Mac OS X 10.3 is the fourth major upgrade to Mac OS X in three years. To get you to pony up your $129, Apple’s added more than 150 new features and innovations. But there is one thing they forgot (again): a decent manual.
David Pogue’s Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Panther Edition is the manual Apple should’ve included. And, like Mac OS X 10.3 itself, Pogue’s Panther Edition is a major upgrade: loads of new feature coverage, new tricks, and/or new ways to use features that have been around awhile.
What’s new in Mac OS X 10.3 runs the gamut from major improvements (Exposé, iChat AV video conferencing, FileVault Safe) to smaller ones (super-quick PDF and incoming fax viewing, one-button font installation). If a new feature matters, you can bet it’s covered here.
Pogue, who’s also weekly computer columnist for The New York Times, knows how to speak to you regardless of your technical experience (or lack thereof). He’s also one of the world’s premier Mac experts -- and it shows. This book contains scores of tips and timesavers you’re just not likely to find anywhere else.
For instance, you’ll learn how to “Google-search” text you’ve selected in any application, via a single keyboard shortcut. How to instantly show and adjust your display settings on any Mac notebook. How to jump to your Home folder from wherever you are. Or quickly drag one file into another folder that’s not currently visible, and is in an entirely different path. Or make “real” pop-up windows in Mac OS X (Apple hid this feature, figuring the Dock took care of this).
That’s just scratching the surface. You’ll learn how to print a list of files, now that OS X doesn’t let you print a Finder window (Pogue offers both a workaround and a complete solution: Print Window, handy shareware that’ll let you do what you really want to do) And how to Force Quit your frontmost program, so you can get back to the desktop even when a full-screen program hangs. And more, and more, and more...
Pogue starts with a knowledgeable walkthrough of the Mac desktop: logins, folders and windows, file organization, the Dock, toolbars, and more. Next, he discusses running programs in the Mac OS X environment. (Remember when you were told not to upgrade until most of your key tools ran native in OS X? Now, they do: Photoshop, AppleWorks, FileMaker, Illustrator, even Microsoft Office and QuarkXPress.)
You’ll find solid, knowing coverage of system preferences, and of all the free programs that come with your copy of OS X -- including iTunes and Apple’s other digital media software. There’s an entire section on the Internet (from mail and address book to .Mac and security). And in an era where many folks have more than one computer, you’ll welcome Pogue’s practical guidance on networking -- including coexistence with Windows boxes.
The appendices in this book are anything but aftersights. In two “Where’d it Go?” appendices, Pogue tells you where to find features that were elsewhere in Mac OS 9 -- or are elsewhere in Windows. There’s a complete troubleshooting chapter. And there’s a great list of keyboard shortcuts for getting things done faster than mice can run.
Bottom line: What really makes this book special is Pogue himself. He's knowledgeable, friendly, funny -- and always on your side. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.