30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing Manual - Snow Leopard
I have been a fan of the Missing Manual series for OS X since I changed from PC to Mac back in 2004. Having just moved to an iMac with Snow Leopard I have stuck with the series and have not been disappointed. Whilst all the information in the book is probably out there somewhere it is a great plus to have all this stuff sitting on a shelf close to hand. The shortcuts and...
Published on 27 April 2010 by Garraway
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Avoid if you are new to computers. This is a lousy help-mate.
According to the publisher's blurb on this hefty tome, the author is one of the best of the writers of these IT software manuals. If true it confirms worst suspicions about the techie geekdom community associated with the enthralling galaxy-trek that is personal computing. Just the sort of pals you need at your side when you're toting phasers on the effing...
Published 19 months ago by Richard
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing Manual - Snow Leopard,
I have been a fan of the Missing Manual series for OS X since I changed from PC to Mac back in 2004. Having just moved to an iMac with Snow Leopard I have stuck with the series and have not been disappointed. Whilst all the information in the book is probably out there somewhere it is a great plus to have all this stuff sitting on a shelf close to hand. The shortcuts and 'hidden' properties that are in the book make it a real aid to faster and more efficient working. On past experience with my previous Mac I also found that when I had to do some emergency re-installation etc the relevant section in the Missing Manual was a great help, so regard having the current volume as good insurance.
Given my experience with the OS X series I have also invested in the companion volume on iWork.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just one paragraph saved me two years of wasted time,
if there is one thing that is pretty useless about macs it is the 'help' offered on the computer.
If you can find the issue you are searching for, the instructions have to be printed up,
unless of course you have a photographic memory, because the list of instructions vanish
as soon as you try to start following them. Googling your problem is far more helpful, and
it does show how many people, other than you, go through hell trying to resolve problems
that can generally be fixed simply with the right instructions.
running leopard and now snow leopard, I bought a new HP B110 printer, this time I had the
"Missing Manual" and in only two paragraphs of instructions learned the secret of adding a printer
to my Mac. Instead of installing the HP software using the CD provided,(for two years I used
this with my last HP Photosmart.) The "Missing Manual" told me to just plug in the USB to your
Mac, if the driver isn't already pre-installed, it will search the net, download it automatically,
and as the book says. "Voila" you have installed a new printer.
No booting up with alien HP scanner software, Image Capture replaces 'HP Scan Pro'.
Printing requires no more effort than clicking on 'print'. No more Applications > Hewlett Packard >
Printer. Any further 'problems' that inevitably challenge a non Psychic user like me, are resolved
by a fantastically specific index. Full and easy to follow instructions that don't vanish when you need
Even if you only use one page of the Missing Manual to solve one specific challenge, you will have
got your ten pounds back in the time saved and the improvement to your digital experience.
If you were systematically to use the book as a learning tool, you would become so clued up,
that people might find your dinner conversation a little geeky. For the inexperienced and those
who become set in the ways they use their Macs, this book is a must have, the information is
100% accurate, addresses the 'errors' built into the 'snow leopard' format and it will not only
make you more confident to attempt something new, it will massively enrich the enjoyment
you get from using your Mac computer.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missing Manual has *missing* info,
D Pogue writes a truly excellent guide to the Mac.
BUT - a very large *but* - he does not begin where the beginner's actual needs are! Anyone coming from Windows to Mac - with the correct Missing Manual - will find he assumes you know so much more about Apple Mac than you possibly could. I spent ages fruitlessly looking for 'font book' for instance - so simple to any mac-user - but not to a newbie!
2] the other missing bit - which really is crucial - is a far better Index
There is plenty of helpful info here - you cannot grasp it when you are a new user - and unless you can cope with the total overload of trying to read the entire manual in search of what you need, you cannot find this info quickly and easily.
Looking at other reviews, it is clear that the 1-star ones are from people who have had this problem. so let's hope the publisher will employ a really thorough Indexer; and encourage David Pogue to do a first chapter which is a real 'beginner's guide'.
However - when you have explored your Mac, used it for a while and got used to some of the new ways of doing things, THEN come back to the Manual, and bless the day you bought it. Everything you want to know how to do *better* is there, waiting for you to have the questions ready to ask.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mac OS X Snow Leopard Manual,
Having for many years used PC"s running various versions of Microsoft Windows, I occasionally found my new iMac Snow Leopard something of a puzzle, hence the need for an authoritative Manual. There is no doubt that "The Missing Manual" by David Pogue is every bit of this. All necessary information is provided in detail, which can, at times be frustrating, due to the shear volume of data, which results in a book 5 Cms (2 inches) thick and could be said to involve too much nitty gritty. Should it have been provided with one quick fix chapter to solve some day to day problems. I would have given it the fifth star. However, enough of the criticism, It does provide an accurate and effective answer to Snow leopard problems and I have used it frequently.
