I bought this book on March 2, 2008. I still haven’t finished reading it, but I’m almost there. One reason I’m not done with it yet is because I’ve taken my time reading it in a very active fashion, taking it in slowly chapter by chapter and doing every suggested tinkering with the OS. I suppose that’s how you should read an instructional book anyway. It’s almost as if I’m in a classroom, with the Macbook on, with David Pogue teaching me the innards of Leopard. Suffice to say, this book has helped a great deal.
Like I mentioned, the book is written by David Pogue. If you haven’t heard of him by now, he’s a clever an witty writer. He’s a tech columnist for the New York Times, has published a ton of books and does magic. Him being the author of the book is relevant because there’s something rare and special in this little computer book. His enthusiasm and love of Mac OS X pops out the pages and that, believe it or not, is something missing in instructional tech books.
The book is full of humorous musings(don’t say oh ess sex), tons of example screenshots and really, everything you’ll want or need to know about Leopard. It is divided in six parts, those being The Desktop, The Programs, The Components, The Technologies, Online(this is where I’m at right now) and Appendixes. It takes you from basic stuff like the Finder and its four different views to power user level stuff like Applescript, Automator and Terminal.
Part three is the meat and bones of the book where the author covers every single element in System Preferences and every free program with the exception of the iLife programs like iMovie and GarageBand. But you can get pdf documents of those programs on the Apple page. Also there are many pdf’s at missingmanuals.com if you want more in depth coverage about some topics discussed in the book.
What I’m really enjoying about The Missing Manual, even though it’s a 900+ page book, is that it’s written in such a way that it makes time fly by. Most tech books about applications and operating systems tell you that you can do this and that, but this book tells you why you would want to do this or that and that’s another reason why its rare and special. Most of my Microsoft books are collecting dust and I learned to use the software the hard way and its features through serendipity.