In his new Lion Edition revision of My New Mac, Wallace Wang starts with the premise that while the latest iteration of Apple’s OS X desktop operating system is beautiful, reliable, and intuitive, it can also be a mystery to new users (and indeed some of its interface changes may confuse veteran users as well).
My new Mac has been thoroughly revised and updated, taking Lion’s innovations into account, and is particularly targeted at a readership of Mac newbies and switchers. As such, it’s a project–oriented book intended to get users up and running with specific tasks, and doing useful stuff quickly and as painlessly as possible. The book’s subtitle is “Simple Projects To Get You Started.”
As Wallace Wang explains, “instead of burdening users with technical details, the Macintosh lets them get useful stuff done right away. That’s why I designed My New Mac as a project-oriented book that focuses on accomplishing specific tasks, rather than a book that lists all the possible menu options.” Fair enough; appendices full of menu options are not my favorite part of manual volumes for sure.
My new Mac, Lion Edition is therefore not a manual substitute like David Pogue’s MacOS X: The Missing Manual series and several other similar volumes, but rather as the No Starch Press publisher Bill Pollock defines it, “a project-based get-it-done-without-a-a lot-of-fuss-guide to using a Mac — not a tedious and boring manual — because who wants to read those anyway?” Well, speak for yourself Bill; I like reading manuals, but there is definitely a place for books like this too.
The book’s prose style is conversational and easygoing which you would expect from an author who wears another hat as a successful standup comic who has appeared on A&E’s “Evening At The Improv” and appears regularly at the Riviera Comedy Club in Las Vegas. That makes this book comfortably accessible to non-tech-head readers, while covering an awful lot of ground in a 472 page volume — everything from “basic training” instructions on how to use the mouse and trackpad, with a new emphasis on the multitouch gestures that have become a major focus in Lion, to advanced stuff like maintaining your Mac, encrypting data, and configuring a firewall.
There are 56 project chapters, up from 54 in the Snow Leopard edition of My New Mac, all relatively short, concise, and illustrated with grayscale screenshots, photographs, and diagrams. The information is text–light rather than text–dense — more in the style of a collection of quick–start guides, than of heavily–detailed user manuals. It tells you what you need to know, without piling on a lot of information you don’t need to know to get the project completed efficiently. There’s also whimsical appendix with a template for building a paper computer monitor model.
Keywords in sentences are rendered in bold text, and in numbered point-by-point lists describing the steps for the subject process proceeding as the book’s main style. The page layout is attractive and reads easily, in a no-nonsense sans serif font and plenty of whitespace breaking up the text, which is incidentally printed on Sustainable Forestry Initiative Certified Fiber Sourcing stock.
The subject matter is divided into relatively short project tutorials that can be approached much like recipes in a cookbook. Each project describes a common problem you may may encounter when using your computer, explains how your Macintosh can help you solve the problem, and then lists all the steps you need to follow in order to reach the solution in the inimitable Macintosh Way.
This allows the neophyte reader to begin doing fun and useful things with the Mac right away, being walked through them with hands-on, illustrated instructions. And while if you really are new to the Macintosh it’s probably best to start with the first section, Part One: Basic Training, aside from that you can pretty much dive in anywhere you like after scanning through the Table Of Contents for projects that particularly pique your interest.
You can skip the stuff that doesn’t interest you without any worry about loss of continuity.
And while the book is, as noted, intended mainly for new or new–to–the–Mac users, it makes a great, quick reference for anyone needing to bone up on how specific tasks are accomplished in OS X, an occasion that may crop up a lot more often than usual in making the transition to OS X 10.7 Lion.
As Wang observes, this book is dedicated to anyone who has ever felt frustrated when trying to use a computer. With a Macintosh, though you may still run into problems no matter what kind of computer you use, on a Mac they will appear far less frequently than on any other type of computer (and you may actually experience trouble–free computing most of the time).
The first two editions of My New Mac have been bestsellers in Apple stores and bookstores, and this completely revised Lion Edition should continue to sell robustly, since it’s a concept that will appeal to many Mac users. Also, we’re now less than two months away from Christmas, and if you have someone on your list who has recently acquired a new Mac, or is likely to find one under the Christmas tree, this book would make an excellent and appreciated gift.
If you’re a seasoned Mac veteran, My New Mac, Lion Edition is probably not your best choice if you’re planning on buying only one Lion book (although it would still be a handy reference to have around and I’m sure there are things virtually any Mac user could learn from it), but if you’re new to the Mac or a non-power-user who has never progressed past the basics of Mac operation, it should be right up your alley.
My New Mac, Lion Edition: Simple Projects to Get You Started
by Wallace Wang
October 2011, 504 pp.
$29.95 Print Book and FREE Ebook
$23.95 Ebook (PDF, Mobi, and ePub)
For more information, visit: