How To Do Everything with Mac OS X Panther
Posted: 20-Oct-2004

Mac Guild Grade

Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Osborne


Reviewer: Mike Lloyd $24.99

How To Do Everything with Mac OS X Panther
By Kirk Mc Elhearn
ISBN: 0-07-225355-X
455 pages, $24.99
Publisher: McGraw Hill Osborne

What the Book is About
How to Do Everything with Mac OS X Panther provides a detailed review of Mac OS X 10.3. The book covers information from the installation and setup of Panther, its differences from Mac OS 9 to the use of the digital hub applications, such as iDVD and iTunes. The author also includes his discussions with other Mac users, such as authors, musicians and photographers, who share their experiences to help the readers leverage the Mac to get their job done.

Target Audience
The author of the book has targeted the book to a wide range of users ranging from those who are first time users to the more seasoned user. Based on my experience, this book would be more useful to the new user of OS X rather than an experienced user.

What to Expect
The book is divided into six major sections, each with a subset of chapters.

The first section covers the basics of getting started with Mac OS X. This section starts by discussing the differences between Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. It then covers the new features of Panther followed by a chapter that covers the basics of setting up your Mac and shutting it down.

The first chapter in section two discusses the Finder and how to work with the Menu Bar, the Dock and Trash. The next chapter discusses how to work with files and disks, including finding files and working with compressed files. The following chapter covers how to work with windows and the advantages of the various window views. The next chapter discusses the major folders used in OS X, such as Applications, the user's folder and your home folder. This is followed by a chapter which covers how to create and manage user accounts. The final chapter reviews how to customize your Mac using System Preferences. Much of the benefit that I gained from this section was related to the keyboard shortcuts that are available in OS X.

The next section's emphasis is connecting to the rest of the world. The first chapter reviews how to configure your network preferences followed by using email and surfing the web as well as chatting. The next chapter reviews how to use .Mac. The final chapter discusses how to configure a local area network. Much of the information provided in this section would be useful to the new user, but it unfortunately provides little information on how to troubleshoot any problems that may arise.

Using the applications provided on your Mac is the emphasis of the next two sections. The first section covers using applications, printing and working with fonts, with the final chapter providing information on how to use iCal and Address Book. The next section gives an overview of the digital media software that is provided with OS X.

The final section provides information on securing your computer, adding peripherals, and maintaining your system. It is concluded with information on getting help for Mac OS X, including a list of useful web sites. Much of the information that I found in this chapter seemed to only give the topics a superficial treatment.

The organization of the book eases the reader into the content of each chapter. Each chapter begins with a list of the major topics that will be covered in the chapter. The list is immediately followed by a few short paragraphs that provide an expanded explanation of the information that is covered in the chapter. The explanation also provides a transition from the information presented previously to the current chapter's information. Interspersed throughout each chapter are "Notes", which provide additional information about the topic under discussion. The "Notes" are supplemented by "Did you know?" boxes that discuss the topic in even more detail. "Tips" are also provided that provides specific advice on how to use a feature of a tool or how get the most benefit from it. "How to" boxes provide expanded advice or instructions on the topic that is covered. "Cautions" are used where there is a potential for damaging your system.

A unique aspect included in the book relates information obtained by the author during interviews with users of Macintosh computers. The author has chosen three writing disciplines to cover: a screenwriter, novelist and a suspense writer. In each of these discussions, the writer describes how they use the Mac, the tools they use and the benefits they gain from using a Macintosh.

The book provides a substantial amount of information on a wide variety of topics on Mac OS X. The organization is very good and leads the reader to the information that they are interested. The annotations amplify on the basic information presented in each chapter. In general, the book is an easy read.

Mac Guild Grade
A (Outstanding)

Final Words
If you are interested in finding a book that covers the basics on using Panther, this book would be good choice. I would place this book at the same level as Mac OS X, the Missing Manual. It provides an excellent overview of Mac OS X and its components. This book would be of limited usefulness to an experienced user. I found the coverage of the Mac users interesting.