Mac OS X Hacks

‘Mac OS X Hacks’ is a good grab bag of tips and techniques for getting the most from your Mac. While the tips are not as universally appealing (even among Mac owners) as those in ‘Google Hacks’ most people will find some value in the selection; some may find it a little thin.

The book is split into 9 chapters; ‘Files’, ‘Startup”, ‘Multimedia and the iApps’, ‘The User Interface’, ‘Unix and the Terminal’, ‘Networking’, ‘Email’, ‘The Web’ and ‘Databases’.

For my money the last chapter is a complete waste of space since it only covers installing MySQL and PostgresSQL, and if you can’t figure out how to install them from the documentation then you aren’t smart enough to use them. A number of the other tips would come close to that level, I feel their only use may be to encourage people who would otherwise stay away to make some use of the terminal and similar tools.

When I first started reviewing the book I would have complained about a large number of the tips being too application specific, too general or too low in skill level. Since then I’ve had a friend who wanted to edit a movie and we both found the chapter on iApps useful, one with a brand new Bluetooth phone who liked the couple of tips on Bluetooth and another who found the cross platform Windows-Mac stuff useful. so I have to say that while some of the tips might seem useless now you may come to appreciate them later.

Overall the book is well written, well laid out and well cross-referenced and covers a wide range of information.

My one major beef is still that there are too many ‘tips’ that are well covered by other material. Since you shouldn’t really get this book until you are at least Mac proficient and probably own a basic Mac book or two then perhaps a tenth of the hundred tips will be covered in most Mac books and perhaps another five to ten you will have discovered on your own.

Reading over my notes I feel split between raving about how good the book is – well written with a bunch of useful tips and tricks for any Mac user – and complaining about the useless nature of some of the tips. So I am left saying that if the book falls into your definition of ‘inexpensive’ then grab a copy. If the price is ‘expensive’ then just make sure a friend owns a copy and borrow theirs every so often.
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