toward problems with neck, back, shoulder blades, wrists and elbows.

Reap the rewards of choosing a consultant with extensive tutoring experience.

It's all about communication, rapport, and support. Other consultants may have somewhat superior knowledge regarding hardware repairs, networking, hard drive diagnostics, etc. However, I've have full-time experience coaching students one-on-one for over three decades.

If you're looking for a friendly tutor/consultant with excellent communication skills and a natural instinct for well-paced projects and explanations, I can help you or your kids achieve your Mac computer goals.

Don't let anyone make you feel silly or inept ... or leave you utterly confused. It's all learnable ... the trick is establishing priorities and setting realistic goals so you don't get overwhelmed.

My areas of expertise may be your areas of interest.

My technical specialties are system configuration, music, music notation, vector graphics, web design and programming.

Over the last decades I've been a music instructor, primarily teaching private music lessons in violin, fiddle, guitar and mandolin. I also have extensive experience teaching music workshops from groups of 3 to 30.

Over the years I've used the Macintosh to create virtually all my music notation and teaching materials. These endeavors led me deep into digital audio, MIDI, page layout, graphic design, web design, animation and programming ... and naturally I had to learn all the basic stuff needed to keep a Mac working top notch.

I've coached numerous students and friends on using their Macs with music. In response many asked for tutoring with other Mac applications. My experience in Macintosh coaching grew from the positive results that I was able to produce.

Just as with music instruction, I coach people in efficiency, showing them how to accomplish their tasks more quickly; inevitably this produces increased understanding, greater rewards and this greater motivation and interest in independent exploration. Likewise, as I teach musicians to become self-starters, and learn music on their own, I'll coach you on finding and using good resources, so you'll learn to teach yourself.

Contact: for Mac Consulting

John: 925-935-9295

I'm happy to host small classes
of two or three, on a basis similar to this:

Sharing lessons


Please visit my music web sites:



Page Layout - Word processing - Spreadsheet - Database

  • Pages (Part of iWork) — Apple's remarkable word processing and page layout software.
  • InDesign — Adobe's page layout alternate to Quark Express. (A step up from Pages.)
  • Numbers (Part of iWork) — Apple's spreadsheet software. It's great for anything from recipes to home mortgage calculations. I can also help you with MS Excel, or the spreadsheet in Appleworks.
  • Filemaker — Good for database projects large and small! Create an address book, recipe file ... or use it with PHP to upload content to the web.
  • Microsoft Word (AppleWorks) — These word processors are perfectly adequate for most tasks, but limited and challenging when you want to create sophisticated layouts with graphics.

Graphics Tutoring and Photo Editing

  • Adobe Illustrator — Tutoring in vector illustration for graphic arts.
    Click for examples of a Japanese woman, logos, a resizable logo, musical instruments, scissors, schematic. (A more complete Adobe Illustrator portfolio coming soon ...)
  • Photoshop — Yeah, I know a stitch or two ... enough to enhance photos, and to make my own photoshop joke, but I'm much more acquainted with vectors (Illustrator/graphic art) than with pixels (Photoshop/photos.)
  • iShowU — Screencasting tool. Great for tutorials. Record any action on your screen and simultaneously capture the audio. Capture youTube videos.
  • Snapz Pro X — Screen capture & screencasting tools. It's THE easiest way to take a snapshot of any portion of our screen—then you can paste into an email message or any word processing document.
    Click to see a sample screencast tutorial movie ...

Email, Voice, and Video conferencing

  • Entourage — The Mac equivalent of Outlook for Windows. Included with Microsoft Office. Learn how to attach documents, photos ... designate an folder where saved items go.
  • gMail — Googles free mail service.
  • Apple Mail — Apple's free email software that comes installed on every Mac)
  • Skype — Totally free long distance phone calls over your computer (VOIP)
  • iChat — Much like skype, but with the ability to truly share the desktop

Web Design / Updating an existing web site / Blogs

  • Dreamweaver (HTML/CSS) — Dreamweave is Adobe's web design software, and the professional tool of choice. Get your site up and running, or get things under control. Determine what you can do for yourself (probably more than you think), and know when to call in an expert. If you can think logically and remember some rules, much of web design is within your grasp.
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) — Make sweeping changes to a web page with very little effort. With about four keystrokes it's possible to change the color of every banner on this web page. Read my explanation of CSS Zen Garden. And visit to see what CSS is all about.
  • Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex (SWF/Flash Player) — Adobe's tools for creating animation and interactive web applications (i.e. Rich Internet Applications, RIAs) with ActionScript and MXML.

    Click to see animation examples created with Flash's timeline, without using Actionscript programming.

    Here's another example, a simple transition from one image to another.

    Click to try an online phone number translator created with Adobe Flex, ActionScript and MXML.

  • Scratch — Animation software for kids. Scratch (from MIT) is a great way to learn the fundamentals of event-driven object-oriented programming, and the standards of prodedural programming. Click to view a small example portfolio of original kids animation projects.
  • Blogger, WordPress — Blogging the easy way with the most widely supported format.
  • Drupal — A powerful and popular template-based fill-in-the-blank content management system.

