Mastering Mac OS X Second Edition
Author: Todd Stauffer

Sybex
ISBN 0-7821-4118-8
US $39.99, CAN $63.95

Todd Stauffer’s Mastering Mac OS X Second Edition is a worthy addition to any OS X user’s personal library. Updated with lots of new information for OS X 10.2 “Jaguar,” this book (hereafter referred to as MMOSX2 to save my fingers) covers the waterfront for the intermediate and advanced user. While the back cover bills the book as suitable for users of all levels, I think that the raw Macintosh novice would find this book a bit intimidating, with the section Macintosh essentials being swamped by the huge amount of more advanced topics.

Stauffer is exceptionally thorough, with the 804 pages of text covering almost every facet of Mac OS X theory and practice. Rather than recite the various sections from the Table of Contents, you can be assured that almost any question an advanced or power user may have is covered. While not targeted at the hard-core, extreme geek, MMOSX2 does have a good basic introduction to the Unix underpinnings of OS X. Part V Advanced Mac OS X topics spans 100+ pages, and held my attention for page after page.

To my mind, the best sections in MMOSX2 are those on networking and cross-platform operations, as well as the two new chapters on troubleshooting system-level problems and typical OS X problems and solutions. Stauffer provides a well-rounded discussion of these topics, which are not often well served by other general-purpose OS X book, especially the troubleshooting sections.

Unfortunately, MMOSX2 was a bit hard to read, with text just a bit small for my 46 year-old eyes. While a larger type size would have caused the book to balloon to an even greater page count and greater weight, I would have preferred a larger type size. MMOSX2 is not alone, as other “boat-anchor” books often sacrifice readability for portability. Perhaps the publishers should begin to bundle a pair of cheap bifocals with any book over 500 pages.

Mastering Mac OS X Second Edition is clearly a reference book. Stauffer’s style is a bit dry, to put it politely, and MMOSX2 will not keep you up into the night, unless you are using it while troubleshooting an OS X problem. But this book is clearly worth buying for its comprehensive collection of OS X information; you’ll have all you need in one place on your bookshelf.

MacMice Rating: 4.5 out of 5


David Weeks

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