Mac OS X and the Digital Lifestyle
Book Review

Mac OS X and the Digital Lifestyle
Brad Miser

Premier Press
ISBN 1-931841-74-8
U.S. $39.99 CA $ 61.95

Several years’ back, Steve Jobs announced the “digital lifestyle.” I’m not sure if using a Mac and a digital camera or camcorder qualifies you to live the “digital lifestyle,” but if it does, then Brad Miser is going to tell you how to live it. In fact, his book tells you how to live the digital lifestyle “a la vida loca.”

There are plenty of good books focusing on iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, and iDVD (the so-called “iApps.”) Nevertheless, this is the first book to focus on the integration between the iApps. Miser does not tell you just how to use iMovie, iTunes, and iPhoto; he tells you how to use them all together to create a seamless digital production. This focus on integration, and using the strong points of each application is what sets Mac OS X and the Digital Lifestyle apart from books that simply tell you how to use one iApp.

Before reading Mac OS X and the Digital Lifestyle, I felt reasonably conversant with the fundamental of iMovie, iTunes, and iPhoto. (I have never paid attention to iDVD as neither of my Macs have a SuperDrive.) I could fool around with the various programs, and get some moderately interesting results. But I always felt I was never taking best advantage of the programs as a suite of applications.

Three pages into Mac OS X and the Digital Lifestyle, I knew this book was something special.

Using QuickTime Pro as a focal point, Miser lays out the graphics underpinnings of the iApps. The ability to import and export scads of file formats makes QuickTime Pro and especially iMovie extra-flexible. You learn that you can get almost any external file into your production, and how to best import it.

iTunes gets attention next, then iPhoto and iMovie. Each chapter, while not as comprehensive as specialized books on each iApp, gives plenty of detail. I especially appreciated tips relating each program to its siblings; how best to format an export from iTunes to get it into iMovie, for example.

After each member of the iApp suite has had its’ turn, Miser gets to what is the best part of the book. He presents logical strategies for creating digital productions. These are not cookie-cutter “step 1, step 2” checklists that some beginner-level books use. Miser talks fundamentals, and uses general principles to help you learn how to use the iApps together to best effect. While each one has strengths and weaknesses, Miser shows you how to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

If you think I like this book, then think again.

I LOVED this book. It is well written, with easy-on-the-eyes formatting (less common than you may think), and it weighs less than 5 pounds. But the best part of reading Mac OS X and the Digital Lifestyle was the constant feeling I had of “so THAT is the best way to do that effect,” or “jeez, I was wasting a lot of time doing it my way.”

Rather than list all the chapter titles, I’ll simply say you will learn all you need to know to use your digital camera, camcorder, CD/DVD burner with your Mac if buy and read Mac OS X and the Digital Lifestyle.

This is a must-buy for anyone who wants to get more out of their digital hardware and the iApps that ship with their Macintosh.

MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5

David Weeks

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