Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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 sharing...no 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.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Although I wrote this a month ago for TheAppleBlog, this is still a great reference guide for people traveling to SF with their iPHone
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Social media is one of the hottest topics in marketing today. Everyone puts "social media expert "on their resumes just like people put "Web Designer" on their cards a generation ago simply because they knew how to use Pagemill.
Dan Zarrella, however, is a true expert and does a great job of sharing his knowledge of social media marketing. Unlike other O'Reilly books, this is not a technical book at at, but rather targets a business market. No computer knowledge is necessary. The reader is given a complete overview of the landscape that is social media. Obvious examples like Facebook and Twitter are in here, but he also covers other web properties as well as blogging and how all integrate into a complete Social Media Marketing Campaign.
Each chapter covers a small social media topic in order to make it easily digestible to a "newbie." The book is well organized and includes a great table of contents and index along with a review at the end so you have a "takeaway" of where to go from there. If you already use Facebook and Twitter and have created a blog, this book isn't targeted to you. The book is designed for the traditional marketing manager who has been dragging their feet on creating a fan page on Facebook. Also the CEO of the company or the Executive Director of a non-profit might want to read this if they refuse to create a marketing manager position. The book is a very quick read--so no excuses for the boss to say they don't have time to read this. No fancy tips or tricks...this is the 101 survey course.
I do consider myself knowledgeable about Social Media so much of the book was an easy overview for me. Along the way I did gain a tip or two. If I had this book when I first started my Social Media Marketing Campaign I would have saved months of research and avoided many mistakes. If you've been reliably tweeting and updating your Facebook fan page, then you probably already understand the concepts in this book.
Pros: Assumes no background in social media and walks the reader through the entire landscape
Cons: Intermediate users of social media won't find much value in this, this is a novice book through and through
Four out of Five Dogcows
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
One of my more controversial pieces was on Antivirus software for the Mac. Ironically, it wasn't my analysis that seemed to bother readers, it was the fact I used the term Antivirus generically. I too agree that "malware" is a better word, but since the software industry refers to their products as Antivirus, it seems the best way of introducing the subject