With the arrival of large amounts of native software, including Photoshop and Office -- not to mention the speedy new Mac OS X 10.2 -- Mac users are increasingly moving away from Classic and into Mac OS X.
But, if you’re like most of them, you’re still exploring this big new operating system. There are plenty of nooks and crannies you haven’t worked your way through, and plenty of productivity tips you haven’t discovered yet. Wouldn’t it be great if someone put them all together in one book? Well, who better than Mac Design magazine editor-in-chief Scott Kelby?
Not long ago, Kelby discovered a great formula for a bestseller. “Wouldn't it be great if there was a book where the whole book, cover-to-cover was nothing but those little sidebar tips? No long paragraphs explaining the Hierarchical File System. No detailed descriptions of how to configure a LAN, or different ways to partition your hard drive -- just tips -- short and sweet, to the point. [And] most importantly, they've got to be ‘Killer Tips’… the kind of tip that makes you nod and smile while you're reading it, and as soon as you're done you have to call all your Mac buddies…”
Yes, we’re talking stuff you don’t already know. Undocumented keyboard shortcuts. Insider secrets. Faster, simpler ways to do the stuff you do every day. Most authors use tips like these to spice up their books. Kelby’s Killer Tips books are all spice.
Mac OS X is full of great stuff, and nobody’s more of a Mac advocate than Kelby (whose last book, Macintosh...The Naked Truth, was an old-fashioned “slam those PC weenies” manifesto for true believers.) But Kelby knows that even OS X has its annoyances and rough edges -- and Mac OS X Killer Tips shows exactly how to eliminate them.
Kelby shows how to turn off automatic software updating (have you noticed how it always opens when you’re five minutes from deadline)? Want a shortcut for creating new folders now that Control-N won’t do it anymore? Can’t figure out how to delete a locked file? Tired of being asked if you really want to empty the trash? Can’t stand seeing that “round microphone thingy” every time you open a speech-enabled application? Don’t want to be asked for your password anymore? Kelby covers it all.
Chances are you haven’t quite relegated Classic to the dustbin of history yet -- so you’ll appreciate Kelby’s full chapter of Classic tips. Did you know that you can rebuild the Classic desktop without even opening Classic? Or that you can replace your Dock’s ratty, jaggy Classic icons with nice OS X eye candy? Or that you can set up a second Classic system folder (perhaps a trimmed-down version for running just one or two Classic apps that don’t need to be weighed down with all those Control Panels and Extensions)? Or that you can tell a “Carbonized” application to run in Classic just once -- perhaps to access a peripheral that doesn’t have Mac OS X drivers yet?
By the way, Kelby has resisted one gigantic area of potential tips: Mac OS X’s UNIX underpinnings. You won’t learn how to grep anything here; there are no breathless discussions of Perl scripting. (Only once does he come anywhere close to the Terminal Window, and for a good cause: repairing a damaged volume that might be making your Mac flaky. Once you’re done with that, you can type reboot, “and go on to live otherwise productive lives knowing [you] cheated death, used UNIX, and lived to fight another day.”)
The absence of UNIX tips might be a problem for the growing number of technical folks buying Macs nowadays. But it’s likely to be a blessing for the vast majority of Mac users, who could care less about UNIX except insofar as it lets Mac OS X run more stably and smoothly than Classic ever did, and would rather see the pages spent on information more directly useful to them. And Kelby has used his pages well. 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.