Book Bytes – MyMac Magazine #62

Mac OS 9: The Complete Reference
by Gene Steinberg
ISBN 0-07-212506-3, 916 pages
$39.99 US

Book Bytes has praised Gene Steinberg before, and with the arrival of this unexpected treasure we elevate Gene into the highest ranks of Macintosh authors. I knew he was working on a competitor to the mighty Macworld Mac OS 9 Bible, but I had no idea of the scope of this ground breaking “complete reference.”

This book will join five other OS 9 titles on my permanent Book Bytes “keeper” bookshelf. The content ranges from complete beginner to serious power user. Where does Mac OS 9: The Complete Reference fit in? With 900 pages of text, we expect to learn everything possible regarding our favorite system software, and we’re not disappointed. Holding the bulky physical book is not easy, but it does open nicely, keeping its high quality pages in place for reading or flipping from section to section.

I started reading Mac OS 9: The Complete Reference when it first arrived from the publisher. I became so immersed in the content I abandoned my monthly schedule for reading and reviewing the other titles chosen for June’s Book Bytes. I had to set Steinberg’s massive volume aside, and plan to pore over every word as soon as this issue goes to our My Mac Magazine editorial staff.

The range of the 36 hearty chapters is exhaustive.The first ten cover installing, understanding, and using OS 9, and the next eight chapters explain “Installing and Configuring Mac Hardware.” Do you need help with “Customizing Your Mac Environment for Multiple Users” (Chapter Six) or installing removable drives, scanners, and input devices (Chapters 14 – 16)? Big Daddy Gene will guide you, friends.

After mastering first two basic units, many readers will concentrate on Parts Three and Four, in which application software and the Internet receive no-holds-barred treatment. Do font problems have you breaking out in hives? Study Chapter 22, to learn more than you ever knew existed on “The Magic, Mystery, and Aggravation of Fonts.” (Time out while I put to use the material on page 521: “How to Organize Fonts Without a Font Manager.” Thanks, Gene.)

Book Bytes congratulates Steinberg’s deputy sheriffs: contributing author Pieter Paulson (co-author of a second Steinberg book reviewed this month) and Lisa Lee (who was profiled in a Nemo Memo interview last month, and who has a title in this month’s Bonus Book Bytes). What a terrific trio of a team.

The authors and publisher agree with me when I consider Mac OS 9: The Complete Reference best suited for non-newbies and pre-power users. Macpersons with some degree of experience, including most of you and all intermediate-level users, will find this book well worth the cost and time spent, and for them we rate it:

MacMice Rating: 5


How to Do Everything with Your Palm Handheld
by Dave Johnson and Rick Broida
Osborne / McGraw-Hill
ISBN 0-07-212490-3, 607 pages
$24.99 US

It is with some hesitation I peel off the shrink wrap from this heavyweight book on the subject of lightweight handheld computers. I had a dream last night I had to HotSync some data between a Macintosh and a Palm, but I wasn’t sure (in the dream) if I had the correct software on my Mac, the correct cable and cradle, or I knew which version of Palm handheld computer I owned! Do you think it was an omen?

I confess I enjoy studying books on Palm hardware and software. The authors tend to enjoy using their cute little companions, and their enjoyment infuses the writing. Four previous titles have been covered here in Book Bytes, so How to Do Everything with Your Palm Handheld has some serious competition. How many books on Palm should a person need to own?

It’s amazing what can be done on a Palm now. I notice in some of the later chapters it is possible to take music lessons, create and manipulate artwork, build an electronic photo album or library of e-books, and more, in addition to “normal” productivity and infotainment activities. Browsing the web, faxing, and paging seem beyond the ability of a Palm, until you experience them, or read about them in Chapters 16 and 17.

Each model of Palm handheld is covered, as are the Palm OS and standard applications. The Handspring Visor is mentioned throughout the book, with a special chapter explaining its similarities and differences from a Palm unit. “Getting Set Up with Your PC” is discussed in detail in an early chapter, as is using a Palm to HotSync with a Mac.

It is easy to RECOMMEND How to Do Everything with Your Palm Handheld, but a bit difficult to compare it to previous books on the Palm platform (so I won’t!). Whether you are starting out with your first Palm or Visor, or have been Palming for several years, Book Bytes considers this title deserving of:

MacMice Rating: 4

Author Dave Johnson reminds Book Bytes to emphasize the book is very solution-oriented (how to get real work done with the Palm).


