Sunday, April 29, 2012

Book Review: iPad for the Older and Wiser

Ipad for the older and wiser

If you are giving or supporting an iPad for someone who is a baby boomer or older, this is a great book!

This book is specifically designed for senior adults who may not always feel comfortable with technology and face certain physical challenges when eyesight and mobility begin to fail. Unlike “dummy” style books, this book respects their life experience and doesn’t talk down to them.

Each chapter focuses on tasks rather than functions. Instead of presenting Safari, the chapter is entitled “Browsing the Web”. For novices who didn’t grow up with these terms, focusing on what the iPad can do rather than what it is called is vitally important.

The chapters state requirements as far as technology and skills. This way you’ll know if you have exactly what you need to proceed. During the explanation tips and tricks are given about how to use the iPad, but not as many tips on efficiency or shortcuts. Newbies will love that because they may simply not know all the great things the iPad can do and don’t want to get bogged down with a “simpler” way of doing it. They are just trying to learn the basics. In particular I think the color coding of this information was great. Red backgrounds for warning and green for tips makes it an easy read and less intimidating with too much black on white text. The ending of the chapters have a summary and a quiz to reinforce the learning. Outstanding

The one major flaw of this book is the print size. It’s bigger than the average manual but honestly, if your target market is older people with potential eyesight issues, I think the text should be much larger. Also, this is written in the UK and some of the British spellings and terms might throw American readers a bit

Pros: Focuses on tasks rather than technology, easy to understand for novices without talking down to them
Cons: Text should be larger

9 out of 10

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: iCloud Visual Quickstart Guide

Visual Quickstart Guide

With the imminent demise of MobileMe, it’s time more of us move to iCloud and Lion, but with Apple thrusting this upon us, not all of us feel comfortable changing the way we’ve done things with MobileMe for years. Fortunately this book will alleviate your fears and make you a master.

The book, although multiplatform, focuses primarily on the Macintosh usage. Each aspect of iCloud is covered: mail, notes, iMessage, contacts, calendars, reminders, iPhto, iTunes, backups, documents, and search functions.
Each chapter gives an overview with objectives and then clearly organizes the information with tips, screenshots and easy to read diagrams.

The audience for this is beginner and intermediate users, although since the service is so new, we are all pretty much beginners and can learn from this book.

Missing is troubleshooting ideas when things go wrong, but this is a “quickstart” guide and not a comprehensive manual.

iCloud is fairly straightforward and not a huge leap from MobileMe, but it is different and this book explains to both new users to the product and migrating users everything they need to know to be successful

Pros: Covers the transition to iCloud and all the functions it entails
Cons: Can’t bring back the functions we miss in MobileMe!

Five out of Five Dogcows

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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Review: iPad at Work

Forget about playing Angry Birds and watching Netflix, this book is all about business and rightfully so. David Sparks is a legend in the Mac community and his books are always spectacular! If you use your iPad for a business or non-profit, this is a must have.

The organization of the book is extremely focused. Each chapter covers a different aspect of what a user might need to do with their iPad such as writing, contacts, or presentations. Instead of showing you the basics of the iOS apps included in the iPad, David takes a holistic approach suggesting not just a variety of alternative apps but discussing suggested workflows and how to optimize these workflows for your individual business. No stone is left unturned here: billing/invoicing, databases, project management and more business specific concepts.

The chapters start with the coverage of the primary iOS apps as well complimentary or alternative apps. Each app is given a QRcode making for easy downloading on your iPhone. What a thoughtful and smart idea, but that's MacSparky--the online identify of David Sparks. Great screen shots and succinct writing make this a quick and easy read and allows you to skip over the concepts you aren't interested in. Don't skip. Even if you know contact management or word processing, the tips and tricks to optimize usage are well work the short reads.

The appendix of the book includes industry specific suggestions for law, medicine construction and more.

A seriously awesome book by an industry luminary!

Pros: Organization and content focused on business
Cons: Absolutely none

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Book Review: Teach yourself visually iMac

I'm not quite sure what the target audience is for this book, but I know it fails to adequately speak to any audience. The hallmark of this book is extensive screen shots for each topic and no matter what the topic is, it only takes 2 pages. Every aspect of using an iMac is covered including iPhoto, iTunes and other iLife apps.

My biggest concern with this book was that it was too advanced for a novice audience and too basic for an intermediate or advanced reader. For example, a novice doesn't need to know about DHCP numbering schemes but an intermediate or advanced user doesn't need to know about how to shutdown the computer.

The organization of the chapters is simply bizarre. The author's flow is based on setup rather than usage. The starting chapter includes setup and networking and moves to sharing with other users, a clearly more advanced concept, and then swings back to running applications and then organizing files or folders. Waiting until chapter 5 to talk about web surfing really doesn't make sense to me. Most users want to hook up their computers and immediately surf.

Later on in the book, information about remote connections and printer sharing are included, but given the same amount of space as sending an email or watching a DVD on a Mac. Different concepts require different amount of space to cover, so a new user might easily get overwhelmed they didn't understand some of the more advanced concepts.

I'd like to say the topics were covered well but they weren't. The illustrations were extremely busy with as many as 8 flags on one screen requiring a legend and color coding to decipher.

Pros: Comprehensive
Cons: Coverage of topics inconsistent, confusing illustrations, too much information for a novice and not enough for an intermediate user

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