Mac OS X: The
By David Pogue
1st Edition July 2005
847 pages, $29.95 US
- What the Book is About
- The aim of the Missing Manual
series is to be "the book that should have been in the box." This Tiger
edition is the successor to previous OS X Jaguar and Panther editions. The banner
at the top of the cover says "The #1 bestselling Mac Book".
- Target Audience
- This book is intended for all
types of Mac users: from those who are new to computers, those who have moved to
OS X from Mac OS 9 or from Windows, those who are experienced OS X users, and, particularly
of course, those who have moved up to Tiger.
- What to Expect
- This book contains an introduction
and six main parts.
The introduction begins with a useful summary of what's new in Tiger and, after a
note on conventions used in the book, sets the stage for complete novices by naming
and defining the controls that make up the user interface.
Part 1, the Mac OS X Desktop, covers folders, windows, icons, desktop, dock and toolbars.
New in this edition is a complete chapter on Spotlight.
Part 2, also called the Mac OS X Desktop, deals with applications, documents, Expose
and Dashboard, Classic, moving data between documents, Macs and PCs, Automator and
Part 3, the Components of Mac OS X has chapters detailing each preference and free
program. A separate chapter is devoted to CDs, DVDs and iTunes.
Part 4, the Technologies of Mac OS X delves into account management and security
(including the long-needed parental controls), networking, graphics, fonts, printing,
PDFs, faxing, sound, movies, speech input and output and handwriting recognition,
terminal and hacking Mac OS X.
Part 5, Mac OS X Online, covers different types of internet connection, .Mac, iSync,
Mail and Address Book, Safari, iChat and Sherlock and finally web sharing, remote
connections and VPN.
Part 6 contains appendices on installation, troubleshooting, new users from OS 9
and from Windows, "where to go from here" and finally a big list of keyboard
shortcuts, including the secret keys you hold down during startup for various reasons.
The Tiger edition is 847 pages, compared to 763 for the Panther edition, but surprisingly
the Tiger edition is a couple of millimeters thinner. This magic appears to have
been accomplished by printing on paper that seems slightly smoother, perhaps even
stronger, and less spongy. Even more surprisingly, the author was unaware of this
at the time of writing - he discussed the fact that although he'd prefer the book
to at least be thinner looking, since some readers could be put off by something
the size of a Tokyo telephone book, the book couldn't meet its goals without being
this size. Looks like the publisher found a way to make his wish come true without
- New Readers
- The Missing Manual series was
started by David Pogue who, unusual for a computer book author, majored in theater.
Welcome to the world of computer manual as performance art, and the company of an
entertaining author who makes this book captivating and enjoyable despite its length.
As its name suggests, this book exhaustively covers the Max OS X user experience,
often in a level of nitpicking detail and with a focus on the most time-saving keyboard
shortcuts. Every few seconds shaved off the time it takes you to do things with your
Mac means more time to focus on the task at hand.
As a new reader (of the Jaguar edition), I found the book helped me build confidence
that OS X isn't easily damaged. This should reassure those novice computer users
who are afraid that some incautious keystroke or mouse gesture is going to wipe out
a lump of the OS. If something does go wrong, the troubleshooting section explains
the ordered steps you should take when experiencing difficulties with applications.
If you have just moved to Mac OS X from OS 9 or from Windows, this book has appendices
specifically for you. As an example from the "Where did it go - OS 9" appendix,
in Mac OS 9, an application could get into trouble if you didn't assign it enough
memory. You also had to make decisions about whether to turn on or off virtual memory
and how much disk space to allocate for it. As a newcomer to Mac OS X, you may find
yourself searching for the controls you need to do these things. In Mac OS X, these
activities are all automatic and can't be controlled by the user. Alternatively,
as an example from the "Where did it go - Windows" appendix, if you look
up "Registry" you will find "there is no Registry: let the celebration
- Existing Readers
- The book claims to contain new
material on every page. A comparison of this edition with the Panther edition indicates
that some of the changes are editorial. For example features that were introduced
as new in the Panther version of the book are no longer new in the Tiger version.
