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REVIEW: "Mac OS X in a Nutshell", Jason McIntosh/Chuck Toporek/Chris Stone

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKMOSXNS.RVW 20040415 Mac OS X in a Nutshell , Jason McIntosh/Chuck Toporek/Chris Stone, 2003, 0-596-00370-6, U$34.95/C$54.95/UK#24.95 %A Jason McIntosh
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 18, 2004
      BKMOSXNS.RVW 20040415

      "Mac OS X in a Nutshell", Jason McIntosh/Chuck Toporek/Chris Stone,
      2003, 0-596-00370-6, U$34.95/C$54.95/UK#24.95
      %A Jason McIntosh
      %A Chuck Toporek
      %A Chris Stone
      %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
      %D 2003
      %G 0-596-00370-6
      %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
      %O U$34.95/C$54.95/UK#24.95 800-998-9938 nuts@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596003706/robsladesinterne
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596003706/robsladesinte-21
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596003706/robsladesin03-20
      %P 801 p.
      %T "Mac OS X in a Nutshell"

      The preface, on behalf of the reader, asks why there should be a need
      for this Nutshell series book, when a "Missing Manual" (another
      O'Reilly series) Mac OS X title exists. It concludes that the
      Nutshell books are for the power users who are "curious about what
      happens under the hood." The preface goes on to promise that this
      work is terse and without excessive verbiage. Overall, this
      commitment to consision is met, but the "under the hood" material
      seems to be missing. This volume is a good index in terms of where to
      look for a given operation, but gives little explanation of the
      underlying technology or functions that the power user could utilise.
      "Terse" should not just mean a command to "do this," without any
      exegesis.

      Part one is a general introduction. Chapter one presents the usual
      list of desktop GUI (Graphical User Interface) basics. File and
      application management with the Finder is covered in chapter two. The
      differences between Mac OS X, OS 9, and Classic are presented in
      chapter three. Chapter four is an index to functions and settings.

      Part two deals with system configuration. System preferences are
      outlined in chapter five. Chapter six has a listing and brief
      description of many applications and utilities shipped with the
      operating system. Dialogue boxes related to net connections are
      discussed in chapter seven, but there is little additional
      information. Printer control, in chapter eight, is reviewed with
      slightly more data. Chapter nine lists some file systems, and
      presents a few UNIX file system concepts, but is very disappointing in
      its lack of detail. Superficial coverage of Java related settings in
      Internet Explorer and MRJAppBuilder makes up chapter ten.

      Part three reviews system and network administration. Chapter eleven
      lists miscellaneous administrative tasks such as running commands with
      root privileges, mounting disks, and (oddly) the firewall. The
      explanation of network directory services and NetInfo, in chapter
      twelve, clarifies some items that were confusing in chapter eleven: a
      forward reference would have been helpful. Chapter thirteen talks
      about starting Web, email, and other servers, and fourteen discusses
      installing parts of Darwin, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, and Python (all
      under the acronym DAMP).

      Scripting and development, in part four, has a catalogue of
      development tools (in chapter fifteen), a brief description of
      AppleScript (sixteen), text editors and command lists for vi and emacs
      (seventeen), and a CVS (Concurrent Versions System) command reference
      (eighteen).

      Part five is, ostensibly, the long promised look under the Mac OS X
      hood. Chapter nineteen reviews terminal preferences, twenty takes a
      brief look at patterns and regular expressions (regex), twenty one
      lists some tcsh shell commands and operators, twenty two discusses
      settings in property list (plist) files, twenty three deals with some
      aspects of starting X, twenty four has an extremely terse mention of
      installing UNIX software, and twenty five is a UNIX command reference.
      Yes, this section does give a bit of background in UNIX, the operating
      system underlying OS X, but the look is fleeting, and the hood is
      slammed shut without much useful information being imparted.

      While this book is a serviceable guide for the general MAC OS X user,
      coming from the usually superior Nutshell series it is a
      disappointment.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2004 BKMOSXNS.RVW 20040415


      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish
      thing. - Anatole Franc
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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