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WARNING: AS MANY AS 7% OF THE PEOPLE WHO... > What exactly is a Killer Tips book?

What exactly is a Killer Tips book?

There are two types of people in this world: (1) the type of people who want to understand everything before they do anything. These are the people who buy a new computer, read the entire instruction manual, inventory all the packing items, and only when they feel certain that they have a full and complete understanding of the entire project before them, do they actually remove the Styrofoam cover and pull their new Mac out of the shipping carton. There are no more than 17 of these people using Macs in the world today. This book is not for them.

This book is for (2) the rest of us. People who buy a Mac, tear open the box, set it all up, turn it on, and start messin' around with it. These same people eventually buy computer books, and while casually flipping through them, they stop to read all the sidebar tips first. These are people like you and me. (Well, at least like me, anyway.) I'm an absolute sucker for sidebar tips. I'm hooked on 'em, and whenever I buy a new computer book, the first thing I do is read all those cool little tips scattered throughout the sidebars. Sometimes they're in boxes with a tinted background (like the one shown on the left), sometimes they're on the side of the page, sometimes at the bottom—it doesn't matter. If it says the word “tip,” I'm drawn to it like an attorney to a slip-and-fall injury in a Vegas casino.

I finally figured out why I like sidebar tips so much—it's where the “really cool stuff” is. Think about it, if you were writing a computer book and you found some really ingenious technique, some really great undocumented keyboard shortcut, or a closely-guarded inside secret you wanted to share with your readers—you'd want it to stand out and yell, “Hey, there's a very cool thing right over here!” You're not going to bury it inside paragraphs of techno-text. This is exciting stuff. It's intriguing. It's fun. So, you pull it out from the regular text, slap a border around it, add a tint behind it, and maybe even add a special graphic to get the reader's attention. It works. The only problem with sidebar tips is that there's just not enough of 'em.

So I got to thinkin', “Wouldn't it be cool if there was a book where the whole book, cover-to-cover, was nothing but those little sidebar tips?” No long paragraphs explaining the Hierarchical File System. No detailed descriptions of how to configure a LAN, or 16 ways to partition your hard drive—just the fun stuff—just the tips. Well, that's exactly what this is—a book of nothin' but Mac OS X sidebar tips. Without the sidebars.

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