OS X El Capitan: The Missing Manual Paperback – Nov 30 2015
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The book that should have been in the box
About the Author
David Pogue is the founder of Yahoo Tech, having been groomed for the position by 13 years as the personal-technology columnist for the New York Times. He’s also a monthly columnist for Scientific American and host of science shows on PBS’s “NOVA.” He’s been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” since 2002.
With over 3 million books in print, David is one of the world’s bestselling how-to authors. He wrote or co-wrote seven books in the “for Dummies” series (including Macs, Magic, Opera, and Classical Music); in 1999, he launched his own series of complete, funny computer books called the Missing Manual series, which now includes 120 titles.
David graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1985, with distinction in Music, and he spent ten years conducting and arranging Broadway musicals in New York. He’s won two Emmy awards, two Webby awards, a Loeb award for journalism, and an honorary doctorate in music.
From the Publisher
About This Book
You can’t get OS X El Capitan on a disc or flash drive; it’s a download-only operating system. In other words, you don’t get a single page of printed instructions. To find your way around, you’re expected to use Apple’s online help system. And as you’ll quickly discover, these help pages are tersely written, offer very little technical depth, lack useful examples, and provide no tutorials whatsoever. You can’t mark your place, underline, or read them in the bathroom.
The purpose of this book, then, is to serve as the manual that should have accompanied OS X—version 10.11 in particular.
OS X El Capitan: The Missing Manual is designed to accommodate readers at every technical level. The primary discussions are written for advanced-beginner or intermediate Mac fans. But if you’re a Mac first-timer, miniature sidebar articles called Up to Speed provide the introductory information you need to understand the topic at hand. If you’re a Mac veteran, on the other hand, keep your eye out for similar shaded boxes called Power Users’ Clinic. They offer more technical tips, tricks, and shortcuts. When you write a book like this, you do a lot of soul-searching about how much stuff to cover. Of course, a thinner book, or at least a thinner-looking one, is always preferable; plenty of readers are intimidated by a book that dwarfs the Tokyo White Pages.
On the other hand, Apple keeps adding features and rarely takes them away. So this book isn’t getting any thinner. Even so, some chapters come with free downloadable appendixes—PDF documents, available on this book’s 'Missing CD' page (instructions in the book) that goes into further detail on some of the tweakiest features. (You’ll see references to them sprinkled throughout the book.) Maybe this idea will save a few trees—and a few back muscles when you try to pick this book up.
OS X El Capitan: The Missing Manual is divided into six parts, each containing several chapters:
Part One: The OS X Desktop covers everything you see on the screen when you turn on an OS X computer: folders, windows, icons, the Dock, the Sidebar, Spotlight, Dashboard, Spaces, Mission Control, Launchpad, Time Machine, menus, scroll bars, the Trash, aliases, the a menu, and so on.
Part Two: Programs in OS X is dedicated to the proposition that an operating system is little more than a launchpad for programs—the actual applications you use: email programs, web browsers, word processors, graphics suites, and so on. These chapters describe how to work with applications in OS X—how to open them, switch among them, swap data between them, and use them to create and open files.
Part Three: The Components of OS X is an item-by-item discussion of the software nuggets that make up this operating system—the 30-ish panels of System Preferences and the 50-some programs in your Applications and Utilities folders.
Part Four: The Technologies of OS X treads in more advanced territory, like networking and file sharing. These chapters also cover the visual talents of OS X (fonts, printing, graphics) and its multimedia gifts (sound, speech, movies).
Part Five: OS X Online covers all the Internet features of OS X, including the Mail email program and the Safari web browser; Messages for instant messaging and audio or video chats; Internet sharing; Apple’s free, online iCloud services; and connecting to and controlling your Mac from across the wires—FTP, SSH, VPN, and so on.
Part Six: Appendixes. This book’s appendixes include guidance on installing this operating system; a troubleshooting handbook; a Windows-to-Mac dictionary (to help Windows refugees find the new locations of familiar features in OS X); and a thorough master list of all the keyboard shortcuts and trackpad/mouse gestures in OS X.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I REALLY like to know all of the little tricks and options to make a computer work exactly the way I like. This Missing Manual is getting me a lot closer to the OS X power user I want to become. Like all of the Missing Manuals, this book is well-written and contains a wealth of helpful info. Like my review title says, I've barely cracked the book and I've already learned a lot of excellent info. Just get this book, you won't regret it!