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful for the basics,
The last time I used Macs was back in the 90's. Having decided on a MacBook, I thought it would be useful getting a manual on the latest OS. I have looked at a lot of the available manuals and I like the style and lay out of his other manuals so decided to get it. Plus the other manuals appear even more superficiial.
It is clear that David has updated this with the latest Snow Leopard information and the book is littered with specific enhancements on virtually every page.
I find the style very readable and the information provided, very helpful. But it is not as detailed as I have come to expect from the Que 'Special Edition Using' series for Windows applications.
It is also not as full of the practical help of the 'Real World' series, for example, the area of using this OS on a MacBook with no mouse would benefit from some enhancements in future editions.
There are a places where I would like more detail, for example, the track pad section just covers the information that is covered by the videos that are built into the software without the practical advice of the benefits of certain options. To move applications in the dock meant a considerable amount of experimentation and I didn't find my eventual solution documented in this manual (hence the 4 stars). Prior to the publication of this manual, I had also found other keyboard shortcuts which are not documented for page up or page down, home or end, go to the beginning or end of line, next word etc.
I think it is the best of those manuals available and certainly worth buying to discover the potential of all the inbuilt applications. It is something I will read but then unlikely to keep referring back to in the future.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Avoid if you are new to computers. This is a lousy help-mate.,
According to the publisher's blurb on this hefty tome, the author is one of the best of the writers of these IT software manuals. If true it confirms worst suspicions about the techie geekdom community associated with the enthralling galaxy-trek that is personal computing. Just the sort of pals you need at your side when you're toting phasers on the effing cutting-edge.
David Pogue is such a chum. A journalist who formulaically churns out these manuals in a series called 'The Missing Manuals' which purport to be pragmatic, sensible and painless guides to the uninitiated. Pragmatic, my arse. I bought it because I'm not even vaguely interested in the subject and was seeking an alternative to the expensive, dry technical manuals issued by PC/software manufacturers. At age 56 I bought my first Mac and wanted an idiot's guide which would get me up and running pronto and to which I could turn later to for finessing my use of the machine. This isn't it --though, being a fat tome full of info, it certainly looked the part: like an encyclopaedia to Snow Leopard. In a way it is. If you are not a novice and better still, are genuinely interested in PCs, then there is a lot of factual info here to get into. However, if you actually have a life the info overload is annoying because it gets in the way of arriving at whatever specific point you are trying to address.
Time and again I found this book to be a lousy help-mate. It makes you work and waste time trying to arrive at the right questions to ask and then invariably ends up only half-answering your query. For example, you want to add back-up memory to your Mac (a basic task). How to look this up? Adding memory or backing up memory isn't mentioned in the five pages of table of contents. In the index under 'Backing up' (forget about 'adding memory' 'additional memory' or 'memory' as possible access terms) you find an entry for Time Machine. If you haven't previously owned a Mac, you will not know that this is the program Macs use to install and run backup drives. So it won't grab your attention in either the index or the contents preface. Eventually, after casting about and doing additional detective work you find out that Time Machine is what you want to read up on and you find it indexed and that there's a chapter section dedicated to it. The 13 pages of guff look comprehensive.
Unfortunately there is nothing in there about basic stuff like what to actually buy and connecting it up. More extra-mural research required by the novice. You get the kit, connect it and open Time Machine. According to the Manual this should be a simple, one-step procedure to get the backup installed and running. Great. Nothing prepares you for responding to the various prompts the set-up panels present you with. Where's the big, one-switch only involvement promised? The general description in the text leaves you second-guessing (and feeling like you don't really know what you're doing) but you kind of guess your way to the point where you can set the thing going. These days I suppose kids can intuit this stuff. Anyway, you find your way to the switch on your own. This process has not been what the manual has led you to anticipate however, so you wonder if you've really got it right. Not helpful that, for dinosaurs.
And the chapter's comprehensiveness is further revealed to be a sham. At one point it tells you to get an additional memory storage capacity comfortably bigger than that of your Mac. But actually if you do this though, you need to split the capacity in two otherwise Time Machine will eventually fill it all with redundant copies. That Time Machine functions in this way is mentioned but no guidance is given as to the actual on-screen steps you need to take to set your Mac to do this dividing-up act. In fact, this business needs to be done when you are initially installing the add-on device in Time Machine. No mention of that at all in Pogue's set-up instructions. Yet, this is basic stuff. His guidance is chatty crap filled-up with information about alternative ways to employ Time Machine which no novice (and most users) will need. OK, a decent manual should cover all those bases but only after being comprehensively clear about the most common, basic one.
