coverWhen I first got my Macbook Pro (also my first time using a Mac), I switched it on and… then stared at the pretty interface. Didn’t quite know what to do next. I knew it was using the OS X operating system but otherwise, I was thinking in “PC Windows” mode.

Sure, a Mac is suppose to be intuitive, but if there’s a book that can help you save time, might as well read it. I found this book very useful in guiding me in using the OS X Macintosh operating system, and making the most out of the default applications.

NLB Call No.: 005.4469 CHA -[COM]
ISBN: 0-7645-7699-2
Look for it at the Computer & IT in the Adult Lending section.
Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.

This book is part of the “Visual Books” series, where as the series name implies, the main mode of instruction is through graphics and step-by-step walkthroughs. I found the Visual Book series the best one in the market so far, if you’re looking for very concise and direct instructional guidebooks. It cuts to the essentials of what you need to know to get going (e.g. using a Mac, in this case).

The book is organised into 10 main sections (each section covering 10 specific features, hence the “100 Tips & Tricks”):

  • #1 – Customising Your Desktop (On customising desktop backgrounds, alert sounds, visual and audio aids, menu colours, mouse and keyboard options…)
  • #2- Managing Files and Folders (On finding files, various ways of copying files, create desktop shortcuts, i.e. alias, customising icons for files and folders…)
  • #3 – Using Your Desktop More Efficiently (Add/ delete Dock icons, energy management, customising the keyboard, switching user accounts…)
  • #4 – Expanding Your Mac’s Horizon (using Stickies, trashing files securely, activating apps using Voice Commands, saving documents as PDF, protecting data with FileVault…)
  • #5 – Working With Multimedia and the Digital Hub (Burning music and DVDs with iTunes, converting audio formats with iTunes, using iTunes to crop and split files, adding/ removing Ken Burns Effect in iMovie, using iMovie & iPhoto…)
  • #6 – Troubleshooting Problems and Seeking Help (Force Quit a program, fixing hard drive problems, monitoring system performance, uninstalling apps the right way, on user accounts…)
  • #7 – Taking Advantage of the Internet (This is more on using Safari, the built-in browser — Using Tabs, saving images and movies, setting up a web server…)
  • #8 – Making the Most of Your Network Connection (sharing music with iTunes, using iChat, sharing files with iChat & Windows Computers…)
  • #9 – Using Tiger’s Advanced Features (Firewall, FTP, running multiple versions of OS X, on System Profiler…)
  • #10 – Putting Tiger’s Applications to Work (e.g. Taking screenshots with Grab, using iCal, Automator, watching DVD, converting currency with Calculator, using TextEdit…)

As a Mac-newbie, I found it useful to go through the sections in sequence. Once I was familiar with the overall workings of OS X (and I discovered there were lots of Applications that were waiting for me to explore), I went back to specific sections of the book to revisit certain topics (e.g. on security).

You could, of course, read blog posts* for “switchers” like this, this and this. They are pretty good, to be honest, but I found the book is more concise and detailed (it’s purposefully written). Even if you read blog posts like those, the book still comes across as a handy guide.

This is a good “starter kit”. And once you get to know the basics, you can then move on to more detailed books.

Here’s the link to the book at to read the book’s excerpt, content, index etc.

* Thanks to Siva for the links.

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