Mac ingenue, follow up.
Among the more distressing aspects of your new system is the tendency for application and system messages to get buried behind other windows. In the Speech > Text to Speech system preference you can set the machine to “announce when alerts are displayed” and “announce when an application requires your attention”. Do so.
While there, select a voice which you like but is also discernible. I like Alex slowed a bit.
You might wish to do the same to the preferences in iChat.
Pay as little attention as you can to the Apple-fan community. Some technically inclined Mac guys exist but you will find them through Google when you need them.
The Apple solution for external drives is no better than the other names you know, but double the price.
In every Print dialog you can make PDFs. While these are good for forwarding to people and posting, they are good enough to forward via internet to copy shops. This is why I don’t have a printer. Just across the street I get whatever I want for a nickel each page. Seven cents for 60# paper. Your mileage may vary. They do color, too.
Still seeking additional tips, criticism or addenda.