Sunday, September 16, 2012

[Book Review] Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual

Book Review for Mac OS X Lion: The Missing Manual , by David Pogue, ISBM 1449397492

This post will not touch much on Python, I was hoping to pick up enough AppleScript chops to use Python as an automation glue for Mac OS X by reading this book. But it turns out that would not be the case. So please skip this if you feel like this is a distraction from the topic.

I bought the first Mac OS X Missing Manual back in 2002 with my first iBook. Over the years I bought the Leopard and Snow Leopard versions of the missing manuals, so this is my fourth Mac OS X Missing Manual book. Pogue's book is really what I ever needed if I wanted to learn something about the Mac OS X besides a quick search online. It is an excellent source of information, sometimes I feel it is more than what I needed to know but having more information is better than the other way around, I think. One thing I did learn is that I prefer digital copy of technical books to be able to work on the topic covered, this book in particular was most useful when I can try out the examples as I read them. 

The overall theme really is the iPod-ification and social integration of the Mac OS as many article have pointed out, and Pogue's book points them out whenever possible. 

After more than 10 years of using Mac and working with *Nix system on a daily basis, there are still new items that I picked up from this book, I am sure some of them have been there and i just never knew about them. Here are some examples:

- New share menu: part of the iPad-ification of the new Mac OS. 
- Spotlight tips (quick calculator and dictionary). 
- Use keywords to search with limit (email, folder, app),
- Organize LaunchPad with folders and tricks.  
- Things I don't use enough to go deep into: iCloud, Time Machine, Dashboard, 
- Instant Accented Characters (i.e. holding down e will give you options for accented e in other languages).  
- Dictation: The new speak to type feature (somebody say iPad?) :)
- Chinese appeal: New font, new dictionary, Safari Baidu search, write Chinese via trackpad. 
- Share Bottom, wow, they are everywhere. 

Bottom line, if you are new to the OS or new to Mac, I would definitely recommend this book. 

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