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by Sean Doolittle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.67
120 used & new from $0.01

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice little crime thriller, January 30, 2009
This review is from: Safer (Hardcover)
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"Safer" is a compelling and entertaining crime fiction novel. It's a story about a middle-aged professional couple who relocate from the East Coast to a neighborhood in an small Midwestern town and become involved in criminal incidents which have their roots in hereto for never explained 10-year-old murders.

The residents who live in the suburban cul-de-sac with the protagonists, Paul and Sarah Calloway, are ostensibly normal suburban folk, except perhaps for Roger Mallory, a retired cop, who is a bit too friendly. The Calloway's find out way more than they would like to know about Roger and their other neighbors, as Paul is falsely charged with a sordid sex crime involving the 13-year-old daughter of one of the neighbors, discover the entire neighborhood is subject to surreptitious surveillance, and realize that Roger and the police department are engaged in a conspiratorial enterprise.

The characters are sufficiently well drawn to be credible, but it is the plot which holds the reader's interest - from Paul's attempts to get exonerated, the discovery of the neighborhood's secrets, and the multiple murders, both past and present. The prose is light, but brisk and witty. The ending, however, was disappointing as it was confusing and cramped and showed insufficient motivations for some characters actions.

Public Domain, The: How to Find and Use Copyright Free Writings, Music, Art & More
Public Domain, The: How to Find and Use Copyright Free Writings, Music, Art & More
by Stephen Fishman
Edition: Paperback
49 used & new from $0.43

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good guide to copyright, November 7, 2008
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The legal issues of using materials produced by others are especially relevant now because the Internet has made available vast quantities of such material to nearly every one with a computer. But just because that information is available to copy and download doesn't mean it is legal to do so. There are all kinds of legal consequences to those who don't follow the rules. "The Public Domain, Fourth Edition," is intended to describe and explain the rules and to facilitate locating and using material without getting into trouble.

Author, Stephen Fishman, is an attorney and writer of legal and educational books. He explains things on a level suitable for a layman. Like much of the publisher's Nolo materials, the basic idea of the book is to empower readers to avoid lawyers (in most cases) and to handle legal issues of using available resources themselves.

Chapters 1 and 2 introduce the concepts of the public domain and copyright. Matters of copyright notice, duration, coverage, and enforcement are covered thoroughly. The middle 11 chapters focus on specific materials, like writings, music, art, photos, movies and TV, maps, and the like, and clarify how the general rules of public domain and copyright applies to each category. Fishman describes how other non-copyright legal rules may apply to each category of material, like patent, trade name, trade secret, licensing and contract, and other similar laws. A large and important exception to copyright rules, called "fair use" is well explained.

The content of the book is fairly comprehensive. Reference is made to both US and foreign laws. There are sections describing how to search various registries for copyright and other filings. Legal ambiguities or conflicts are duly noted There is a nice chapter on how to secure permission for material not in the public domain.

Most of the book describes and explains the laws of using other's materials. But there is relatively little that focuses on actually finding specific materials. There are some website addresses listings for obtaining free music scores, for example, but for the most part, the book leaves the actual locating of material to the reader's own efforts.

The layout of the book could be improved. There are too many font styles, headings, and text items on a typical page, making the book difficult to read and follow. There are few illustrations and sidebars to break up text segments, and these are in dull grayscale only. There are several useful charts, however, containing data for copyright applicability over various time periods and among different laws.

The biggest problem with the book is the incessant repetition. Facts, opinions, and concepts are repeated across chapters. Even the same examples are repeated, sometimes four or more times. The book, properly edited, could be reduced in size by a factor of two or three and therefore made more readable and accessible.

iPod: The Missing Manual
iPod: The Missing Manual
by J. D. Biersdorfer
Edition: Paperback
110 used & new from $0.01

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch manual, November 4, 2008
"IPod, the Missing Manual, Seventh Ed.," is an update and improvement of a book which has already distinguished itself for excellence in providing guidance for iPod users. It is one of Pogue Press's Missing Manual series which itself is a benchmark for computer books of its type. This edition of "iPod"covers the latest and greatest iPods, the iTunes software, and accessories for the iPod as well as further polishing the presentation formula of the "iPod Missing Manual" editions.