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to iMac
by Brad Miser
Alpha / Que Publishing / Macmillan USA
ISBN 0-7897-2795-3, 342 pages
$19.99 US, $29.95 CN, £18.50 UK

Uh oh. Here we go again. Another cover blurb from yours truly greets the reader of this latest entry to iMac literature. Let’s pretend I have not previously examined a few chapters prior to sending the publisher my pre-publication comments, okay?

Brad Miser and his Complete Idiots team are back. Do we need yet another iMac title crowding the bulging bookstore shelves? Just as he did in his similar iBook book, Brad focuses on four primary aspects to help newcomers to Mac OS and the 38-pound one piece wonder computer’s applications and features:

• what it is, how it works, and how to use it

• quickly becoming familiar with the Internet

• using the iMac for entertainment and multimedia

• personalizing, understanding, and fine-tuning your individual iMac.

The chapters are short, but thorough, with excellent use of bold type for important terms, plus hundreds of helpful tips and screenshots. The writing is snappy and straightforward, making newbies feel they have a friend in the author.

I recommend readers skim the entire text and graphics in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to iMac before becoming confused by the many new aspects of their iMacs. They can then work through the instructional material on an as-needed basis, having some sense of what is eventually possible to do.

For example, buyers of the DV (digital video) iMac will want to jump to Chapter 17, “Your DV iMac Is a Home Theater System — Only Better!” but should not do so before understanding at least a little bit what the Mac OS is. You get the idea, I’m sure.

Glancing over to the Book Bytes bookshelf, I observe six or more titles competing with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to iMac for your time and $$$. What makes this book special, and worth buying a reading? Answer: the information, the price, and the cover quote! If you are new to iMac and do not currently own a first-rate book to get you up and running, consider this RECOMMENDED title. For beginners:

MacMice Rating: 4

Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Fundamentals with ImageReady 2
by Gary David Bouton
New Riders Press
ISBN 0-7357-0928-9, 529 pages plus CD
$39.99 US, $59.95 CN, £30.99 UK

Talking about value, this baby has it. Gary “wise guy” Bouton is back, and he claims this book is his best ever. I give him that nickname fondly, because he speaks so plainly and openly, making readers feel like they know him personally.

Before you come to the title page you encounter a selection of color images derived from Gary’s Photoshop projects, chapter by chapter. I encourage other authors/publishers to place the artwork at the front of books, rather than in the middle of the volumes.

Still asking about value? The author concentrates on “boot camp” essential knowledge to enable users of Photoshop to have fun and become proficient and profitable in their pro-level work. The text of Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Fundamentals with ImageReady 2 takes dedicated readers to that level, and the CD contains:

• all the images and graphical resources used in the lessons

• custom-created typefaces, tiling images, clip art, and 3D objects

• a selection of bizarre and useful plug-ins (explained in Chapter 15 1/2)


• a mammoth glossary, in Adobe Acrobat Reader format (PDF).

The techniques and exercises in Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Fundamentals with ImageReady 2 are too numerous for me to evaluate quickly, but I am mighty impressed with the way Gary has structured his units. In five major parts, readers progress from basic info and “working smart in Photoshop” through retouching and working with type into animations, image maps, and plenty more in ImageReady.

My favorite unit comes at the end, with “If You Read Only One Chapter…” and “Is There Anything I Missed?” Turning to page 468 and beyond, I’m fascinated with the systematic, creative way Gary constructs a fictitious web site, “Susan’s Susans” (you’ll have to see it yourself to figure out what it means), including a “web media touch up” utilizing ImageReady.

At some point serious users of Photoshop will have one book too many. Artists who make the effort to study and work through the tutorials in this one will consider their money and time well spent.

MacMice Rating: 4

Anything you would like to tell our readers, Gary?

It’s not a beginners or “Morons” book. It’s a rock that you climb to get a better look at the art world, and although you might not scale it completely, there is plenty to see and learn, and I’ve made the rock as easy to climb as possible.


