Book Reviews - OS X

June 24, 2002

The Little Mac OS X Book OS 10.1 - By Robin Williams
Mac OS X: The Missing Manual - By David Pogue

Review By Ken Stone

 
As we all now know, the next version of FCP that ships will be for OS X only. It's the end of the road for FCP and OS 9. So, like it or not we are all going to have to learn OS X. Recently I reviewed Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide By Maria Langer. This is a great little book to get you started with OS X and covers just enough ground to acquaint you with the Macs new operating system.

Having said that, I soon found that I wanted (read needed) to have a better, more detailed understanding of OS X. To this end I purchased two more OS X books. 'The Little Mac OS X Book' and 'Mac OS X: The Missing Manual'. To be sure, there are dozens of OS X books in the stores. I picked these two because I knew the authors names and the publishers. They are different in layout, style and their approach, but both of these books are excellent and do the job well. Both books are for Mac OS 10.1.

 

The Little Mac OS X Book
OS 10.1

Published by Peachpit Press
By Robin Williams

ISBN 0-201-74866-5 2001
List price: $29.99 U.S.
824 pages

Don't let the title fool you, this is no small book, not just in page count but the size of the book as well. The pages are quite large and this facilitates the use of large images. The art work in the book is exceptionally good. Screen shots abound, they are nicely referenced and many carry full captions detailing what is going on. This is important because we are seeing some of these OS X windows for the first time.

Robin William has written a 'how-to' guide in the Peachpit Press tradition, which covers OS X completely as well as all the new features in Mac OS X. Proper attention is also given to the new iApplications that ship with OS X and has very thorough chapters on Word Processing using the new TextEdit software and Document printing. Many things have radically changed in OS X, Fonts being one of them. In this book, 27 pages are devoted to Fonts in OS X, Font management and includes large printouts of all the actual fonts that ship with OS X.

This is a well rounded book that covers OS X in a complete manner. This book works equally well for both the beginner and experienced Mac user. The last chapter in the book, 'Where Did It Go' for experienced Mac OS 9 users is very helpful for those of us moving from a solid knowledge of OS 9 to the uncharted waters of OS X.

 

Mac OS X: The Missing Manual
Published by O'Reilly
By David Pogue

ISBN 0-596-00082-0 2001
List price: $ 24.95 U.S.
596 pages

I have been reading David Pogue's writings for many years now, I like the way he writes. His complete understanding and knowledge of the Mac shows. This book depends less on screen shots and art work although there is an adequate amount to illustrate the points of the text.

As you read and work your way through this book you will notice that as new features are discussed there are constant references to the old way of doing things in OS 9. This is very helpful for anyone coming from OS 9 as we learn what old features are gone, changed or replaced by new Mac OS. There is also an appendix 'Where Did It Go' that looks at each item that has changed in OS X.

This book has more technical depth and goes to some of the under pinning of the new Mac OS. There are two chapters that cover the Unix base of OS X and a rather extensive look at 'Terminal Mode' which allows the user to alter the way OS X works at the core Unix level. There is also a full chapter on 'AppleScript' with many samples of Scripts to work from.

The book is well laid out with a logical and straight forward approach to familiarizing the reader with OS X. Interspersed throughout the book are sidebar comments (tips) that provide additional information helpful in learning OS X.

 
As I said at the start, both of these books are excellent. They are both well written and cover OS X completely. Both books work for people coming from OS 9 and for people who are new to the Mac and are just starting off with OS X.

The 'Little Mac OS X' Book has excellent art which is so well annotated that you can simply look at the screen shots and captions and learn the material. There is also some humor which makes learning OS X a bit more fun. 'Mac OS X: The Missing Manual' is equally well done but goes into OS X in greater depth, is more technically oriented, but is not without humor.

 
Enjoy,

--ken

You can purchase these books from the lafcpug store.

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Review copyright © www.kenstone.net 2002

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