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Mac OS X Help Line, Tiger Edition

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With every update, Mac OS X grows more powerful, more dependable, and easier to use--and Mac OS X Tiger is no exception. But along with the new features come fresh issues--new areas to troubleshoot, new functionality to unravel, and new glitches waiting to confound even the savviest Mac users. Not to worry. Best-selling author and Mac guru Ted Landau turns his diagnostician's eye on Mac OS X Tiger, arming readers with fix-it knowledge This popular fix-it classic offers more troubleshooting information, tips, and hacks than any other single volume. Chock-full of detailed, understandable advice for maintaining and troubleshooting Mac OS X Tiger, this comprehensive reference is where users will turn before they head to the repair shop. Readers will find solutions for every Mac OS X problem under the sun plus the technical grounding they need to turn a diagnostic eye on their own operating systems. Filled with tips, tools, and preventive measures, the guide includes in-depth coverage of Library directories and folders, file and font maintenance, crash prevention and recovery, and more.

Another way of phrasing this question is, "How is Mac OS X Help Line different from other Mac OS X books? What makes it unique?" My answer zeros in on three key points:

  • Mac OS X Help Line focuses on troubleshooting. More than anything else, this is what separates the book from others that might seem similar. When something goes wrong with your Mac, this is the book you want to turn to first. And with it weighing in at more than 1100 pages, I am certain that there is no other book that covers troubleshooting in as much detail.

  • Mac OS X Help Line covers more than just troubleshooting. It has always been my belief that the best way to effectively troubleshoot is to understand what is going on, rather than blindly following a set of steps that fix the problem. Therefore, this book goes into detail about the fundamentals that lie behind the troubleshooting solutions. You'll learn about what happens during the Mac's startup process, what hides inside Mac OS X packages, what the contents of Mac OS X's Library folders do, how Mac OS X's permissions work, and much more. Again, it is doubtful that you will find as much depth on these topics in any other book.

  • Although Mac OS X Help Line spends a healthy amount of space on Unix and troubleshooting solutions that depend on Unix, it does not attempt to provide in-depth coverage of the Unix software that lies beneath Mac OS X. I view this as an asset. I think that, as much as possible, fixing common problems on your Mac should not require knowledge of Unix. Further, much of what is covered in books that have a greater emphasis on Unix is of little interest to all but the smallest minority of Mac users. It is interesting, for example, that you can use Unix to set up a mail server on your Mac or do Perl scripting, but those are not things that most Mac users will ever attemptand certainly they should not be needed for troubleshooting.

In the end, Mac OS X Help Line is not a beginning-level introduction to Mac OS X. Neither is it a book to answer all your Unix-related questions about Mac OS X. But if you are seeking a book that explains the underpinnings of how Mac OS X works, that can take you from a beginning user to an advanced one, and that can provide the tools to solve almost any troubleshooting problem you may confront, then this is the book you want.

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