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Mac OS X Hacks · 12 September 2005, 08:36 by Admin

Here we have a rather well done little book that I wasn’t going to bother to review because I assumed that it was just a boring collection of the same old tired hacks one can find on dozens of web pages. The very idea of even opening such a book made me tired, bored, uninterested. I just didn’t think I could even bear to read it, never mind review it.

Once again, I was wrong.

The first thing I liked about this is something we are starting to see more frequently: some use of color in the text. Photos and screen shots are still black and white (still too expensive to do that much yet), but section headings are nicely set off in purple. Such a small thing, and probably something that will become very common soon, but it enhanced my reading experience.

If this really was the boring collection of so called hints I thought it was, the purple text effect wouldn’t have been enough to keep me going. But I did keep going. Yes, a lot of it was stuff I already knew, and some of it (the movie editing, for example) is stuff I have no real interest in. But all of it is practical: there’s none of the silly “turn your scroll bars into cartoon characters” kind of nonsense. The authors obviously use their Macs to do real work, and the tips and hacks reflect that. Would you expect to find instructions and examples of using MySQL and PostgeSQL? This has those. It also has instructions for using a Bluetooth enabled phone as a modem, and enough other esoteric hacks that you’ll surely find more than enough value for your money.

Interestingly, I couldn’t find a single thing I disagreed with either. Every time I thought that a little carelessness had crept in, the next paragraph gave the very caveat that had bothered me.

Nicely done. That’s almost always true of O’Reilly books, but it still needs to be said.

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