- File Size: 1819 KB
- Print Length: 118 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Ars Technica (July 18, 2011)
- Publication Date: July 18, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005DHYPR4
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,150 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: the Ars Technica Review Kindle Edition
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Because this e-book I'm reviewing is, uncharacteristically, a review of another product, the latest (at the time of this writing) Mac operating system release from Apple: Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. But while I read it partially to know whether, or rather, when I should buy Lion, (I should further disclose I have not bought Lion yet), this review goes way beyond the purchase research information.
So first thing: for a review, this is long; however if you see it as an essay, it's of reasonable length: the iPad Kindle app, which was the only way I read that e-book, makes it 136 pages at default font size. Be prepared to devote a whole evening to it. This is because John Siracusa, as with his previous Mac OS X reviews, does not just tell you why you should (or shouldn't buy) the product, but does a deep exploration of everything new in this release, be it application features or underlying technologies.
You should consider "Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: the Ars Technica Review" a vulgarization, not of scientific research, but of the work done by Apple on Mac OS X Lion. Practically everything in Mac OS X Lion that you could benefit from knowing the presence of, and then some, is explained in there, starting from the source of the problem the feature or technology is supposed to solve, to why Apple solved it that way. The sections on file system changes, document revisions, and resolution independence were particularly interesting, as I was wondering how Apple implemented these features they had been boasting prior to the release, and what the impact of this implementation is.
All in all, this essay should remain well useful enough long after you have installed Lion for all the information that you may not have noticed from using Lion but that this book not only mentions, but explains. The only things I think are missing (which I care about only because I program on Macs) are information on whether the built-in executables are 64-bit only, more information on AirDrop and WiFi Direct, on AVFoundation and its relationship with QTKit, and whether Apple added trim support for SSDs; but these are mere details compared to the sea of information contained in this "review".
But now I need to get to the formatting, and this is where things get ugly. Your experience may be different on another device, but this is what I noticed on the iPad Kindle app.
To begin with, the formatting does not feel like that of a book, even an e-book. Apostrophes and quotes are straight, paragraphs are not justified, nor is the first line of each paragraph indented. There are also a few minor issues, such as a line in the introduction ending on "many" and a lot of blank space, because "years--perhaps" follows, which is considered a single word, and could not fit in that space while "years" could.
Text also seems to reflow when coming back to the Kindle app for no good reason, meaning any spatial references we might have had on where we left off are lost; given the author's opinion on the spatial Finder, this is certainly ironic. In some cases whole paragraphs became blue and underlined (which would normally indicate a link) for no obvious reason.
Image captions can sometimes end up in the page separate from the image it was supposed to caption. And the screenshots, which often feature transparency, in fact have a white background which is noticeable over even the "white" theme of the Kindle app.
The most tiring, however, is that there is no way to preview the destination of a link, and John Siracusa puts a lot of those if you need some more background on some existing technology (in particular he often references his previous Mac OS X reviews), or simply for flavor (be sure, if you can, to have the Space Harrier remix playing in the background while you read, you can do so on the iPad by having Safari play the mp3 in the background); if you have already visited the page he references, you can only know by hitting the link, waiting for the iPad to switch to Safari, noticing that you have, in fact, already visited that page, and switching back to the Kindle app.
This last issue was, in fact, enough reason for me to read the second part of the review as I usually do, on the web using my Mac. This is not really praise for this Kindle edition.
Now do these issues exist because this essay is too rooted in the web to really make sense as an e-book, or could the formatting be fixed and provide a satisfying ebook, or is the iPad Kindle app not up to the task, or it the Kindle system (esp. the formatting) as a whole not up to the task? I do not know, nor do I care; I do not want to blame anyone here, and the formatter and Amazon will have to work together to address this criticism. What I do know is that this e-book is not a satisfying product and reading the review on the web site is actually more convenient, even taking into account the fact the e-book could be read on the beach without a connection and the web site not.
Now don't get me wrong, I do not regret my purchase, if only because it supports ArsTechnica. I would have made the purchase anyway had I known this, even if only to check what the Ars guys were up to with their e-books. Just be aware of this before purchase.
All that being said, after buying this Kindle version of the review, I am going back and reading it on the [...] website instead. The review was obviously formatted for the website, with movies, links, mouseover graphics, present and sized appropriately on the website. The translation to the Kindle version is awkward at best. The content is all there, except for the movies, but the formatting is honestly a mess. Page breaks split images from their discussion, or two related images from each other, and the sizing on the images seems somewhat random. There seem to be strange font size or spacing changes on many pages.
I'm happy to support Siracusa's work and Ars Technica with an inexpensive purchase like this, but in retrospect I think the money would have been better spent on a subscription to their website, which will also let you download versions of the review for offline reading, if desired. My review is 5 stars for the content, 3 stars for the Kindle delivery, averaged to 4 overall.
Save your money and subscribe to Ars Premier instead [...]. You can get PDF, ePub and Mobi formatted documents which work on every other eReader.