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Mac OS X Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tricks 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 063-6920004608
ISBN-10: 0596004605
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rael Dornfest is a Researcher at the O'Reilly & Associates focusing on technologies just beyond the pale. He assesses, experiments, programs, and writes for the O'Reilly network and O'Reilly publications. Dornfest is Program Chair of the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, Chair of the RSS-DEV Working Group, and developer of Meerkat: An Open Wire Service. In his copious free time, he develops bits and bobs of Open Source software and maintains his raelity bytes Weblog.

Kevin Hemenway, coauthor of Mac OS X Hacks, is better known as Morbus Iff, the creator of disobey.com, which bills itself as "content for the discontented." Publisher and developer of more home cooking than you could ever imagine, he'd love to give you a Fry Pan of Intellect upside the head. Politely, of course. And with love.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (March 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596004605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596004606
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,699,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a very interesting read. For folks that like their solutions quick and clean this the book for you. The book is designed to be used by reading "chunks" to accomplish your desired hack, in the vein of "How to" articles popularized by the now defunct MacUser magazine. Dornfest and Hemenway put together a slick, easy to read guide with some very useful tips and tricks for Mac OS X. The authors have impressive credentials in the Mac community and several equally qualified professionals are credited with contributions to the tome.
The book is divided into nine chapters, each with about 10 tips. The subjects include Files, Startup, Multimedia and iApps, The User Interface, UNIX and the Terminal, Networking, Email, The Web, and Databases. Each tip is one to three pages long and well laid out in easy to follow step-wise instructions. A simple "thermometer" icon is given with each tip to alert the user to the level of difficulty. Additionally, throughout the book the authors alert users to areas where they should be careful. Being new to the Unix environment, I found the tips on use of the Terminal application and several utilities that are unique to Unix to be a valuable introduction for me. After the thorough introduction to the Terminal application, Dornfest and Hemenway proceed to build on the basics by demonstrating the usefulness of the application with more advanced commands such as chmod and sudo.
Tricks covered include: Stubborn trash, stuck images and Jammed CDs; Turning your Mac into a Hard Drive; Hijacking Audio from Mac Apps; Top Screenshots Tips; Interacting with the UNIX Shell from AppleScript; Sharing an Internet Connection; Creating Mail Aliases; and Serving up a Website with the Built-in Apache Server.
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Format: Paperback
Tim O'Reilly's blurb about the Hacks series of books includes the following: "I've always wanted to publish books that capture the essence of the hacker experience. I wanted a format that made it easy to present lots of small but useful tidbits - tips, tricks, and dare I say, hacks." One of my initial impressions regarding Mac OS X Hacks was that, despite each of the arcticles being dubbed a numbered "hack," many of them weren't, exactly, hacks. However, I think Tim's description does capture the sentiment with which the book seems to have been compiled - it's all about making your Mac distinctively yours, whether it's just by an ingenious combination of standard Preferences, installing third party utilities, or writing some yourself.
The book is especially useful in that each hack is written as a short, standalone article, so you don't have to have read #1-26 to be able to follow #27. If one article assumes or benefits from something covered in another, it's explicitly referenced in the text, as are other sources to turn to for more information, on the web and in print. It also provides the benefit of long-time Mac experience from a number of different authors - you can find out what Derrick Story has learned the hard way from years of backing up his own laptop on the road, for example.
The authors do a good job of pointing out many little freeware and shareware utilities and workarounds for specific tasks - the sort of thing you'd usually have to spend half an hour digging through forum postings to find.
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Format: Paperback
...O'Reilly has never steered me wrong with books for UNIX, Windows, Perl, you name it. So therefore when I saw the "MAC OS X HACKS" book I immediately grabbed a copy. Having just finished "Google Hacks", another O'Reilly publication, I was eager to dive in and see if this book would be as useful as the Google book. I would not be disappointed. One of the unique aspects of this book is you can turn to any "hack" and begin applying it without having to read the others. The book is like a collection of many magazine articles brought together under one roof - and with all the media fluff removed. I was amazed at how a novice like me could easily follow the step-by-step instructions and not feel lost. I soon found myself using color-coded paperclips to mark off sections of the book for future reference in terms of what they did (OS setting, audio settings, etc.). You can dive right into some of the more advanced hacks, such as setting up your own mail server, without having to worry that the authors will assume you are familiar with how to do a particular step. They walk you through the entire process; complete with screen shots for some of the more tricky options, and let you focus on the task at hand.
Considering how much benefit this novice MAC OS X user got from the book, more advanced Macintosh users are likely to find that this book provides a quick "easy reference" for some of the more tricky or complicated setups. Since the book is organized into independent sections, one could easily use this for a desktop reference. Plus, it's not the "Macintosh for Dummies" type of book that seems to fill most shelves nowadays - the authors assume you want to do the advanced stuff with OS X, but just need some tips to get you going.
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