Web hosting - Search Engine Optimization / Statistics

  • Web hosting — Overwhelmed at the idea of moving your site to a good host like GoDaddy? Just getting started and haven't got a clue about hosting or domain registration? Want to receive email through your domain or web mail ... so you'll have a permanent email address, even when changing web host or Internet service provider?
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Make sure people find your site!
  • Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools — Free statistics. Understand your site's performance. See what pages people visit and where they spend the most time.

Music audio, Multi-track recording, and MIDI

  • iTunes — More powerful than you think.
  • Garageband — Multi-track recording and MIDI sequencing. Listen to my Garageband projects. Here's a piano MIDI project.  Original soundtracksA Latin tune that started with basic Garageband building blocks.
  • Protools — The industry standard from Avid, for multi-track audio, film scoring, and MIDI recording.
  • Digital Performer (Mark of the Unicorn / MOTU) — Multi-track audio and MIDI recording. Sample recording: two guitars and vocal.
  • Logic — Apple's digital audio multi-track recording: audio and MIDI.
  • Peak and Peak LE — Digital audio editing and mastering software.
  • QuickTime Pro — Audio, MP3 and video player.
  • Vinyl-to-Digital Audio conversions — Want to convert and digitize old vinyl albums to digital audio, so you can play them on your computer. Read a review I wrote on a great book ...
  • Audio interfaces — Digital audio, hooking up your turntable. Audio Hijack — Record any audio on you Mac, including internet radio.
  • Fusion — MP3 trimmer. Edit Mp3s without loosing quality through uncompressing/recompressing.
  • Switch — A soundfile converter. Change between formats: MP3, WAV, WMA.
  • Podcasting — Be your own DJ on the Net.
  • Airport  — Enjoy wireless internet throughout your house. Play music from your mac throughout your house, wirelessly.

Music notation software / Music education software

Backup (protect your work)

Nobody likes to do it, but please backup you work! Don't get left high and dry.

Time Machine is THE simplest way to go. Plug in a drive, turn it on, and forget about it. Your backup will be there when you need it. It's free with Mac OS 10.5 or higher.

I also advise cloning your computer by duplicating it's contents to a separate hard drive! Then, if you computer dies or gets stolen, you won't loose everything. Actually, you won't loose anything! Plus you can plug in your clone to any Mac, boot up to it, and it behaves exactly like your computer. That's right ... you can work "on your computer while it's in the shop!" If you'll miss it when it's gone, then you should backup your work. Get in the habit, and store a clone off premises in case of a fire.

Duplicating your hard drive by dragging files won't create a clone. It's a good easy way to back up files, I can't argue with that, but you need special software to create a bootable clone.

  • Time Machine
  • SuperDuper
  • Retrospect


  • Spotlight — Find files readily on your Macintosh.
  • Disk Utility — Format hard drives, partition, repair permissions. (Yes, that does help!)
  • Fontbook
  • Various system tools and system setup


  • Resolve problems your printer
  • Audio interfaces — The hardware link for getting quality voice and music into your Mac. That's what you need for Vinyl to MP3 conversions — Record you LPs into your Mac, and listen on your iPod.
  • Wacom pressure sensitive graphics tablet — The greatest tool for drawing on the Mac.


ivy fourish



Software by manufacturer:

Adobe Software

  • Dreamweaver — web site building tool, HTML, SEO
  • Illustrator — vector graphics for graphic arts, Click for examples
  • InDesign — page layout software (Alternate to Quark Express; a step up from Pages.)
  • Flash — animation and interactive web
  • Flex Builder — Programming with ActionScript in a timeline-free environment.

Apple Software

  • iWork
  • Pages — iWorks word processing and page layout software.
  • Numbers — iWorks' spreadsheet software.
  • iLife —iTunes, Garageband, iPhoto ...
  • GarageBand
  • Logic



The Internet , Browsers, VOIP (free voice & video chat)

  • Customizing your browser. Dealing with small print.
  • Browser navigation: Using browser Tabs. Switching between open web pages.
  • Copying information from a web page.
  • Bookmarking sites & saving weblocs — Make it easy to find your way back
  • Setting up user and accounts




Macintosh Consultant for Apple Macintosh

Mac tutoring, coaching and consulting
... for normal people, who just want to get stuff done!

—  Located near Broadway Plaza and the Walnut Creek Apple Store in Walnut Creek, CA—

Click to Contact

Call John: 925-935-9295



Macintosh consulting and Mac Tutoring in Walnut Creek. Classes, training, and Mac education courses
in Contra Costa County, serving Alameda County and San Francisco Bay Area, California.
near Alamo, Danville, Blackhawk, San Ramon, Pleasanton,
Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Oakland, Piedmont, Berkeley
Pleasant Hill, Concord, Clayton, Martinez, Benicia, CA