Book Review – Mac OS X Power Tools

Mac OS X Power Tools
Dan Frakes

ISBN 0-7821-4192-7
607 pages
US $39.99 CA $63.95

When author Dan Frakes penned Mac OS X Power Tools (hereafter referred to as MOSXPT) he wrote a winner. This book will not gather any dust on your bookshelf!

MOSXPT is a strange and wonderful combination of advanced information, useful hints, neat tricks, and hard to find tidbits that will make your OS X experience more satisfying.

I found it a just a bit odd that Frakes starts his book with a discussion of OS X file permissions: it’s not the usual starting place for a book like this. Some readers may be scared by such a Unixy subject right off the bat, but Frakes makes this important subject very understandable. Even if you’re allergic to Unix, you’ll need some understanding of permissions, so hold your breath (or your nose) and digest what Frakes has to say.

MOSXPT segues into a great discussion of OS X’s System Preference panes. After this section, you’ll know all there is to know about the various preferences. Readers who come to MOSXPT with a good grounding in OS X could skip this chapter.

If Part 1 is good, the best parts of MOSXPT are yet to come.

Frakes’ discussion of Finder window views and preferences is excellent. Many OS X’ers wonder why settings for window view preferences do not work as expected. Apple documentation of window view preferences is less than useless, and many people simply put up with their ongoing Finder frustration. Frakes clarifies exactly which window view settings apply in each possible circumstance. This is hard to find information that not many other OS X books provide, and it’s one reason why MOSXPT is a good buy.

MOSXPT covers great topics such as using GIMP Print to use unsupported printers, setting up USB printer sharing across the Internet (one of my favorites), as well as a great discussion of file sharing. While every OS X book covers file sharing, few authors provide such a comprehensive yet understandable of a topic that confuses many OS X users.

MOSXPT has its own web site and you can find a sample chapter on-line. Check out the sample chapter to get a taste of Frakes’ style, and learn some great things that did not make it to print.

Conclusion. MAC OS X Power Tools is not an introductory book in the manner of Pogue’s Mac OS X: The Missing Manual. But if you’re getting comfortable with OS X, and wish to expand your Mac horizons, you’ll do well to spend time with this book.

Highly recommended!

MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5

David Weeks

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