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The Macintosh iLife 04: An Interactive Guide to iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand Paperback – June 7, 2004
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The Macintosh isn't meant to be a computer, really, but rather an appliance that enables you to have more fun, and enjoy yourself in novel ways (hence iLife, Apple's name for a set of hardware and software technologies primarily for home users). The Macintosh iLife 2004 combines multimedia presentations on a DVD with printed illustrations and text. The combination should enable even the most timid technophobe to assemble a new Macintosh, connect it to the Internet, then hook up a digital camera and an iPod to the system--and use the collection of devices to gather music online, edit video, publish photos on the Web, and create multimedia DVDs. The book, in short, covers everything a young family would want to do with their Mac in order to keep the folks at home up to date on the growth of a grandchild.
The printed portion of this publication (the book) uses many screen shots. There are often three or four on a single page, cropped to call attention to the important parts of each. Callouts--arrows and captions--highlight key controls and other features on each screen shot; they serve as how-to instructions. The DVD can run on a computer or DVD-equipped television, and includes both video lectures and full-motion screen captures. The DVD helpfully makes reference to pages in the book. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to use the iLife series of applications and hardware devices. Coverage touches on iTunes (music, on the Internet and on an iPod), iPhoto (editing, sorting, and publishing photos from a digital camera), iMovie (editing video), iDVD (burning multimedia DVDs), and GarageBand (creating music).
About the Author
Jim Heid, co-author of Sell it on eBay: TechTV's Guide to Successful Online Auctions, is one of the most respected computer authors and trainers in the United States. He began using eBay in 1998 to feed his wife's fondness for poodle paraphernalia. A columnist for Macworld magazine since 1985, he's the author of several best-selling books, including The Macintosh iLife.
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He also provides helpful tips that apply to each topic in general and not just the application. For example, in the iPhoto section he has tips on how to compose images properly. In the iMovie section he has tips on what chapter markers to use for wedding videos (and other common scenarios). This may seem like nothing but it's the practical hints that allow you to get the most out of these applications. Not just learning about which buttons to push.
The included DVD is well done and augments the book with a step by step explanation that you can follow visually.
This book is not for intermediate or expert level readers. For those folks I would start by recommending an O'Reilly book that covers your specific topic. For example photographers should try Derrick Story's excellent iPhoto 4 book. You will get more in-depth coverage of all of the features of iPhoto in that book.
O'Reilly has an intermediate level book that covers all of the iLife features that was just recently published called iLife '04. I recommend this book instead for beginners.
Apple doesn't include much documention with their iLife products. This book is a quick and easy way to learn these packages. The large number of illustrations and the two hour movie that's included with the book is just about the fastest way possible to get started. It's a like the Apple philosophy.
The basic concept of computers, that they aren't very bright and persist in doing just what you tell them to do rather than what you want them to do is very well brought out. There is good reason that this book is the top-selling book on iLife.
The layout of the book is well done. It is intended that each couple of pages covers one task that you might want to do. You could go through them one at a time, but you don't have to. The index will quickly direct you to getting the task done that is the emergency of the moment.
The layout of the book is highly accessible. Rather than imposing pages of unrelenting text, the book is filled with screenshots, diagrams and all sorts of helpful, easy-to-follow instructions. Even with all the pictures, this book is no light-weight. There is a wealth of information on all the iLife products.
In my house, I've heard the following said about this book, "he explains things really well". High praise indeed!
I just wanted to address one criticism: S. Brown said that the book doesn't cover Apple's GarageBand. I suspect he or she reviewed the older edition (also available here on Amazon), because the new edition most definitely covers GarageBand. With the DVD, you even get to watch over my shoulder as I compose and perform a song. (I'll leave it up to other reviewers to judge my musical abilities. :-)
Enough said. I appreciate all feedback and reviews of the book -- but please be sure you're reviewing the latest edition, which has "04" in its title: "The Macintosh iLife '04."