Another change is that the publishers have found a way to make the illustrations
bigger and more readable without taking up more pages of the book - by making the
captions at the side of the illustrations narrower and longer. However, the most
important changes concern functions that are new to Tiger.
Just knowing about new functions isn't always enough to actually get started using
them. You have to change established habits. I tried out the book for both existing
functions that I don't use and new Tiger functions.
I had tried Speakable Items in the past but it hadn't ever worked out for some reason.
Now though, if I can get my spouse, kid and puppy to create a moment's silence, I
can hold the escape key and tell my Mac to open or quit applications, and I know
how to find out more things I can ask it to do.
Since I already use Dashboard, the Dashboard section came close to telling me nothing
I didn't already know. However, it did provide a couple of little surprises by telling
me about the Dashboard eye candy effects including the swirling hurricane widget
On the other hand, the complete new section on Spotlight is immensely useful. It
starts by putting together the keystrokes to get you working with Spotlight in the
middle of whatever you are doing, without taking time out with the mouse to go to
the top right of your display. It continues by demonstrating how to control the type
of results you get from Spotlight by adding commands to the search string. Finally,
and not for the faint-hearted, it uncovers the full power of Spotlight by demonstrating
the query language you can use to make more sophisticated searches than allowed by
the command line and Spotlight window.
Automator has been added to the Applescript chapter of the Panther edition, and there
are complete worked examples of plausible activities to try with Automator, such
as bulk photo editing and emailing out of iTunes.
One of the vital but unsung new technologies of Tiger is Voiceover, which is intended
to allow blind people to use Max OS X. It may be surprising to learn that blind people
already surf the web and use Windows XP in conjunction with the third party screen
reader programs such as JAWS. However a whole industry of accessible software design,
in particular accessible web design, has sprung up in response to the Section 508
legislation which requires Federal systems to be accessible by people with disabilities.
The purported advantage of Voiceover is that it's part of the Mac OS rather than
a bolt-on accessory. Of course, learning to use a screen reader is a daunting prospect
as it inevitably requires memorization of a large number of key combinations. I found
the seven pages of this book devoted to Voiceover were enough to get me started using
If you paid for your copy of iLife '05, you may be dismayed to see sections on iDVD,
iMovie and iPhoto (but not Garageband) in Chapter 10, The Free Programs. (Of course,
they're free with a new Mac.) There are some useful hints all the same - for example,
deleting clips and emptying trash in iMovie no longer recovers any hard disk space.
I guess we are all supposed to be stepping up to half terabyte disk drives nowadays.
As well as the big changes, there are some disconcerting little things that are different
in Tiger. For example, if you try to burn some files to a CD, you will experience
a moment of uncertainty that you are about to burn aliases to the files instead of
the files themselves. Of course, the aliases would be useless on another computer
- or even another account on the same Mac. Rather than risk wasting a CD, I was glad
to be able to look this up in the book and discover that this is indeed standard
behavior in Tiger. I would end up with the files I needed on the CD when I clicked
the burn button.
- What Is Not Covered
- As an owner of a network of Macs
with accounts and shared files in various locations, I've begun to wonder whether
a step up to Mac OS X Server would be beneficial. The single mention of Mac OS X
Server in this book concerns a menulet that is only available to Mac OS X Server
users. There's no further discussion to help the reader understand what's different
about OS X Server.
- This book presents a thorough
account of Mac OS X Tiger, and it isn't afraid to delve into the deepest level of
detail, whether it's keystrokes to make you more productive or tempting you to open
the terminal and try some UNIX. The troubleshooting section is an essential reference
when you have a problem
with an application. The sections for newcomers aim to get you up to speed whether
your last computer was OS 9, Windows or an abacus. As an example of the whirlwind
tour of the free applications, the iPhoto section covers all the basics and goes
into detail on creating websites and photobooks. Finally, like all missing manuals,
there's a website with a downloadable sample
chapter and a Missing CD
Rom of freeware / shareware applications.
- Mac Guild Grade
- A+ (Awesome)
- Final Words
- This book is the essential companion
and reference for the Mac OS X user, and will frequently reward its owner either
by leading the way to learning and using new features or troubleshooting and resolving