Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon
Book Review

Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon (Version 1.5)
By Sharon Zardetto and Andy Baird

ISBN 1-933671-30-0, 206 pages, PDF
$15.00 US

When I first received the Mac OS X Lexicon, I thought, “What could this book possibly tell a Mac user of 20+ years that he didn’t already know?” The answer: Plenty! “Ogg Vorbis,” “yottabyte,” “Breadcrumbs,” and “Flog,” ¬– what are they talking about?

As it turns out, The Mac OS X Lexicon is a very interesting book. It’s actually much more than a book, because the PDF nature of this tome makes it interactive in ways printed books just are not. I’m not sure this is a book you’d just sit and read, but you could easily do that if you wanted to. Once I started thumbing (or scrolling) through the pages, it was tough to put it down.

The best way to describe this book is to take an excerpt right from the introduction, “Are you tired of seeing references to Carbon and Cocoa and not knowing what they are or remembering which is which? What exactly is iLife? Is that Bonjour choice in iChat’s menu for when you’re typing en français? Do you have hot-swappable devices—and would you know if you did? Is a dual-layer DVD the same as a double-sided one, and is either one a Blu-ray? Do you want to know the basic definitions and concepts for things like: permissions, metadata, hypertext, base station, partition, phishing, public-key encryption, and that mysterious Services submenu? Do you need hip boots to wade through the alphabet soup of SDRAM, RSS, RTF, IMAP, EULA, OEM? We could go on… and we do!”

This EBook is chock full of information about Mac OS X and the Mac computer world in general. The PDF form of The Mac OS X Lexicon makes searching for the item you might be looking for a breeze. The PDF is arranged in alphabetical order rather than chapters with additional sections for Punctuation and Numbers.
When you click on a letter, you are taken to the top page for that section. That page contains a list of hyperlinks that, when clicked, take you directly to the topic you want to read about.

For example, clicking on the letter “L” brings up this list of hyperlinks on the “L” page:

This hyperlink and PDF set up makes finding the exact item you are looking for very easy!

There are additional hyperlinks throughout the book that will take you to other items that are cross-referenced within The Mac OS X Lexicon, or directly to the web for more information.
When looking at the entry for Ogg Vorbis, you can see a little globe icon on the side of the page. Clicking this icon launches your browser and you are taken right to a page that explains more about the topic.

In addition, you will find other little pictures throughout the book that act as a visual reference:

If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a word, don’t worry; The Mac OS X Lexicon has you covered with phonetic spellings throughout:

You will also find many tables filled with information throughout the book. “Key symbols in menus,” “The CPU,” and “Cursors! Foiled again!” to name a few.

Yes, there is light humor spread throughout which makes reading this stuff that much easier. I use an ellipsis quite a bit on my own website and always used three periods to make one. The Mac OS X Lexicon taught me that three periods do not an ellipsis make! Using the key command option-semicolon actually give you a true ellipsis. Who would have thought…

Overall, the PDF version of The Mac OS X Lexicon makes searching for the information you need very easy. The hyperlinks that cross reference information throughout the book and on the web are a big timesaver and help to give you all of the information you might be looking for and extends the reach of the book to the Internet.

Got a relative that is new to the Mac or computers? This is the perfect book for them but even old dogs like me will find useful information.

What about “Ogg Vorbis,” “yottabyte,” “Breadcrumbs,” and “Flog?” You’ll need the book to find out.
All of this for $15. What’s not to like?

MYMAC.COM rating: 5 out of 5


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