A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Review: Old Fart's Guide To The Macintosh December 22nd, 2003
For Mac users only -- I have come across the most wonderful book for new computer users, or even for older, but still "new" computer users. I mean those who have never used one before.
Anyone who is giving a computer to a first time user may seriously consider including this book along with their gift. Anyone who is getting their first second hand-computer needs it. Anyone who wants a computer (a Mac) but is afraid of computers needs it. Anyone who thinks they need a training course to get on the Internet needs it. Anyone who thinks they need an Internet provider such as a cable provider and then also something they heard about called Earthlink needs it. (I met that someone just the other night.) Anyone who..... well you get the idea. If you can't afford to give someone a computer, maybe you can just give them the book.
So what is this all-wonderful book?
First you have to get past the name. I would never in a million years have picked this book up in a store because of the name. The only reason I read it is because I was asked to review it. In my generation a lady would never say the word "fart." Never. I had trouble just typing it. A gentleman would never say it in mixed-company. For that reason I would have simply turned up my nose and walked past.
Too bad for me because I would have missed a good book.
The name of the book is Old Fart'sTM Guide to the Macintosh. It is written by a young man named Aaron Rosenzweig who has a keen understanding of how to explain the essentials of computers in ways that people born before the era of computers can understand.
It is very easy reading. He provides easy to understand overviews of software, hardware, a virus, a mouse, operating systems, the World Wide Web, servers, the internet, etc. He also explains why they are necessary to the operation of a computer. The book covers two of my favorite topics, i.e., you can't really do irreparable damage to your Mac unless you toss it out the window; and if you wear glasses you should seriously consider getting a pair of computer glasses to avoid neck and back strain.
Once you get past all the preliminary information, which is really very important, the book takes the reader from the beginning -- "turning your Mac on and off," through information on the desktop, inputting text, the internet, using AppleWorks, saving things, printing, using disks, different kinds of software, solving problems, digital hubs, using digital cameras and scanners, OS X and all the new fun things. The second edition, which is just out, includes a complete section on Panther and advanced topics including UNIX, programming, graphics, book writing, music, and explanations of G3, G4, and G5. Again, all of this is done in a way that's easy for new users, even those of us with bifocals, to understand.
There is an excellent index and glossary included. I still don't like the name, but I really think it is a book that is perfect for new users and I plan to recommend it to all the classes I teach for newbies.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color,
covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.