Mac OS X Power
607 pages, $39.99 US
- What the Book is About
- If you don't have ten hours
a day to think about new ways to make more efficient use of OS X, or enough time
to evaluate various commercial and shareware utilities that could increase your productivity,
fear no more! Dan Frakes has already slogged through virtual rain, sleet, and snow
to do it for you!
Mac OS X Power Tools is an exceptional source of help for anyone wishing to understand
the way OS X works, and then to make that work more effective.
- Target Audience
- I hesitate to say that this
book will appeal to everyone, because I am sure that there are those in the "godlike
guru" category as well as those in the "raw newbie" category that
would disagree. However, for the vast majority of us in between, Mac OS X Power
Tools could well be the most beneficial computer book I've seen.
If I had to describe the "ideal" reader for this book, I would say it's
the person who has used OS X enough to know how to get his/her work done, but is
eager to "take the next step".
- What to Expect
- Mac OS X Power Tools is
divided into four parts, together comprising fifteen chapters.
Each part has a very descriptive and fitting title. For example, Part I, entitled
"Setup, Startup, and (In)Stalling," includes chapters that help the reader
learn how to more efficiently handle Unix permissions and accounts, system and application
preferences, the boot-up and login processes, and the installation/uninstallation
Part II, entitled "Files, Finders, Docks, and Apps (including Classic),"
covers topics such as managing the finder and its functions, maximizing the capability
of the dock, working with applications, and the optimal use of the Classic environment
from within OS X.
Part III, entitled "The Internet, Networking, Sharing, and Printing," addresses,
as one might expect, strategies for setting up and using OS X on a network and on
the internet, the particulars of sharing services, as well as connecting to other
computers and printers in a network setting.
Part IV, entitled "Mastering Your Mac-Security, Maintenance, and Unix,"
explains exactly what it says-the basics regarding securing your Mac, what kind of
maintenance you should be performing, and an introduction to the Unix underpinnings
of OS X.
As if that weren't enough, Frakes throws in a couples of appendices as well. Appendix
A offers tips and strategies for transitioning from OS 9 to OS X (or even switching
back and forth between the two Operating Systems!), whereas Appendix B provides useful
hints on how to manage multiple disks, volumes, and partitions.
Throughout the book, Frakes offers tidbits of wisdom that will make all but the jaded
guru simultaneously thankful for new insight and hungry for more. Simply put, this
book offers more horsepower per cubic inch than other books in its class, while exhibiting
the road manners of a refined luxury car. This is the kind of book that will make
you want to go try out your new-found ideas - right now! So read this book with your
Mac handy, or be ready for that delicious angst that comes from finding a new and
better way to do something you've done a thousand times, and not being able to try
it out until you are back at your keyboard! Don't say I didn't warn you!
- There is way too much good
stuff in this book to include in a review, but there are certain features that make
it stand out among its peers. One such feature is the repeated description of third-party
tools that can help you implement a more streamlined and efficient way of performing
various tasks. Frakes objectively explains the pros and cons of various tools that
can help make your life easier. To offer one example, the chapter on "Developing
a Dynamite Dock" explains a number of utilities that can revolutionize the way
you launch applications. This sounds trivial, but it may just make you a happier
Another feature that sets this book apart is the lack of "fluff." Whereas
many books seem to have 13 chapters of mostly useless stuff, with 2 chapters that
might actually be worth purchasing, this book delivers in virtually every chapter,
addressing things that real people need to do. Indeed, there is such value in this
book that Frakes might even succeed in waking me from my skeptical slumbers (my apologies
to Immanuel Kante).
- Mac Guild Grade
- A+ (Awesome)
- Final Words
- I recognize that I am going
out on a limb here with an A+ grade, but I keep coming back to one thought: I am
by nature cynical about ANY computer book being worth 40 bucks, yet I am convinced
that Mac OS X Power Tools is the exception to that rule. So check it out.
I think you'll like it!