The OS X El Capitan text in the ongoing series of "The Missing Manual" proved it was well worth its cost not two weeks after I had upgraded my older iMac desktop from Lion to El Capitan and hit a sudden drive problem that immediately stalled my browser with the dreaded spinning ball of death, repeatedly. By researching several possible solutions in the manual, I was able to boot up into a safe mode, access the utility, get the drive self-repaired and the browser conflict resolved. Having the book close by saved me a lot of time as well as the cost and wear 'n' tear of taking my iMac into the store. You have to remember that no matter what your level of familiarity or expertise with Macs and PC's, upgrading to a brand new operating system can very quickly throw you into a state of real unknown. Much of what once worked on the old OS, no longer applies at all.
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, California)
I enjoyed reading the earlier editions of this book on Macintosh Operating Systems, learning a lot from David Pogue’s lucid expository style laced with humor.
The publisher, O’Reilly Media, rightly claims:
“The Missing Manuals are witty, well written guides to computer products that don’t come with printed manuals (which is just about all of them). Each book features a handcrafted index; cross-references to specific page numbers, not just ‘see Chapter 14’; and an ironclad promise never to put an apostrophe in the possessive pronouns ‘its’.” As a professional editor and writer, I admire this promise because I find far too many recent books blemished with this particular error.
This comprehensive book exemplifies David Pogue’s writing style. In my copy of the book, I’ve marked numerous examples that illustrate Pogue’s style. Here are five of the marked, chosen randomly from the beginning, middle, and closing pages.
“OS X is an impressive technical achievement ; many experts call it the personal-computer operating system on earth. But beware its name. The X is meant to be a Roman numeral, pronounced ‘ten.’ Don’t say, ‘oh, ess ex.’ You’ll get funny looks” (page 1).
“When you write a book like this, you do a lot of soul-searching about how much stuff to cover. Of course, a thinner book, or at least a thinner-looking one, is always preferable; plenty of readers are intimidated by a book that dwarfs the Tokyo White Pages. On the other hand, Apple keeps adding features and rarely takes them away. So this book isn’t getting any thinner” (page 7).
“Handwriting Recognition: In the same way your grandmother turned yesterday’s dinner into today’s sandwich and tomorrow’s soup, Apple recycled the handwriting technology of its failed Newton handheld and added it to OS X, It’s now called Ink, and it does exactly what it used to: turn your handwriting into typed text in any program. Can Ink replace the keyboard? Not for anything more than quick notes, that’s for sure. But it can be handy when you’re web surfing, sketching, filling in database forms, and so on” (249).
“Maps: When Apple brought its own Maps app to the iPhone in 2012, the underlying databases had a lot of problems. They didn’t include nearly as many points of interest as Google. Addresses were sometimes wrong. Satellite view showed bridges and roads melting into the sea…. In El Capitan, Maps has gotten smarter: It can now propose public-transportation routes—complete with the times and names of subways, trains, and buses—in seven U.S. cities, with more to come” (page 398).
“Setting Up Messages: There are some great chat apps that Messages can’t touch.… Skype, the granddaddy of all chat programs, which offers audio and video chats like Messages, but also connects to Skype running on Windows, iPhones, Android phones and so on” (page 721).
The book comprises 19 chapters and 4 appendices. Yes, the 828-page book is heavy, but its numerous light touches and detailed "hand-crafted" index earn it five stars. (The Index refers to the previous edition of the book, "OS X YOSEMITE: The Missing Manual" in its entries and page numbers. The mismatch is occasional which proves that El Capitan is not all that different from Yosemite.) An alternative to reading the whole book is to use it as a reference while doing the hands-on exercises in the much briefer "Teach Yourself Visually OS X El Capitan."
Part One: The OS X Desktop
1. Folders, Windows & Finder Tabs
2. Organizing Your Stuff
4. Dock, Desktop & Toolbars
Part Two: Programs in OS X
5. Documents, Programs & Mission Control
6. Data: Typing, Dictating, Sharing & Backing Up
7. Mac+iPhone: Handoff, Airdrop & Continuiting
Part Three: The Components of OS X
8. System Preferences
10. The Free Programs of OS X
Part Four: The Technologies of OS X
11. Accounts, Security & Gatekeeper
12. Networking, File Sharing & AirDrop
13. Graphics, Fonts & Printing
14. Sound, Movies & Speech
Part Five: OS X Online
15. Internet Setup & iCloud
16. Mail & Contents
19. FTP, SSH, VPN & Web Sharing
Part Six: Appendixes
A. Installing OS X El Capitan
C. The Windows-to-Mac Dictionary
D. Master OS X Secret Keystroke List
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