Book Bytes – MyMac Magazine #62 – Bonus

Secrets of Successful Web Sites:
Project Management on the World Wide Web
by David Siegel
New Riders / Hayden Books
ISBN 1-56830-382-3, 303 pages
$49.99 US, $70.95 CN, £44.95 UK

It has been a while since I’ve thumbed through a $50 pro-level book for webmasters and designers. I am not familiar with the work of acclaimed author and webguru David Siegel, but people have been telling me about him for years. Now I have an opportunity to meet him on his own terms. What’s the big deal?

Time out.

Siegel’s domains include the following, which you may want to peruse if this subject intrigues you:,, and

Macmillan USA was the umbrella publishing company for Hayden Books, who published this book in 1997, but a different subsidiary now handles this and other upper-echelon graphics and web books: New Riders Publishing

“This book is dedicated to the people who stick with it, who take the challenge of building web sites seriously and pursue perfection in the middle of the night.” So begins Secrets of Successful Web Sites, setting the tone and pace for an intense experience. With fifteen web site case studies plus eleven chapters on methodology, each well-crafted page and chapter is both a mission-critical hands-on adventure and a voyage into the inner workings of Siegel and his collaborators.

The content is splendid, and the design and display quality are tops. Don’t be fooled by the three-year-old publication date, you webheads. This guy knows his stuff, and presents intensely lucid information with panache. I am running out of superlatives in this brief review, so please excuse me if I insist you shake loose the time (and your $$$) to spend with David Siegel and his Secrets of Successful Web Sites. It will save your bacon, and elevate your work to a much higher level. It is an honor to be in the same room with this book!

MacMice Rating: 5


Sams Teach Yourself Today e-Real Estate
by Jack Segner
Sams Publishing
ISBN 0-672-31815-6, 255 pages
$17.99 US, $26.95 CN, £12.99 UK

Real estate is a real pain, IMNSHO. Along with getting a new job and repairing a car, buying and selling a home is no fun. It is now possible to do most of the grunt work online, including financing your transactions. As the real estate profession migrates toward using the Internet for everything except the exchange of keys, books such as this one will repay your buying and reading investments many times over.

With his helpful glossary and his pages of “Recommended Real Estate and Mortgage Web Sites,” author Jack Segner has your best interests in mind, and wants you to be savvy at every phase of the negotiation process. After digesting the well-presented contents of Sams Teach Yourself Today e-Real Estate, you will have a head start over everyone else. I wish I had the knowledge and access to resources contained in these affordable pages during my several house purchases and sales.

MacMice Rating: 4

The author tells Book Bytes he “is a mortgage banker by profession who brings real world knowledge and expertise to the financing and real estate advice he offers. He shows the consumer how to evaluate online lenders and take advantage of the best real estate information available online.”


Easy iMac in Full Color, 2nd Edition
by Lisa Lee
Que Corporation
ISBN 0-7897-2339–5, 282 pages
$19.99 US, $29.95 CN, £14.50 UK

Last month’s Nemo Memo featured an interview with author and artist Lisa Lee. She mentioned this updated edition of her colorful Book Bytes Award-winning iMac book, and it is a treat to behold.

In ten color-coordinated parts, each loaded with itemized tasks, readers are taken gently from the basics onward and upward into advanced-beginner territory. As I thumb through Easy iMac in Full Color, 2nd Edition, my excitement for the lucky purchasers of this imaginative volume increases. How about:

• “Setting Up an AirPort Base Station” (part 3, task 6);

• “Searching with Sherlock 2” (part 9, task 8);

• “Creating a Web Page with PageMill 3.0” (part 11, task 10);

or dozens of comparable itemized, bulleted, tip-enhanced two-page spreads, each containing six or more action-specific screen shots?

I consider the tutorials in Easy iMac in Full Color the “least you need to know,” meaning you’ll eventually graduate to a more detailed text-heavy successor book as your knowledge expands. For beginners who learn best from picture-based lessons, Book Bytes is pleased to RECOMMEND this title.

MacMice Rating: 4

Anything to add, Lisa?

The second edition of Easy iMac focuses on Mac OS 9 and the DV iMacs. Learn how to use all the original features that made the iMac great (such as USB, AppleWorks and the software bundle), as well as the new features, like FireWire, iMovie and AirPort.


Sams Teach Yourself Today e-Bargains
by Preston Gralla
Sams Publishing
ISBN 0-672-31906-3, 341 pages
$17.99 US, $26.95 CN, £12.99 UK

What a great idea: a low-cost book by an experienced bargain hunter and Internet book author, on the subject of using the Net to save money on an extensive range of goods and services. We have met Preston Gralla before, and Book Bytes is pleased to see him at work again.

The twelve-page Web Directory in the Appendix contains many “best site” lists, which will repay the owner of Sams Teach Yourself Today e-Bargains on the very first purchase. The bulk of this useful book contains descriptions for Preston’s preferred URLs, plus how-to advice for every stage of the process. His subtitle, “Using the Internet to save money, make money, and get free stuff” is not an overstatement.

