Upgrading to Mac OS 10.4 Tiger
Posted: 21-Oct-2006

Mac Guild Grade

Publisher: Peachpit Press

C

Reviewer: Fred Mindlin $12.99


Upgrading to Mac OS 10.4 Tiger
By Tom Negrino
A Visual QuickProject Guide from Peachpit Press,
ISBN: 0321357566; Published: Jun 22, 2005;
Dimensions 7 X 9; Pages: 144; Edition: 1st.
US $12.99

What the Book is About
Upgrading to Mac OS 10.4 Tiger is an addition to the "Visual QuickProject Guide" series from Peachpit Press. The first 34 pages (about a quarter of the book) deal with the upgrade process. The second quarter of the book gives brief outlines of configuration choices to make after performing an operating system upgrade to Tiger (OS X 10.4). The last half the book is devoted to highlights of Tiger's new features.

The author stresses the importance of doing preliminary checks of system capability, drivers, and utilities, and then doing a thorough backup.

Target Audience
The language is simple and highly readable. There are many clear illustrations and screen shots. The target audience is novice/newby, but there are enough interesting tidbits scattered throughout the section on Tiger's new features that the book could be helpful even to experienced users.

What to Expect
The title of the book strikes me as somewhat misleading, since only one quarter of the book actually deals with the upgrade process. Several of the new features of Tiger discussed in the last half of the book were new to me. There are some recommendations on the book's main topic - how to setup for and perform an upgrade to Tiger - with which I disagree. For example, he recommends the basic "Upgrade" as the preferred option when choosing which type of upgrade to do. I have always used "Archive and Install" as a safer option. I was also disappointed not to get an explanation of the best approach to installing an OS 9 system, if Classic support is needed. The author states only that a pre-existing OS 9 install might still be usable, and that Apple no longer sells the installer and one would need to find it on eBay. I came away from the book with questions on several key points, such as what preparatory steps are really essential before performing an upgrade.

Given the formatting constraints of the QuickProject guide, the brief text sections take on even more importance than in a longer work. These sections are (for the most part) clear and direct, with the kinds of visual cues one would expect - numbered lists, text-color highlights, and lots of screen shots.

The author stresses the importance of doing preliminary checks of system capability, drivers, and utilities, and then doing a thorough backup. The description of the upgrade choices is fairly clear, but could have been more detailed, given the stated purpose of the book.

Highlights
The discussion of Tiger's new features is not only the longer, but also the better half of the book. He has detailed sections on customizing Finder window opening, the Finder window sidebar, and the Finder window toolbar. I also appreciated his tips on Safari's new features and Preview's enhancements.

He devotes a full chapter to Spotlight, from which I learned several new features. I was especially intrigued to see the screenshot of the literal use of Spotlight to shine a circular light on found items in a search of the System Preferences pane.

Mac Guild Grade
C (Good)

Final Words
The book provides a basic introduction to upgrading to Tiger, with a step-by step approach. The second section offers choices for different ways to configure the system once installed. Some readers may disagree with some recommendations or wish for more detail, but the excellent section on Tiger's new features makes this a worthwhile book for many users, both new and experienced.