Book Reviews: Take Control of Upgrading to Lion and of Using Lion

Book Reviews: Take Control of Upgrading to Lion and of Using Lion
Sunday, 24 July 2011

Whenever there’s a new Apple Operating System to be had I turn to the Take Control series of books for essential advice. The books by Joe Kissell and Matt Neuburg are essential companions for anyone getting underway with OS X Lion (10.7).

OS X Lion - downloading.

OS X Lion – downloading.

I’ll start with a word of advice: read or at least look at Take Control of Upgrading to Lion before you start downloading and installing the software. I didn’t and will have to download the 3.7 Gigabytes of installer all over again to upgrade the other Mac in our house.

Take Control of Upgrading to Lion

Take Control of Upgrading to Lion

  • By Joe Kissell
  • US$15
  • 150 pages
  • Version 1.1
  • Updated Jul 20, 2011
  • 2.0 MB download
  • ISBN: 9781615421381
  • Free sample with Table of Contents, Intro, Quick Start, and section starts.

Lion brings some very big changes — not all Macs can run it and some software won’t run on it. What’s more, at the moment, the only way to obtain the installer is to buy the software from the App Store and download an approximately 3.7 Gb installer. Then the installer deletes itself after upgrading your machine.

It really only makes sense to read Joe Kissell’s book before you start.

In the Quick Start section of his book he gives pointers to later chapters that explain what you’re getting into if you upgrade to Lion, how to check whether you should even upgrade, how to organize backups and how to choose the best way to do the upgrade.

The rest of the book then dives into the details, stepping you through logical sequences of choices and actions.

Lion is ready to install.

Lion is ready to install.

Several helpful sections also suggest alternatives to software you may rely on that won’t run under Lion, and detail software that ‘disappears’ with Lion, such as Front Row.

This is a comprehensive book, so some parts just won’t be relevant to you. For example, I have a Mac, so the section on migrating from Windows isn’t relevant to me. But for those migrating from Windows that part will be extremely important.

Kissell has covered all options and all angles, and written clear instructions for all situations. He provides useful links to handy software and covers what to do if things go wrong.

You won’t need to read all 150 pages, but the pages you should read will make everything easier for you.

And once you’ve installed Lion you’ll absolutely want Take Control of Using Lion.

Take Control of Using Lion

Take Control of Using Lion

  • By Matt Neuburg
  • US$15
  • 167 pages
  • Version 1.1
  • Updated Jul 20, 2011
  • 2.6 MB download
  • ISBN: 9781615423910
  • Free sample with Table of Contents, Intro, Quick Start, and section starts.

First up I’ll say that you should quickly skim this book, and then keep it handy as a reference while you learn to use Lion.

There’s so much in here that there’s no way you can absorb the whole lot in one reading. Lion has changed so many things in the way we use our Macs, including reversing the direction of scrolling, hiding scrollbars, saving us from saving files, altering how windows behave — the differences are myriad.

But, as with the other Take Control books, Neuburg steps us through things calmly, clearly and with a pleasant sense of humour, such as the section headed “Trash All My Files” that adds lightness to a book filled with useful instruction.

EVen the Lion dictionary options have changed.

Even the Lion dictionary options have changed.

What you’ll want to do is skim read until something specially intriguing catches your eye. Then stop, read that part carefully and try it out on your own machine.

I discovered all sorts of wonderful things as I read, but I know I’ve forgotten most of them already.

Remember that in Apple Preview you can bookmark individual pages of any PDF to quickly return to them. You can also Annotate PDFs with Apple’s Preview to highlight sections.

As a writer I’m always specially drawn to techniques for working with text. Neuburg has a whole section on text, including, wonderfully how to type macrons for words such as Māori (around page 146).

Lion Zoom in window.

Lion Zoom in window.

And then there’s the gem that helps me select the correct option from the multiples revealed by enlarging what I could see: Zoom in window, as explained on page 34. My screenshot above shows a zoomed in portion of this window’s text.

This is a book I’ll be referring to repeatedly now that I’ve completed a first quick read-through.

If you use Lion, just buy this book. There’s no way you’ll regret it.

Like other Take Control books these two work beautifully on an iPad. Keep it with you as a ready-reference.

Buy the books

Products you buy through this site help me fund MacTips. I only do affiliate sales for products I believe in, and usually, have used myself. Please use the affiliate links below to buy these and other Take Control books.

Take Control of Using Lion.   Take Control of Upgrading to Lion.

Take a look at the whole Take Control ebooks catalogue (affiliate link). I do some of my best learning from this series.

If you’ve read these books please tell us in the comments what you thought of it.

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