Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review:Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: Peachpit Learning Series

Robin Williams has done it again! Another outstanding book for a new user of Snow Leopard and the Mac.
Robin's style is to expertly use page layout and screenshots to explain the features of an operating system in small bites everyone can digest. I enjoy the fact she doesn't talk down to her readers. She expects a basic understanding of how to use a mouse and keyboard. This book is designed for a Mac or even a PC user making the transition to Snow Leopard, either via upgrade or by the fact it came with the Mac. She walks the reader through all the features of Snow Leopard. Williams apologizes for not covering the iLife or iWork suites, but clearly points out this is a book on Snow Leopard. I'm sure she realizes that if the book were too big, readers would be intimidated. While it's over 450 pages, she uses a great table of contents and index to allow the reader to hone in on the info they are interested in. Want to know how to do screen problem? Just like Snow Leopard, I noticed a few "tweaks" in this book that made it even better than her Leopard edition. The screen shots seem to be better annotated as compared to last time and the book seems even easier to read.

The table of contents is organized into three main sections: "Mac OS X Basics for new Mac users", "Mac OS X Applications in Snow Leopard", "Make it your Mac" and "Tech Stuff". This allows the reader to focus on just what matters to them. She clearly spent lots of time making sure her book was extremely user friendly, just like the operating systems she covers. Not only does she cover practically all the features of Snow Leopard, but Williams includes great troubleshooting advice for when things go wrong. The advice she gives is as good or better than what you'll get on the phone calling tech support or stopping by the "bar." If her troubleshooting section doesn't cover it, you'll need a technician to come out!

My one complaint is that the author should have marked those features new or different in Snow Leopard. Doing so would allow an upgrader to focus on just those new items in Snow Leopard. This book is not intended for intermediate or advanced users. You won't find out which port to open for screen sharing or its inner workings--just how to initiate it. I compare her books to more "manual-like" books that cover every feature in depth. This book is designed to hold the readers hand through the process of learning.

Pros: Outstanding layout and organization. Excellent descriptions for novice Mac users. Enthusiastically recommend it to all new Snow Leopard Mac Users. Use this book as a starting point in your learning!
Cons: Not for intermediate users, no clear distinction of new Snow Leopard features

Five of Five dogcows.