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Introduction > About this Book

About this Book

Unfortunately, by way of a printed guide to Mac OS X, Apple provides only a flimsy "getting started" booklet. To find your way around, you're expected to use Apple's online help system. And as you'll quickly discover, these help pages are tersely written, offer very little technical depth, lack useful examples, provide no tutorials whatsoever, and often aren't accessible at all unless you're online. You can't even mark your place, underline, or read it in the bathroom. And there's not a word about the powerful Unix underpinnings of Mac OS X.

The purpose of this book, then, is to serve as the manual that should have accompanied Mac OS X—version 10.2 in particular. You won't find a single page that hasn't changed since the first edition. Not only are the new Jaguar features covered in depth, but you'll also find a great deal of refinement in the discussions of original Mac OS X features: more tips and tricks, clever uses for old ideas, and greater context borne of the passage of time.

This second edition also takes a more inclusive approach. Whereas the original edition was written exclusively for the benefit of former Mac OS 9 fans, this book points out the changes you'll find as you move to Mac OS X from both older Macs and Microsoft Windows.

Mac OS X: The Missing Manual is designed to accommodate readers at every technical level. The primary discussions are written for advanced-beginner or intermediate Mac users. But if you're a first-time Mac user, miniature sidebar articles called Up To Speed provide the introductory information you need to understand the topic at hand. If you're an advanced Mac user, on the other hand, keep your eye out for similar shaded boxes called Power Users' Clinic. They offer more technical tips, tricks, and shortcuts for the more experienced Mac fan.

About the Outline

Mac OS X: The Missing Manual is divided into six parts, each containing several chapters:

  • Part I, The Mac OS X Desktop, covers everything you see on the screen when you turn on a Mac OS X computer: the Dock, icons, windows, menus, scroll bars, the Trash, aliases, the menu, and so on.

  • Part II, Applications in Mac OS X, is dedicated to the proposition that an operating system is little more than a launch pad for programs—the actual applications you use in your everyday work, such as email programs, Web browsers, word processors, graphics suites, and so on. These chapters describe how to work with applications in Mac OS X: how to launch them, switch among them, swap data between them, use them to create and open files, and control them using the AppleScript automation software. This is also where you can find out about using your old, pre-Mac OS X programs (by running the Classic program).

  • Part III, The Components of Mac OS X, is an item-by-item discussion of the individual software nuggets that make up this operating system. These chapters include a guided tour of the System and Applications folders on your hard drive.

  • Part IV, The Technologies of Mac OS X, treads in more advanced topics. Networking, dialing into your Mac from the road, and setting up private accounts for people who share a single Mac are, of course, tasks Mac OS X was born to do—and these chapters show you how to do it. Other chapters cover the prodigious visual talents of Mac OS X (fonts, printing, graphics, handwriting recognition), its multimedia gifts (sound, speech, movies), and the Unix beneath.

  • Part V, Mac OS X Online, covers all the special Internet-related features of Mac OS X, including the built-in Mail email program, the Sherlock Web-searching program, iChat for instant-messaging, Web sharing, Internet sharing, the firewall, and Apple's online .Mac services (which include email accounts, secure file-backup features, Web hosting, and so on). If you're feeling particularly advanced, you'll also find instructions on exploiting Mac OS X's Unix underpinnings for connecting to your Mac from across the wires—FTP, SSH, VPN, and so on.

At the end of the book, you'll find several appendixes. They include two "Where'd it go?" listings, one for traditional Mac features and another for Windows features (to help you find their new locations in Mac OS X); guidance in installing this operating system; a troubleshooting handbook; and a list of resources for further study.


Throughout this book, and throughout the Missing Manual series, you'll find sentences like this one: "Open the System folder→Libraries→Fonts folder." That's shorthand for a much longer instruction that directs you to open three nested folders in sequence, like this: "On your hard drive, you'll find a folder called System. Open that. Inside the System folder window is a folder called Libraries; double-click it to open it. Inside that folder is yet another one called Fonts. Double-click to open it, too."

Similarly, this kind of shorthand helps to simplify the business of choosing commands in menus, such as a →Dock →Position on Left, as shown in Figure P-1.

Figure P-1. In this book, arrow notations help to simplify folder and menu instructions. For example, "Choose →Dock→ Position on Left" is a more compact way of saying, "From the menu, choose Dock ; from the submenu that then appears, choose Position on Left," as shown here.

About MissingManuals.com

If you have an Internet account, visit the www.missingmanuals.com Web site. Click the "Missing CD-ROM" link to reveal a neat, organized, chapter-by-chapter list of the shareware and freeware mentioned in this book. (As noted on the inside back cover, having the software online instead of on a CD-ROM saved you $5 on the cost of the book.)

But the Web site also offers corrections and updates to the book (to see them, click the book's title, then click Errata). In fact, you're invited and encouraged to submit such corrections and updates yourself. In an effort to keep the book as up-to-date and accurate as possible, each time we print more copies of this book, we'll make any confirmed corrections you've suggested. We'll also note such changes on the Web site, so that you can mark important corrections into your own copy of the book, if you like. And we'll keep the book current as Apple releases more Mac OS X 10.2 updates.

In the meantime, we'd love to hear your own suggestions for new books in the Missing Manual line. There's a place for that on the Web site, too, as well as a place to sign up for free email notification of new titles in the series.

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