The book is lavishly produced in glossy paper and full-color graphics. There are graphics on nearly every page. The well-designed layout has nicely contrasting headings, body type, sidebars, and illustrations, which make it easy to read and understand the well-written material. The content is covered thoroughly and comprehensively. It covers nearly everything an iPod user needs to know to utilize the machine to its fullest, from using the iPod within minutes out of the box, to learning all of the applications, menus, synching options, and connection options to the Internet. The ending chapter discusses troubleshooting.

There are chapters devoted to each function of the iPod - music, photos, videos, productivity applications, games, and Web access and e-mail (for the Touch). Throughout there are useful and interesting Notes and Tips. The book covers all of the current iPod models - Mac and PC -and highlights recommended connection hardware for using the iPod with a TV, external speakers, radio, streaming over wireless devices, and in the car.

Much of the newer content deals with the iPod's flagship, the Touch, which supports Web surfing, e-mail, and numerous third-party applications available for downloading from the Apple Store. The chapters and segments are organized in such a way that you can selectively read only those parts which apply to your specific iPod model, but the whole book is an easy read.
There is plenty of information and suggestions on customizing the iPod to suit your needs and tastes, both software wise and with hardware accessories. The issues of digital rights management and legal workarounds are well explained.

The only way this book could be better would be if it included a coupon for a free iPod.

iPhone: The Missing Manual: Covers the iPhone 3G
iPhone: The Missing Manual: Covers the iPhone 3G
by David Pogue
Edition: Paperback
136 used & new from $0.01

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch reference source for iPhone, October 3, 2008
For those who already know of David Pogue's Missing Manual series there is hardly any need to read a review of any of the latest publications, like "iPhone, the Missing Manual, Second Edition." For those in need of a written guide to the iPhone, you just buy the book and enjoy it, without wasting any time with comparisons, reviews, or undue deliberation. You can trust the author and publisher. For years, Pogue Press', the Missing Manual series, has been a benchmark of quality for the genre. In an era where manufacturers provide skimpy support materials, the Missing Manual series acts as a great substitute.

For those unfamiliar with the series, I'll elaborate on the iPhone book. It is a great book. It is designed to tell you in an objective casual, easy to follow fashion, all you need to know about using your iPhone. It is lavishly produced in heavyweight glossy paper with high resolution full-color graphics. The text is larger sized and organized in a very easy-to-read layout. There are many dozens of sidebar "Tips" which break up the text and make learning about the iPhone very easy.

The best part of the book is the content where you get a very thorough, comprehensive, and well-organized presentation of the iPhone hardware, software, and services. In six parts and fifteen chapters, Mr. Pogue covers nearly everything an average user needs to know about the product. There are plenty of sections covering advanced topics, as well, including use of the iPhone in a business setting. Part One is a guided tour to the hardware and how to get started making calls and texting. In this chapter and throughout the book, Mr. Pogue gives more than mere description and explanation of features, he provides step-by-step instructions and practical guidance on use. In the first chapter, for instance, he provides an experienced user's perspective on how to be more efficient using the virtual keyboard.

Part Two discusses the music and video features and the camera and photo capabilities. Part Three explains how to get online using the multiple means - 3G, 2G (Edge-ATT's older, slower system), and WiFi using the web browser and e-mail programs. The author provides handy references to useful websites and third-party applications which can run on the iPhone and extend its capabilities, like the Zoho suite of productivity applications and RSS readers. The next part covers the third-party software now available for downloading from the Apple site. The App Store is explained and a lot of the applications are briefly reviewed and evaluated. Pogue also describes how to install custom ring tones as well as making one's own using Apple's own Garage Band.

In the "Beyond the iPhone" section, Pogue covers the all-important syncing features and options, the Mobile Me support services provided by Apple, the iTunes symbiosis with the iPhone, and the customer settings options. Three appendices cover setup and signing up, suggested accessories, and troubleshooting and maintenance.

Big Book of Apple Hacks: Tips & Tools for unlocking the power of your Apple devices
Big Book of Apple Hacks: Tips & Tools for unlocking the power of your Apple devices
by Chris Seibold
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.53
100 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book for Mac tinkerers, October 3, 2008
The "Big Book of Apple Hacks" represents the meatiest collection of Apple hacks in publication. It provides 131 hacks (and many more sidebar mini-hacks) for all current major Apple products like the computer lines, iPhone and iPod, Apple TV, and even the Mighty Mouse. There are hacks and tips for everyone, from modest skills to the highest, although most of them are for serious tinkerers and the high-end geeks who would be comfortable using the command line, Automator, and UNIX and wouldn't hesitate to crack open the boxes of each of the Apple products to perform technical surgery of some type.

