Apple Training Series: iLife ’05
by Michael Rubin
US $29.99 CAN $41.99
I’ve been reviewing Macintosh titles for several years, only to find that, unbeknownst to me, Peachpit Press has been publishing an official Apple Training Series collection for quite a while. The series now has 34 titles running the gamut from newbie “how-to’s” to technical discussions of Mac OS X Server security.
Now that I’m no longer asleep at this particular switch, let’s look at author Michael Rubin’s iLife ’05 book.
Subtitled “iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, Garageband” the book is targeted at the beginner to intermediate user. If you’ve advanced past this level, iLife ’05 won’t teach you any new tricks. But if you’re still learning just what you can actually DO with your iApps, this book is worth a look.
I was impressed by Rubin’s clear, methodical writing style, which is complemented by the well-crafted page layout.
Rather than simply regurgitate what each application can do, Rubin tracks three typical iLife users through their different projects, each with a different focus. This approach lets the reader follow the logical sequence in which a project is constructed. Too many “how-to” books fail to give new users a conceptual overview of how to integrate the different capabilities of each iApp. iLife’05 does an excellent job showing how to best assemble a project, and how to use each component application to best effect.
Given that Rubin is writing for beginner/intermediate users, I shouldn’t complain about the lack of neat tips and tricks that can help even the new users. Just be aware this book does not move at all beyond the basics. iLife ’05 would have benefited from including some easy tips and techniques that aren’t in the standard repertoire. But honest-to-goodness intermediate users may find the content too basic for their needs.
Production values are great. Screen shots are plentiful, crisp and clear. iLife 05’s dimensions of 7-3/8″ wide X 9-1/8″ tall are just right for the book’s weight; it’s easy to hold and read while sitting in that favorite comfy chair.
Included in the purchase price is a DVD with all the lesson material used in the book. This makes it practicable to actually follow the written examples on your own machine. There’s nothing like doing it yourself to cement the learning process.
“Hey, I don’t have DVD optical drive in my Mac, and can’t use the examples” you say. Well, given that iLife ’05 needs a DVD drive to fully install all the software components (Garageband is the driving factor) you probably won’t be using the software without one.
If you want to find out how to use that shiny new iLife software you just bought, Michael Rubin’s Apple Training Series: iLife ’05 is worth of consideration. You’ll end up with a fine grounding in the basics, as well as real-world experience in the best way to make all the iApps work together to get work done. Anyone past the beginner stage may wish to look elsewhere.
MyMac rating 4.5 out of 5 (for beginning iLife users)