Book Review: My New Mac - Lion Edition

| Quick Look Review

Title: My New Mac - Lion Edition

Author: Wallace Wang

Date of Publication: October 2011

Publisher: No Starch Press 

Soft Cover Print: US$29.99, includes free ebook when ordered from company website

Ebook US$23.95 when ordered singly from company website

Soft Cover Print US$18.70, Kindle edition US$9.99 at Amazon 

472 pages

This past June, I reviewed an iPad 2 book by Wallace Wang, and I was very pleased with it. So I looked forward to reading his latest book, My New Mac - Lion Edition. As soon as I got into it, I realized that this book is written for beginners, those who are not just new to Lion, but also new to Macs.

At this point the review takes on a whole new level of serious for me because we are talking about the Mac users who mean the most to me — the ones for whom I write my column and the ones I teach. It also means that I put on my critical hat to make sure all the basics are really covered. In other words, what assumptions are made that are going to stonewall a naive user.

I’m happy to say that no stonewalls were found. There are a lot of chapters because each chapter focuses on a single skill. The introduction to each chapter describes what it is about, defines a goal to be achieved, and identifies what the reader will be using.

Here is the introduction for Chapter 1: Learning to Use the Mouse and Trackpad.

To control your Macintosh, you use the mouse (or trackpad if you have a laptop or optional Magic Trackpad). Both the mouse and the track- pad control an arrow on your screen called a pointer. When you move the mouse or slide a fingertip across the trackpad, you move the pointer on the screen. The pointer lets you choose commands on menus, items in folders, the point where you want to start typing text in a document, and more. Think of the pointer as a virtual finger that tells your Macintosh what to select.

Project goal: Learn how to use your mouse or trackpad to control your Macintosh.

What You’ll Be Using

To learn how to use the mouse and trackpad, you’ll use the following:

  • The mouse (or trackpad)
  • The Finder program
  • The Dock”

To a great extent an individual could work their way through this book and teach themselves how to operate their Mac loaded with Lion. Certainly this is not the best way to learn, but it could be done.

The images in the eBook version are in color, but this version does not contain automatic links from the Table of Contents. The images in the paper version are in black and white, but are crisp and easy to view. Both versions include an extensive index.

Following is a copy of the Table of Contents since it is important for a potential purchaser to make sure that the elements they are most interested in are covered.

Part 1: Basic training

Chapter 1: Learning to Use the Mouse and Trackpad 
Chapter 2: Controlling Your Mac with Your Fingers
Chapter 3: Choosing Commands on the Menu Bar
Chapter 4: Running Programs and Files from the Dock 
Chapter 5: Customizing the Dock
Chapter 6: Using Full-Screen Viewing
Chapter 7: Organizing Screens with Mission Control
Chapter 8: Opening Apps with Launchpad 

 

Part 2: Wrangling Files and Folders

Chapter 9: Navigating Through Folders with the Finder
Chapter 10: Tricks for Managing Your Files and Folders
Chapter 11: Finding Files Fast with Spotlight and Smart Folders
Chapter 12: Sharing Files Wirelessly
Chapter 13: Storing Files on a CD or DVD
Chapter 14: Using Resume, Auto Save, and Versions
Chapter 15: Retrieving Files Back in Time

 

Part 3: Making Life Easier

Chapter 16: Working Faster with Shortcut Commands
Chapter 17: Controlling Your Macintosh with Hot Corners
Chapter 18: Putting Information at Your Fingertips with Dashboard 
Chapter 19: Giving Your Macintosh Multiple Personalities with User Accounts
Chapter 20: Slapping Parental Controls on Your Kids
Chapter 21: Making Your Mac Easier to See, Hear, and Control
Chapter 22: Using the Mac App Store 
Chapter 23: Installing, Updating, and Uninstalling Software
Chapter 24: Saving Contact Information
Chapter 25: Making Appointments in Your Calendar
Chapter 26: Typing Foreign Languages

 

Part 4: Playing Music and Movies

Chapter 27: Playing Audio CDs and Audio Files with iTunes 
Chapter 28: Ripping and Burning Audio CDs 
Chapter 29: Playing a DVD 
Chapter 30: Listening to News, Music, and Talk Shows Online 
Chapter 31: Listening to Free College Lectures 
Chapter 32: Editing Video with iMovie

 

Part 5: the digital Shutterbug

Chapter 33: Transferring Pictures to Your Macintosh 
Chapter 34: Organizing Digital Photos in iPhoto
Chapter 35: Tagging and Sorting Digital Photos in iPhoto 
Chapter 36: Editing Digital Photos in iPhoto
Chapter 37: Showing Off Your Pictures
Chapter 38: Taking Pictures of Yourself with Photo Booth

 

Part 6: Surfing and Sharing on the internet

Chapter 39: Getting on the Internet and Sharing Folders
Chapter 40: Remembering Your Favorite Websites 
Chapter 41: Saving a Web Page 
Chapter 42: Keeping Your Internet Activities Private 
Chapter 43: Customizing Safari 
Chapter 44: Setting Up an Email Account
Chapter 45: Reading and Writing Email 
Chapter 46: Making Email Look Pretty 
Chapter 47: Organizing Your Email 
Chapter 48: Dealing with Junk Email 
Chapter 49: Video Chatting with FaceTime 
Chapter 50: Instant Messaging with iChat 

 

Part 7: Maintaining Your Mac

Chapter 51: Learning About Your Macintosh 
Chapter 52: Conserving Energy While Using Your Macintosh
Chapter 53: Ejecting Stuck CDs or DVDs 
Chapter 54: Password Protecting Your Macintosh 
Chapter 55: Encrypting Your Data and Guarding Your Privacy 
Chapter 56: Configuring the Firewall

 

Conclusion

 

This is an excellent book on several levels. A new Mac user, with Lion loaded on their machine, could learn to operate their Mac with just this book. The illustrations are helpful, the casual writing style is easy to follow, and the type font, Avenir, is easy to read. 

It is available from the website in print with a free eBook version for US$29.99 or just as an eBook for US$23.95. It is also available from Amazon in print for US$18.70 and for Kindle for US$9.99. 

Now, if I may get on my soapbox — please do not get a brand new Mac user an eBook version. It will just add to their confusion. I suggest you get the new user the paper version and get yourself the eBook version so you will have a reference point should you get questions. I’m just saying.

Product: My New Mac - Lion Edition

Company: No Starch Press

List Price: US$29.99

Pros:

Excellent book for first time Mac users.

Cons:

None noted.

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Comments

Lee Dronick

This is the same Wallace Wang who back in the ‘80s wrote for the Computer Edge/Byte Buyer free weekly magazine here in San Diego. He also used to teach computers at our community colleges. I met him several times when he spoke at our North San Diego Apple Computer Club and at local computer fairs.

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