Author, Chris Seibold, is an engineer and writer who makes tinkering with complexity accessible. He is assisted here by a large handful of contributors who are programmers, computer scientists, engineers, writers, and producers of various sorts.

The hacks are organized into 15 chapters, mostly by product line, both hardware and software. All are well-written, easy to follow, illustrated by (grayscale) images of photos and screenshots, and well-larded with sidebar tips and "Quick Hacks." Some of the hardware hacks are illustrated by stage-by-stage photos of hardware disassembly and reassembly.

Many of the hacks, especially the software ones, rely on third-party software and the book references many useful programs available for downloading from the Internet, most of them Open Source, free, or modestly priced. The introductory chapters cover backing up, creating a bootable flash drive, and installing the Apple-provided Developer Tools, using the root account, and modifying plists. There are hacks for the Internet like scraping the web for images using a special script (available for downloading at the author's site), cleaning metadata, Safari tips and tricks, and more. Later chapters cover customizing the Mac OS X operating system, networking and security, maximizing multiple operating systems, hacking the Apple hardware products, and adapting the Mac computer to run custom made weather monitoring systems and Smart Homes utilities.

Throughout there are hacks I've never seen before and which are quite interesting and (mostly) practical, like using Software Restore Disk on almost any Mac, no-cost alternatives to static IP addresses, sucking out an existing Windows installation to a Mac, installing the whole Wikipedia on an iPod, making a laptop cooler, installing a Mac Mini in a car, and disassembling a Mighty Mouse for cleaning.

Some hacks have been published elsewhere in some form or another, but there is no shortage of originality here, and plenty of material for serious tinkerers to deal with. The hacks here are for productivity reasons, cost-saving, and just plain curious fun. But honestly, some of these hacks are for only "Those Who Need a Life!!!" -like, the multiple ways to disable iSight camera, motion activation laptop tricks, and even running (old) Classic games on newer Macs.

American Savior: A Novel of Divine Politics
American Savior: A Novel of Divine Politics
by Roland Merullo
Edition: Hardcover
100 used & new from $0.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A light political fantasy, September 19, 2008
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"American Savior" represents yet another expression of anguish over the state of American politics and society. We have a country at war, a declining economy, and a hateful, divisive political environment. No wonder there is a desperate hope for salvation of some sort.

"American Savior" presents one of the most fanciful and creative solutions - a run for the U.S. presidency by Jesus Christ himself. The book is about that story as narrated by a cynical TV reporter who agrees to help run the campaign assisted, incongruously, by his girlfriend, parents, former boss, and others, none of whom have any experience in political campaigning.

Jesus and his crew run an unorthodox campaign propelled, in part, by the public belief that Jesus miraculously saved the lives of a handful of children at the beginning of the campaign. Jesus eventually wins the election and is immediately shot and killed by a gunman, whose motives are left unexplained.

The quixotic campaign, I believe, represents the desperate need by millions of Americans for some kind of hope to overcome a severely broken political and social environment. But, there is little real substance to the campaign, other than Jesus's call for a conference on resolving the abortion debate. The book as a whole look lacks so much credibility in its narratives and events (beyond Jesus as a candidate, of course) as to be little more than a whimsical fantasy.

The TV reporter is the first-person narrator of the tale and he has a sassy and irreverent attitude towards politics and society and a nice sense of humor. Conservatives may be object to his "blue state" biases. But, despite its good heart, the book's characters are thinly drawn, the narrative is simple, and there are few themes of any consequence. In this regard, it is no worse and no better than a large handful of minor books about politics which now seem to be becoming part of a popular sub-genre.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2009 3:55 AM PST

Six Good Innings
Six Good Innings
by Mark Kreidler
Edition: Hardcover
52 used & new from $0.01

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An unsatisfactory attempt, August 3, 2008
This review is from: Six Good Innings (Hardcover)
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"Six Good Innings" chronicles the Tom's River Little League team of 2007 and as it tried but failed to win a Little League World Series championship. The Tom's River Little League program has become the most well-known youth baseball program in America, thanks to its success on the field over the last decade or so, but also to the media, especially ESPN Sports which televises the Little League World Series. Tom's River teams appeared in the Series three times in five years in the 90s, and won it all in 1998. For the folks of Tom's River, a small township in eastern New Jersey, on the field success was a given and every team expected to live up to the standards of the town's youth team's successful history.

The topic of championship-level Little League baseball gives rise to a host of interesting themes: the price and meaning of success; the relationship of ambitious parents and their developing children; geography and class; individual, team, community, and universal values; and more. As a parent supporting a young son involved for years in competitive baseball I know there is a lot more to the experience than the mere (but grand) game of baseball.

Regrettably, "Six Good Innings" presents a flat, dull, and uninteresting chronicle of a team of kids which failed to live up to expectations. Despite the vast potential of the subjects territory, the book fails to engage the reader at almost every level.

The book contains no discernible themes or insights; it's nearly a literal narrative of the on-the-field events of the 2007 season without connection to emotional, psychological, historical, sociological, or other worthwhile themes. There is no examination of the question of why Tom's River teams have had such extraordinary success, other than the suggestion by one of the coaches that it was pure "luck." Maybe it was luck, but there is no comparison of the Tom's River environment to other areas, little analysis of reasons for the success, and no perspective of what makes this bit of youth baseball history meaningful to anyone other than the Tom's River players, parents, coaches, and interested townsfolk.

The characters of the real people in the book are rendered mainly as "stick figure" personalities. There is little to make a reader care for any of the players, parents, and coaches. There is little depth, shading, or color to the people, place, or events. The narrative lacks arcs and drama. There is no reason to care if the team won or lost, and there is no expression of significance to either outcome. Even the final District-level playoff game narrative of "competitive do or die" is rendered boringly. What we get is not much more than a scorebook description of a set of All-Star games.

Beyond the context lackings, the writing appears to be a first draft without editing. Many times ideas and even facts are repeated 2, 3, 4, times within a short space. Paragraph construction is mostly inept with elements often clumsily out of place. Grammar is garbled in some places.

I truly do not wish to be unfair to author Mark Kreidler, who is an award -winning journalist and author, but an honest reviewer must call them as he sees them. The subject matter here deserves better treatment. I can imagine a sports author like John Feinstein hitting for extra bases, so to speak, with this material.

Sports figures refer to a player "calling it in" when he performs both ineptly and without motivation. Kreidler appears to have called this one in.

(Note: This review is based on a proof copy delivered to me in the third week of July, 2008.)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 3, 2008 3:43 PM PDT

Foundations of Mac OS X Leopard Security (Books for Professionals by Professionals)
Foundations of Mac OS X Leopard Security (Books for Professionals by Professionals)
by Charles S. Edge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.40
57 used & new from $0.01

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best volume of its kind, May 30, 2008
At least a half-dozen times in the book "Foundations of Mac OS X Leopard Security" the authors state that there is a misconception that the Macintosh computer is immune from security problems. That allegation may explain why there are very few books published (and nearly none in recent years) about security for the Mac. This book is meant to change all that. The authors acknowledge that the Mac OS Xsoftware has had little of the security problem experience of Windows (and other operating systems, to a lesser extent) but they spend 488 pages detailing exactly where and how the Macintosh platform is (or may be?) vulnerable.

Many of the security issues raised in the book are theoretical or deal with added elements of the Mac software install that contain non-Apple components -- Apache Web server and Perl and PHP scripting packages, for example. Many of the items of concern deal with generic problem areas of computer usage in general, both software and hardware, which affect the Mac as well as any other computers and networks. While the perspective of the book is on the Mac, much of the security review will apply to any type of computer or network.

Messieurs Edge, Barker, and Smith are seasoned Mac and security professionals who point out in a very systematic and comprehensive way the potential problems of running the Mac both in single use and networked environments. The focus is primarily on Mac OS X Leopard and the other software which comes with any new Mac computer, although there is some discussion of earlier OS X versions and earlier generations of Apple applications like Airport.

The book has five main parts covering general security matters, essential security fundamentals, networking, sharing, and workplace security issues. There are four very short appendices of modest value.

The initial first three chapters deal with general security and security fundamentals is basic stuff discussing how technical computer security issues are entwined with practical realities of using computers in a business or home, and that compromises between security and practicality generally must be made. There is discussion of types of security attacks, how the Windows booting programs, Parallels and Boot Camp, implicate Windows security issues on the Mac, and how the UNIX underpinnings of the Mac OS X allow for more sophisticated techniques and tools in securing the Mac computer and networks. Chapter 1 is a useful "quick start" guide of items which can be addressed readily by nearly any level of user to safeguard the Mac from many security concerns. Apple has provided a lot of built-in security features and services which can be adjusted by individual users to his or her own needs, like FileVault, Secure Trash, Keychain, permissions, and others. Higher-level users and maybe experienced security professionals not used to the Mac may be bored with the first part of the book.

Part two deals with protecting the Mac from malware and exploitable services in the OS and major applications like the Safari browser and Mail applications. It explains how malware can affect the Mac through script viruses, social engineering techniques, and other exploits. The book lists a number of available software tools which can help solve some of the potential problems. The section on reviewing and configuring monitoring processes and logs is especially interesting.

Securing networks, using and configuring firewalls, and wireless networking make up the bulk of part three. The content in chapters 7 through 9 is quite technical covering types of networks; routers, hubs and switches;proxy, DMZ, and other servers and hardware setups, advanced firewall configuration using both GUI and command line interfaces; filtering; traffic throttling; and more. The sections describing testing of firewalls and hacking wireless networks using tools like Kismac and iStumbler are especially useful.

Chapter 11, in part four, dealing with website security when utilizing the built-in Apple web services, includes a checklist of at least a dozen items to be dealt with in locking down a site. Security for remote conductivity is addressed also, with particular emphasis given to VPN, secure shell, and the use of network administration tools like Timbuktu and DAVE. Attention is given to both the standard MacOS X installation as well as to OS X Server. The most complex discussions involve using Open Directory in a security plan. My favorite sections were in chapters 14 on network scanning, monitoring, and intrusion prevention tools. The book describes how to understand your own machine/network security status by learning how to attack other networks. And how to use techniques like white/black box testing, fingerprinting, enumeration, port and TCP/UDP scans, ping sweeps, and more.

The book describes how intrusion detection is accomplished. Guidance is provided on software tools like Tripwire, snort, Checkmate, and others. The last chapter concerns forensics and how to handle attempted or successful intrusions to both understand security weaknesses and to preserve evidence for civil or criminal proceedings, CSI-like.

Nearly all of the presentations cover two levels of interactivity using either GUI-based tools or the command line. Except for a handful of sections, the presentations are useful even for higher-end users, including those dealing with medium to large networks.

The writing is workmanlike and without style or wit, but carefully organized and expressed. There are plenty of (grayscale) screenshots of relevant software application configurations, and sidebar Notes and Tips on many topics. Anyone who has a serious interest in Mac OS X security will benefit from this book as its main virtue is its systematic and comprehensive approach to the issues. It is designed to inform users of all levels how and why to think about OS X security. Geeks who want or need to know Mac OS X security will get a nicely organized book sufficiently filled with useful content. This is not a book intended to raise all security issues or to provide all the answers. It does answer many problems, and will point nearly all users in the right direction for their specific needs.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2009 6:27 PM PDT

The Digital Photography Companion
The Digital Photography Companion
by Derrick Story
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.66
60 used & new from $0.01

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine primer on digital photography, May 12, 2008
The "Basic Photography Companion" concept has become nearly its own genre in the photography book business. For the most part, it results in "formula" books covering the same basic ideas - how to buy introductory camera gear, how to use the gear, and how to produce decent- looking photos for oneself, family, and friends.

It is a popular genre and there is nothing wrong with a formula approach, especially if it is made fresh by updated content, quality production values, and capable exposition. Out of all the "companions" I've owned or read over the decades the ones written by Derrick Story and published by O'Reilly Media, rank among the best. Mr. Story's latest is "The Digital Photography Companion" (2008), a slender book of 214 pages. Story is O'Reilly's digital media expert and has authored a number of basic digital photography guides over the years, as well as other books in his area of expertise. With the rapidly developing technology in the photography world involving digital cameras, lenses, storage media, software editing and management programs, and Internet and wireless distribution methods, there is a niche and a need for a good genre-formula companion manual. A typical companion manual is a book small enough to fit easily into a camera bag and which provides guidance on camera and lens settings, filters, flash, and other technical hardware matters while also providing information and tips on standard photography concepts like depth of field, shutter speeds, exposures, and the like. The better ones also contain the reference material most desired by working photographers, like charts for exposure; color temperatures; flash, metering, and camera modes; and memory card capabilities.