I can’t wait to dust off my credit card and go into action. This book has no equal, making it a pleasure to give it a strong RECOMMENDATION, with a rating of:

MacMice Rating: 4


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Investing, 2nd Edition
by Doug Gerlach
Alpha / Que Publishing / Macmillan USA
ISBN 0-7897-2325-5, 388 pages
$18.95 US, $28.95 CN, £17.50 UK

Book Bytes liked this book in its first edition, and this update is just as good. I have been a fan of Doug Gerlach and his magnificent Investorama web site for several years, dating back to his Investor’s Web Guide, reviewed in the distant Internet-past. If you do nothing more than learn everything in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Investing and use Investorama as your financial portal, you are in good hands.

The Complete Idiot’s format is a bit distracting when it comes to serious study of money matters, so total newcomers to online investing will do best taking the text, tips, and screen shots in brief bursts, allowing time to digest the new material. Gerlach does everything possible to keep readers alert, including such snappy section titles as “It’s Hip, It’s Now, It’s Mod — Modern Portfolio Theory” (see page 58 if you don’t have a clue what that means).

The week this book arrived from the publisher, NASDAQ Internet and techie stocks took a nose dive. If you were caught with your options unhinged or your risk-return-ratio in the red, get yourself a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Investing quickly. Turn off the television, unplug the phone, read for an hour, visit Doug Gerlach’s recommended Internet sites, and consider yourself lucky to have him as your mentor.

MacMice Rating: 3


The Little iMac Book, 2nd Edition
by Robin Williams
Peachpit Press
ISBN 0-201-70446-3, 311 pages
$17.99 US, $26.95 CN

As the iMac improves, so does Robin’s book, which she created on an iMac DV. Who has my copy of the first edition of The Little iMac Book? I don’t see it on the Book Bytes “keepers” shelf, so I must have given it to another hard-working member of our My Mac writing cadre. Oh, well, let’s look at this edition.

The content has been “completely updated” to include coverage of OS 9 and the most recent models of iMac hardware. Robin is one of the premier beginning-user Macintosh writers, and she is at her very best here. Text, screen shots, tips, formatting, and design are coordinated to make the reading and learning experience pleasantly instructive.

System-wide and application-specific tutorials get newbies knee deep in Macintoshiana, as Williams delves into the software and goodies supplied with every iMac. By Chapters 11 and 12, ambitious people can “Make an iMovie” and “Organize Yourself With Palm Desktop.” Using the Internet receives substantial coverage, as do the Airport, Sherlock 2, and basic info on peripherals and troubleshooting. Nicely done, Robin. Keep ‘em coming! Affordably priced, and for absolute beginners:

MacMice Rating: 3


Poor Richard’s Web Site: Geek-Free,
Commonsense advice On Building a
Low-Cost Web Site, 2nd Edition
by Peter Kent
Top Floor Publishing
ISBN 0-9661032-0-3, 419 pages
$29.95 US

Thanks to my friend Gail Lawley for introducing me to this unusual “Poor Richard’s” series of entry-level books from Top Floor, a publisher which we welcome to Book Bytes for the first time. Additional titles in the series will be reviewed in future months. We have met author Peter Kent before, and you can access our Book Bytes archives to read reviews of some of his 40 books (but not, unfortunately, The Best Sex of Your Life, from Barricade Publications).

A personal tribute goes to this publisher, who provides the best reviewer Press Kit I have ever received. Other publishers: learn from Top Floor’s example, and contact them to see how it should be done! Peter Kent happens to be the top guy at Top Floor.

From “Do You Really Need a Web Site?” to “Choosing a Web Host,” Kent covers all the essentials. He is big on explanations, lists, recommended URLs, and information, making the pages in Poor Richard’s Web Site heavy on text and low on images. The information is solid enough that I wish 90 percent of pro and amateur webmasters followed the author’s advice. If you are creating a new site from scratch, do yourself a favor and seek out this book. It will save you time, money, and stress, and strengthen your domain.

Here are Gail Lawley’s thoughts on Poor Richard’s Web Site:

I found his explanation of virtual and non-virtual domains extremely helpful. Got bogged down when he got to some of the networking stuff. His Windows bias set my teeth on edge, especially when he talked about Front Page. He’d obviously never used the better programs (GoLive and DreamWeaver) on the Mac. I also thought his taking orders section was weak.

Although he gave lots of web sites, quite a few were not there when I looked for them. His own web site, however, stays up to date.

In general, I didn’t think the average small business person or home user would read his whole book. That’s why I decided to try to do something smaller and simpler for my personal site.

MacMice Rating: 3


Your Official America Online
Guide to Personal Finance and Investing
by Carol Leonetti Dannhauser
AOL Press / IDG Books Worldwide
ISBN 0-7645-3427-0, 490 pages
$19.99 US

Few people will buy, read, and use this book, which is a shame. Fifty million or more onliners participate in AOL now, and many of them use it for investments and finance, without tapping most of America Online’s powerful built-in keywords and features. Whether or not you are an AOL subscriber, you should look through this America Online Guide to Personal Finance and Investing, because it is one of the best introductory titles I have seen.

By coincidence I just started using AOL to help a family member track and manage a stock and bond portfolio (keyword: MY PORTFOLIOS). Author Carol Leonetti Dannhauser explains the use of both keywords and financial sites on the broader Internet. Most important, she patiently and thoroughly enables readers to understand how to manage their money wisely and intelligently using the broad range of available online resources. If you subscribe to an ISP and not AOL, her America Online Guide to Personal Finance and Investing is well worth your investment in time. For AOL members, Book Bytes is pleased to rate it:

MacMice Rating: 4

Websites mentioned:

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