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Medical Resources
by Joan Price
Alpha / Que Publishing / Macmillan USA
ISBN 0-7897-2297-6, 333 pages
$18.95 US, $28.95 CN, £17.50 UK

I just finished lunch. Barbara and I were each reading several months’ issues of a snail newsletter published by Dr. Andrew Weil sent to us by our friend Martha. Earlier in the day we were discussing items in the news on the subjects of migraines, Parkinson’s Disease, and female hormone replacement therapy. Seems like an appropriate day to examine Joan Price’s latest book.

I’m biased. I think Joan is terrific, from the Complete Idiot’s book she co-authored on the subject of online fitness and health, which received five Mac Mice in a recent Book Bytes review. She expanded the medical coverage into an entire book, and it is a valuable compendium of where to go on the Internet for reliable information and research.

Nineteen medical “super sites” open the book, on an orange and yellow tearout card. Individual major diseases and disorders from allergies, back pain, and cancer to HIV, depression, and osteoporosis are covered in final chapters, with dozens of recommended URLs and capsule commentaries. In between are units on obtaining reliable information, evaluating your current medical situation, and staying well.

Many of us will require surgery and drug therapies during our long, productive lifetimes. Joan discusses how to obtain treatment and care in chapters dealing with “the best sites for educating yourself about different surgeries” and where to “learn about prescription drugs and herbs online.”

Herbs? You mean oregano and basil? Nope. Herbal medicine, both traditional and contemporary, are alive and well on the Internet. Chapter 15 in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Medical Resources addresses several aspects of alternative medicine, complete with warnings of what to avoid.

Once readers get past the introductory material, Joan’s book is primarily a hand-picked web directory of where to spend your precious time acquiring the best possible online medical knowledge. I know where I’ll look next time I need information.

MacMice Rating: 4


Personal Finance for Dummies, 3rd Edition
by Eric Tyson, MBA
Dummies Press
ISBN 0-7645-5231-7, 470 pages
$19.99 US, $27.99 CN, £14.99 UK

From the author of additional Dummies titles on investing, mutual funds, taxes, small businesses, and real estate comes a book for the average reader who spends more time worrying about personal finance than stocking up on knowledge and wisdom. Book Bytes intends to devote extra space to financial subjects, to help our savvy readers navigate through the turbulent waters of this volatile landscape (sorry about all those fast and loose literary liberties).

Do you read financial publications on a regular basis, either in print or online? Have you digested the information in books by Andrew Tobias, Jane Bryant Quinn, and the other luminaries? If not, then get thee to your local bookstore and start thumbing through Personal Finance for Dummies, friends. Tyson is tops in my book, and this dummy title is as smart as it gets, loaded with informative boxed sidebars, warnings, and advice.

Speaking of thumbing, as I flip through this book from back to front I am pleased to encounter a hearty glossary of financial terms, plus dozens of Eric’s tips for life changes involving wisely managing your personal and money assets. In the front of Personal Finance for Dummies, after eight pages of glowing “Praise for Eric Tyson,” the main event begins.

Individual chapters cover: determining your current financial status, obstacles, and goals; many aspects of investing and financial planning; insuring yourself, your family, and your property; and how to use a computer and the Internet to stay in top form. Here’s an example:

Many financial Internet sites provide real-time stock quotes as a hook to some site that is cluttered with advertising. My experience working with individual investors is that the more short-term they think, the worse they do, and checking your portfolio during the trading day certainly promotes short-term-ism.

Amen, Eric.

If you do nothing more than read Personal Finance for Dummies cover to cover a few time, you will absorb common sense advice that will repay your investment many times over. Don’t be a dunce. Educate yourself! For beginners to the subject and readers who need solid reinforcement:

MacMice Rating: 4

Eric Tyson tells Book Bytes:

I am a practitioner (financial counselor) who writes exclusively about personal finance. My syndicated newspaper column is in papers throughout country, and the Internet column appears at


Windows 2000 Mac Support Little Black Book:
Concise Problem Solver
by Gene Steinberg
and Pieter Paulson
Coriolis Technology Press
ISBN 1-56710-388-9, 388 pages
$24.99 US, $37.99 CN, £17.49 UK

Author Gene Steinberg warns me that this book is probably rough going for your humble reviewer, and too specialized for most of our Book Bytes readers. He is correct. Here we have a topic I hope I never need to understand, but if I did, I would certainly commit to memory everything contained within Gene and Pieter’s Windows 2000 Mac Support Little Black Book.