The Digital Photography Companion makes order of the complexities of photography equipment purchasing and use while providing a goodly amount of practical tips for taking photos. Mr. Story has an easy-going casual writing style. He makes learning about digital hardware and software and photography concepts and techniques seem easy. The book is nicely produced and laden with full color illustrative comparison images, useful tables, charts, and color-coded sidebars of Tips, Definitions, Warnings, and Reminders. There are screenshots of software settings for digital editing and management applications like iPhoto, Photoshop Elements, Adobe's Light Room, and Apple's high-end program, Aperture, and others. The picture-making material is for beginners; there is discussion of basic photo techniques for a large variety of situations most commonly experienced by beginners--especially persistent learners - landscapes, weddings, kids, action, self-portraits, and astrophotography scenes. The goal is to help new photographers learn to make their pictures unique and interesting for even non-family and friends.

There are five chapters covering computer and photography terms, hands-on techniques and camera use items, picture making tips and ideas, viewing and managing results, and printing methods. Chapters 1 and 2 are organized by basic photography and technical concepts sorted in alphabetical order for quick reference, as necessary. Chapter 3 provides basic picture-taking tips. An appendix contains the Quick Reference Guide mentioned already for camera settings , together with a chart of metadata for all the illustrative photos contained in the book, including for each photo: camera model used, focal length, shutter speed, and location.

The digital revolution in the photography world makes the materials in chapters 4 and 5 especially useful, discussing the new digital distribution and software processing methods - e-mail, conversion to movies, dealing with RAW files, making slide shows, etc. - and the printing options - direct from camera, online printers, and dedicated photo printers.

Running Windows on Your Mac
Running Windows on Your Mac
by Dwight Silverman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.04
77 used & new from $0.01

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice primer for Mac users needing to run Windows on their Macs, April 13, 2008
Apple Computer's switch to the Intel processor allows its Macintoshes to run other operating systems besides its native OS X and now many users are finding good reasons to run Windows on the Mac. There are some specialized applications for which there are no Apple counterparts, like certain professional tax preparation applications and business and scientific programs. Some PC switchers want to continue to use some of their favorite PC programs after the switch to the Macintosh hardware, and many gamers want to use their Macs to play games which are not compatible with Mac OS X; inpatient sorts want to play new games which haven't yet come out for the Macintosh.

The book, "Running Windows on your Mac," is a perfect resource for these people, especially those who like or need significant hand holding, in setting up their Macintosh machines to run multiple operating systems. The author, Dwight Silverman, is an experienced technical writer who clearly explains how to install and run Windows on the Macintosh. He also provides a primer in Part 1 of the book for Windows users on how to run Mac OS X; Part 2 is a primer on running Windows for Mac users. Although a variety of flavors of Microsoft's Windows can run on the Mac, the author focuses nearly exclusively on Windows Vista with a nod or two to Windows XP.

Mr. Silverman writes casually and assumes the reader is an average computer user who is willing to upgrade his or her computer skills but would like some patient guidance. Geeks and power users will be disappointed in the presentation and the book is unlikely to be of much use to them. But for many Mac users wanting to run Windows, and especially for the many PC switchers, "Running Windows" maybe all that is needed to get up and running with two operating systems.

The book is a fairly typical Peachpit Press product - simply and clearly written and laden with illustrations, screenshots, charts, and sidebar Notes, Tips, and Warnings making the presentation easy to follow. In this case, there are step-by-step instructions (supported by screenshots) of how to install and configure the three "helper" programs which allow the Mac to run Windows. The Apple-supplied Boot Camp application allows one to boot into either Mac or Windows systems but not both at the same time. The other two are virtualization programs, Parallels and VMware, which run the two operating systems simultaneously. There are nice comparison charts showing the positives and negatives of each approach.

The sections dealing with the Mac OS are more complete than those dealing with Windows. There is a section on how to configure the OS X System Preferences and an overview of the included Mac applications like the iLife suite of music, photo, iChat, calendar, etc, as well as utilities for backup, searching, and networking. For Windows, there are sections on the filesystem, desktop, security issues, and even how to install Windows drivers. There are comparisons of the Mac and Windows keyboard and mouse indicating the relatively minor but important differences.

Using any of the three helper applications is relatively easy but the guidance here can provide necessary confidence for some users. The primers on the Mac OS X and on Windows Vista are basic but enough to get unacquainted users up to speed quickly. For each of the approaches Silverman discusses some (not so very) advanced topics, helpful to non-geeks.

This is a modestly intended volume but one which satisfies its purpose well.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2008 1:28 PM PDT

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