From the files of the Total Mac Beginner Dept: Some things on a Mac require System Preferences fiddling to fix — keyboard settings, Expose/Spaces, and so on. Press Option and the related function key, and up comes the related preferences.
Original image via bfishadow.
Reader akers_ tested this out on his up-to-date MacBook. Hold the Option key and hit the MacBook's special screen brightness adjuster, and you get your screen/power preferences. Option+Volume button brings up sound preferences, Option+"Dashboard" loads the Expose/Spaces preferences. Not all of the keys work — Option+Play/Pause simply launches iTunes — but the crucial preferences are all available.
It's a good one — I've had a MacBook in my house for nearly a year now and had no idea. For some of you, this may be old hat, and we're suitably impressed — no need to tell us so in the comments, if you catch our drift?