Book Review: My New Mac, Lion Edition
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Would you like to win a copy of this book? Read on for instructions.
500 pages? Dip in
I have to confess, I had this book for a few weeks before I read it. What made me slow was its size. At 500 pages it appears to be a weighty tome.
Don’t let the size fool you — this isn’t a book to sit and read straight through (as I did so I could write the review). Instead it’s a book to dip into. Information is delivered in satisfying, digestible portions that deal with specific tasks.
New to computers and need to learn about clicking and getting a program running? Dip into Part 1: Basic Training.
Not sure where to find software you need or how to install it? Part 3: Making Life Easier has the answers.
Need a hand with music, photos, movies? Part 4: Playing Music and Movies or Part 5: The Digital Shutterbug will tell you how to handle all those things.
The book begins with a clear and easy to use Table of Contents and ends with a comprehensive index. This is a book to consult when you need help with specific topics.
A skills-based, practical approach
My New Mac takes a ‘skills’ approach. For example, other books may explain ‘how to bookmark a website in Safari’. This book explains the same topic but calls it ‘Remembering Your Favorite Websites’.
It’s a subtle but important distinction. One problem newbies have is knowing the correct terminology. Words such as ‘bookmarking’ need a level of knowledge a newbie doesn’t yet have.
Additional Ideas bring nice tips
Each chapter ends with an Additional Ideas section. There are some very nice tips here, even for more experienced users.
For example, under Additional Ideas for Saving Web Pages is the often forgotten idea of saving text to iTunes as a Spoken Track so you can listen later, perhaps while washing dishes or walking the dog.
I bookmarked that, and also tips about clearing Safari’s search history and turning off FaceTime.
The fact that my nitpicks are extremely picky is a testament to the quality and usefulness of this book for its intended audience.
From long experience of working with new users I’d suggest a couple of additions to the text. We more experienced users are so adept at using computers we truly forget just how new some concepts are to those who have never used them.
In a couple of places I felt an extra sentence or so would have been useful for the complete newbies.
For example, Page 12 explains how to point and click the mouse. I’ve found it helpful for beginners who need this information to know that the very tip of the pointer is the active spot that makes things happen.
On Page 14 Wang explains how to drag a folder to a new position. What’s missing here is the caution that if you drag it on top of another folder and let go it’ll disappear because it goes inside the target folder.
New users are likely to have extremely clumsy control of their mouse or trackpad and dropping the dragged item is highly likely. I have less capable clients who still after years of using their Mac drop dragged items accidentally.
My overall impression of the book was that it’s clear, comprehensive, practical and useful. I have several friends and clients who would definitely benefit from My New Mac, Lion Edition.
The book has numerous helpful and well-captioned screenshots. It also has some useful tables, such as Common Keyboard Shortcuts, helpfully appearing in the Index.
The text is clear and straightforward, with plenty of numbered steps for how to achieve an outcome.
Each chapter explains how to achieve a particular goal or set of goals, explaining what tools you need — eg
The System Preferences program, or
The Address Book program.
I like this book and would recommend it to others.
Who the book would be good for
This book is aimed at newbies — people new to the Mac, new to computers, new to Lion, or any combination.
It starts at the beginning with how to click, double-click, right click, use the Trackpad. Then it progresses through all the topics a newcomer may need such as making folders, saving files, finding files, setting up and using an email account, using iPhoto, iTunes, the Address Book and other software that comes with any Mac.
At the end Wang talks about security, firewalls, filevault and other more advanced topics.
In 56 chapters and more than 500 pages Wallace Wang provides a friendly and thorough coverage for anyone new to Macs or Lion.
This book would be a fine present for anyone getting their first Mac with Lion.
My New Mac, Lion Edition is available as a paperback for US$29.95 (print book and free ebook), or as an ebook (PDF, Mobi, and ePub) alone for US$23.95. ISBN: 978-1-59327-390-3.
The RepKover binding lets the book lie flat when it’s open.
It’s pleasing to see that these hard copy books are coming from sustainable forests.
Win a copy of this book
Now that I’ve read my review copy I want to give away the printed copy. Would you like it?
To be in for a chance at winning this book you must:
- Leave a comment on this Review.
- Tell me one thing you think that would improve the MacTips website and the Tips I share. Any sensible and serious suggestions are welcome.
- Or suggest a topic you’d like me to write about on MacTips.
- Use a valid email address. The address won’t be published and will be used only for contacting you in relation to this review and your comment. It won’t be supplied to anyone else or used for any other purpose.
If you have more than one suggestion leave separate comments — each published comment counts as one entry.
I reserve the right to not publish comments if they seem spammy to me or otherwise disruptive.
Entries close at 07.00 am (New Zealand time) on Wednesday 23 November 2011.
I’ll pick one email address at random from all entries.
Postage at the cheapest rate is free. If you win and you’re overseas you can pay for postage for speedier delivery. Books can take up to 3 months to travel from New Zealand to Europe or the USA at the cheapest postage rate.