TMO Interviews David Pogue

David Pogue is columnist for the New York Times, a best-selling Mac author and has recently published Mac OS X: The Missing Manual.

TMO: I feel that OS X is pretty simple to use, so I was astounded at how big a book OS X: The Missing Manual is. Whatis up with that?

David Pogue: If you found Mac OS X simple to use, then Iim guessing you havenit delved into it much beyond the basic front end: the desktop and Dock, for example. Once you start meddling with networking and the Unix underlayer, it gets thick and fast--really fast.

Letis put it this way: "Mac OS X: The Missing Manual," at 630 pages, is one of the SHORTEST Mac OS X books out there... :)

TMO: For people who donit expect to run servers and type Unix commands, what are some major things to expect from this book?

David Pogue: Itis the usual Pogue stuff. Tips, tricks, undocumented shortcuts, a lot of dry humor.

More important, quite a bit of whatis missing from the other books: the philosophy of Mac OS X. That is, why Apple made it the way they did. Why it actually makes sense to get rid of the disks from the desktop, for example, or why you should never, ever quit programs any more.

TMO: So, how about that iMac? For me, it is how an iMac was meant to be. You have a nice review of it, and I particularly like the comment about how the "box" seems to disappear. Nobody else said that. Now, what can you add about the new iMac?

David Pogue: Iive been lucky enough to have one here at the house since the Expo, and itis pretty much everything I said. The screen is a home run--being able to whip it around to show somebody something, lower it for the kids, etc. But the jacks in the back, and the power button in the back, are not Appleis best design. Because the thingis so heavy, itis kind of awkward to get back there--remember that the screen is attached now, swinging around if you tip the base.

TMO: Some naysayers have said that "extreme designs never sell". I donit see it as very extreme, do you?

David Pogue: Itis extreme. But the naysayers are wrong. The original iMac was equally extreme, and it sold in buckets. Ditto the Pilot, the VW Bug, and the PT Cruiser.

TMO: What do you think is most notable about iPhoto?

David Pogue: I havenit seen the "slide table" metaphor used before in this kind of software. Itis just great to be able to scan your entire photo collection all in one giant display.

TMO: Do you think iPhoto will sell iMacs?

David Pogue: I think it will sell Macs, period, just as iMovie sold a lot of Macs. Itis getting to the point where the word is getting around: there are simply things you canit do in Windows that you can do on the Mac. (Thatis a nice switch from the old days, when people used to say the reverse.)

TMO: In what markets do you think the Mac will be prominent in, say, five years?

David Pogue: He who predicts the future is doomed to regret it. I never indulge, unless Iim deliberately spoofing people who are dumb enough to try. :)

TMO: What role will OS X play in that?

David Pogue: Mac OS X is Appleis future, love it or leave it. The company has bet everything on it.

The good news is that, as I pointed out in the book, this "ultra-modern" operating system is, in fact, 30 years old. Itis Unix, which has been polished to a shine by thousands of programmers all over the world. All Apple has to do is polish up the topsoil, the Aqua interface it has laid on top. Itis much easier to do that than to have to pour the foundation and install the plumbing. I think things are looking good for X.

Or will once Photoshop ships.

TMO: You have used and taught the Mac since the garden of Eden. How does that whole development seem to you?

David Pogue: The garden of Eden? Quite a development, Iid say. But the price of flat-panel screens was ridiculous.

Eolake Stobblehouse is a contributing editor to the Mac Observer, specializing in cultural matters, and comes to us by way of MacCreator. Send him your comments and tips.