Mac OS X Snow Leopard for Dummies – Review

Mac OS X Snow Leopard for Dummies
Author: Bob LeVitus

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-470-43543-4
Price: $24.99 US/$29.99 CAN
Page Count: 442

When they first began publishing the “Dummy” books, a lot of folks took the titles to be demeaning or designed to make fun of those who bought and read the books. Time has passed and there are simply dozens of titles appearing each year covering every topic imaginable. The Mac series of Dummy books goes back to the OS 7 time period and continues to this day. Amongst those leading the way in writing Mac Dummy books has been Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus.

Mr. LeVitus’s latest edition, Mac OS X Snow Leopard for Dummies, is primarily designed for the new user of a Mac or of Apple’s operating system, Mac OS 10.6, better known as Snow Leopard. Written with his normal sense of humor present throughout the book, LeVitus takes the new user through the steps of learning to use Snow Leopard.

LeVitus breaks Snow Leopard learning down into six separate sections for the reader. He starts with “Introducing Mac OS X Snow Leopard: The Basics”, covering starting up your Mac to explaining the Desktop, Windows and Menus. Simple things that experienced Mac users may skip over but that a new user may not be familiar with, such as desktop pictures, widgets, sound effects, the Dock and the Finder are covered within the first part of the book. In Part 2, LeVitus gets down to explaining how to organize files and folders, the use of disks and how to organize your life on your Mac. Part 3 delves into “Getting Things Done” by showing how to connect to the Internet, surfing the Web with Safari, using iChat, working with Address Book, using Mail, iTunes, TextEdit and Apple’s DVD Player.

Part 4 of the book explains printing, hooking up your printer of choice, networks, permissions and some of the items that even some seasoned Mac users are not into, such as Automator, AppleScript, Universal Access and Boot Camp. Part 5 goes into a very important part of being a Mac user, Backing Up what you have on your computer. LeVitus covers Time Machine, using the old drag and drop method to a CD, DVD and actually burning your important items to the disk, plus the use of available software, be it freeware or commercially available. During the course of the book, LeVitus covers the useful software that comes with your Mac; Disk Utility, Keychain Access, Airport Utility, you get the drift.

He continues and covers Troubleshooting when things go wrong for even though it is a Mac, things can still go wrong. This section examines using the OS X Installation Disk, starting up from a DVD, First Aid, Safe Boot, Zapping the PRAM, reinstalling OS X and what to do when your Mac crashes at startup. Part 6, the final section, explores ways to speed up your Mac experience- keyboard shortcuts, typing skills, monitor resolution, icons and preferences, RAM, a new hard drive, even an accelerated graphics card. More ideas flow when he suggests throwing money at your Mac; more RAM, software, a new monitor, faster internet, DVD burner, things that most Mac users do consider and follow up on during their use of their Mac.

All in all, in reading through the book, one notices the little subtle (and not so subtle) use of humor throughout, making things more interesting as one continues through each chapter. This book is designed to draw you in, make you want to continue to read on, and remember what you have read. Bob LeVitus succeeds on all counts there. The book is never boring, too technical nor does it bring down the level of information that it provides to such a low point that it would seem to be speaking down to the reader. LeVitus, after writing over 50 books, has it down to a science in how to explain things properly and to keep the readers’ interest going.

So to review:
Well written how-to book that explains the ins and outs of Snow Leopard, covering all the things that a new user should learn to make their Mac experience a more enjoyable one. Even if you are a seasoned Mac user, it never hurts to have some good information at your fingertips… just in case.

My Mac rating: 4 out of 5.

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