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Author Note

Author Note

You don’t have to read this. It won’t teach you anything about Mac OS X. But it will tell you a thing or two about the person who wrote this book.

Still reading? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This book, which is the eighth edition of my Mac OS X Visual QuickStart Guide, is also a milestone in my career as a writer: it is my 50th title.

Not long after I began writing computer how-to books in 1991, it became clear to me that if I wanted to earn a living as a writer, I either had to write a lot of books or write a bestseller. Since bestsellers eluded me for many years (until the first edition of this book in 1997, in fact), I learned to write quickly and accurately, to produce the books my publishers (and readers) wanted on a timely basis.

To me, writing a book is like planting a seed and caring for it until it grows into a young plant. Some die before they can flower—my first PageMill book was out of date four months after it was written. Others never grow beyond a sickly sprout—I’m still trying to forget my two AOL books. But fortunately, the majority of my books either live good, long lives (if you can think of 18 to 24 months as “long”) or spread like thick, healthy vines during a shorter life. These are the books that keep me working, planting new seeds.

Although it can be frustrating and tedious at times, writing and revising computer how-to books like this one is a rewarding occupation. The geek deep inside me loves playing with the latest and greatest computer hardware and software. I still get a little thrill out of seeing one of my titles on display at a bookstore. And my pulse races when someone asks for my autograph at a computer show or other appearance. But what really makes it all worthwhile is the positive feedback I get from readers who claim that my books have helped them.

I’m glad this book was my fiftieth. It was a lot of fun to write. Apple added a lot of great new features to Mac OS X in version 10.2 and it was a pleasure to explore them and think about how I could explain them to readers.

I hope you get a lot out of this book—and my others, if you have them.

The next time you’re surfing the Web, stop by for a visit. My address is (appropriately), www.marialanger.com. That’s where you’ll learn that there’s more to me than what you see on these pages.

Maria Langer
Wickenburg, AZ
September 2002

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