Clearly Pogue couldn't be bothered looking at the actual detail from the starter's perspective. Novices are the ones most in need of clear, detailed action steps. They are the people least equipped to second-guess prompt-responses and what to do generally in solving any technical problem like adding backup memory. That's why they bought the manual in the first place: to help them avoid sweating the learning curve.
The structure of this manual is so poorly and lazily conceived that it forces the reader to plough through acres of text and screen illustrations to find the basic stuff you need to know as complete novice. You know --answers to "How do I do x?". The boring stuff one anticipates as being the point of ANY decent user's guide. Forget about handy clear, succinct and yet complete flow diagrams giving you steps to action. Instead, Pogue spreads the steps across a mixture of main text, italicised user-tips inserts and captioned screen illustrations. You have to jump around these and tease out the mental diagram of keyboard/mouse steps you are seeking to get things done. Annoying. Particularly when he also tells you how easy it all is on a Mac. Yes, well when you already know the answers it is Mr. Pogue. I may be an idiot in need of an idiot's guide but I don't appreciate being made to feel that by a manual that forces me to second-guess so often.
Immediately the ignorant reader is confronted with a chapter structure which is sequenced in a sort of narrative almost like a conventional history. Surprising, given the modular design of software subject-matter. But if you really want to grasp a total picture you almost have to read the thing like a novel: building an accumulative knowledge rather than a handy modular one into which you can dip in and out as you need to. Once you know your way around perhaps you can more easily dip in and out. Unfortunately the indexing is so poor and basic that the novice will find it hard to use the manual as a conventional modular tool because it requires knowledge of the apposite terms. Skipping early chapters could lead to problems later. But you are going to want to skip those chapters, I promise you, because they go on and on about stuff that means bugger-all to you initially and doesn't help you get to the basic practical "how to" problem/answer you thought you bought the book for in the first place. It's a dull, frustrating read the size of War and Peace. And did I mention annoying?
Like the proud geek he obviously is, Pogue seeks to enthral you with nifty detail and the awesomeness of his knowledge of the history of Macs. Time and again he compares Snow Leopard features with antecedents (as if it's interesting) and blathers on in that annoying chirpy American Powerpoint presenter's tone about stuff you do not need to know in order to make your damn computer perform. I DON'T CARE Pogue: this stuff is off-the-point, unhelpful and not fascinating. I didn't buy the manual because I wanted a history of computing lesson presented by some PR person for AppleMacs. Give the trees a chance and get to the bloody point. This thing should be a functional tool --not a subset of literature. Tell me what I need to know and cut the rest. Your obese opus would be a quarter of it's size if it's author was capable of conceiving a targeted, concise, properly pertinent user-guide. As writing, this is typical geek-standard communication. Editorially lazy and formulaic. Thoughtfully designed, functional communication is here substituted by a text conceived as a bunch of files strung together.
This (any) manual would be far more impressive if it restricted itself to perceptively anticipating the user's need --no matter what their level. But that would require intelligent communication. Instead the lazy journalist Pogue seems to think he's writing the equivalent of a travel guide. Little things like an effective index are clearly beyond him. Evidently he can't be bothered imagining alternative ways of posing questions and therefor can't anticipate the novice's possible access points to the index. So the reader has to guess how to ask what to ask. Time and again.
The classic complacency of the geek online journo is all over this book. Save yourself the money and the shelf-space and hunt for an alternative, genuinely useful guide. That is, if you can find one in a publishing market apparently chocker with this kind of junk. But if you are an uninterested novice like me, you will need one. Good luck with that.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mac Snow Leopard - Missing Manual,
This is an excellent book - the author has taken the time to explain how to get the best from Snow Leopard in a simple, easy to follow style without treating you like an idiot. It takes you from learning the very basics right through to more advanced concepts - there isn't a better book on the market. Well worth the money and earns five stars!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed reference guide,
Acquired an Imac and needed a detailed reference book on the functionality of Snow Leopard.This book has proved excellent to date in that regard.When I have needed to refer to it the relevant information has been available to follow and understand.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The inside track!,
Usual very high standard. All sorts of information one would not normally expect, except from someone with an inside track on what makes Snow Leopard tick. Introduces you to 'hidden' features of the software.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mac OS X Snow Leopard: The missing Manual,
As with all "Missing Manuals", First class! I recommend that it is purchased when, or before, you move on to Snow Leopard, then browsed a section at a time as need or interest dictates. This, and other Missing Manuals, are always within easy reach of my computer.
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