Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book Review: Cool Mac Apps

51ywp55en4l_sl500_aa240_Robin Williams (the writer and graphic designer, not the actor) has rightly earned her crown as Queen of the Mac. Her writings on Macintosh software is simply outstanding. While "Cool Mac Apps" isn't her best work, it's still a great book and compliments other books on how to use Leopard. In fact, this book should be seen as a companion to her other books on Leopard, most notably her "Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Peachpit Learning Series." "Cool Mac Apps" expects a basic understanding of how to use the Mac and the Leopard operating system.

The book assumes you have iLife '08 and Leopard installed, and while focusing on iLife, it still covers such Leopard applications as iCal, Mail, Address Book, Safari, iChat and Time Machine. I would have suggested calling this an iLife book, but with the addition of some of the more practical applications that don't fit into the iLife series, that wouldn't make much sense either.

Overall the book is a competent overview of iLife and other Leopard applications. The book was lacking in some of Robin Williams' trademark design. In fact, this book read like most other books on computers. The writing was a bit dense and lacking in full color photos and white space that increases readability. Dare I saw the book was a bit boring? The writing in individual chapters consisted mostly of features, menu commands and preferences and was lacking in practical applications or exercises.

After reading this book, don't expect to become an expert in any of these subjects, but if you feel you want to "dabble" a bit more and don't want to buy a whole book on iPhoto or iDVD, this may be a good book for you. This might be a good "in-between" book to help a reader determine if they want to explore iLife further. I would recommend this book to a Mac beginner who understands the basics of their new Mac, but wonders what all those programs that came with the computer can do.

Pros: Broad coverage of programs that come with new Macs
Cons: Lacks readability and practical application

2 out of 5 dogcows
Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right