Don’t let the contents scare you, administrators and high testosterone cross-platformers, because in ten articulate chapters the authors systematically dispel your apprehensions and concerns on networking the Mac OS (notably 9 and X) with both Windows NT 4 and 2000.

The two units are structured in parallel form, so the info you glean on file sharing, printing, AppleTalk networking, and BackOffice integration with one version of Windows leads naturally to the other one, in both directions.

An inside cover tearout quick reference card (covering installing, configuring, printing, file services, DAVE, and more!) is probably worth most of the cost of this affordable book. Once you are involved in the text, you understand the depth of experience and commitment both authors have for this often-exasperating subject. They manage to offer abundant facts and opinions on every page, plus plenty of pertinent screen shots, tips, and checklists.

Did you ever have a passionate urge to understand “Dealing with Macintosh Users Who Cannot See Windows 2000 Servers Or Files,” or “Using the MacFile Menu in Windows File Manager”? You have come to the right place, hot shot, and will soon understand enough on these and dozens of comparable topics to scream praises for Windows 2000 Mac Support Little Black Book from the rooftop of your CEO’s Ferrari.

If you vow to tap into Pieter Paulson and Gene Steinberg’s wealth of knowledge, you and everyone you support on your cross-platform network (you lucky devils) will consider you a Super Hero. Administrators will realize this book is well worth:

MacMice Rating: 4


The Complete Guide to Associate
and Affiliate Programs on the Net:
Turning Clicks into Cash
by Daniel Gray
ISBN 0-07-135310-0, 227 pages
$19.95 US

Author Daniel Gray appreciated my review of a book of his last month, and offered to send me an autographed copy of this one, which I would not have requested based solely on its long-winded title. The idea here is to make $$$ royalties by allowing lucrative companies to promote and sell their products through your web site. He did it, wrote about it, and now you can do it too.

The book is divided into three interlinked parts, the most important being an extended explanation of what associate and affiliate programs are and how they work, in the first four chapters. Readers will learn:

• how to select the best programs for your site(s)

• how to design and market your site(s)

• how to get search engines to link to you

• and how to keep the whole scheme organized and legal.

Nineteen specific merchant profiles and “affiliate success stories” comprise the middle section, with home page screen shots and descriptions of both large, household-name URLs and small mom-and-pop-shops.

The final 100 pages in The Complete Guide to Associate and Affiliate Programs on the Net is devoted to one-page listings for Daniel’s “Top 100 Directory,” alphabetically listing contact and business information for his recommended favorites, including bookstores, flower shops, music stores, food merchants, and loads more.

Please read pages 117-124 carefully, because they explain what the items in the Top 100 list mean, and how best to utilize them. Gray insists “You should always read the fine print on each program before you put your electronic pen on the line.”

If you work extremely hard and are successful, your affiliations can produce monthly commissions in the hundreds (or thousands) of dollars, but this is not a get rich quick plan. Book Bytes considers The Complete Guide to Associate and Affiliate Programs on the Net a suitable entry vehicle for beginners to the subject. Heavy duty books exist for workhorse webheads, but for people getting started we rate this one:

MacMice Rating: 3

Author Daniel Gray tells Book Bytes:

FWIW, I didn’t give the book its long-winded title. I originally wanted to call the book Working the Web Sure Beats Getting a Paper Route. And my six year old son wanted to name it Wake Up With Money. But alas, the publisher won out.

I set out to create an easy-to-read book to introduce folks to the world of affiliate marketing, endeavoring to write a 100% snake-oil free primer, full of truths, not hype. I think I’ve accomplished that. This affordably-priced book doesn’t sell anything. It just lays it out, in layman’s terms.

After having been an author for ten years, my seventy-something mom (finally) paid me a wonderful compliment. “You know Dan’l, I really understood this. What a great book!” 🙂

The book also brings an important fact to light. Contrary to what many believe, did not invent the affiliate marketing concept. My book clearly states the starting date of a number of affiliate programs that were in place before Amazon’s affiliate patent application, and even more importantly, before the launch of Amazon’s Associate program. It’s little wonder that Amazon didn’t want to talk while I was in the midst of research.

I’m looking forward to the second edition (if only I could convince McGraw-Hill). Things will get a good bit juicier.


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