Where to Go From Here: Appendix D - Mac OS X: Missing Manual Leopard

by David Pogue

If read in a comfortable chair with good lighting, this book can be the foundation of a sturdy Mac OS X education. But particularly when it comes to mastering the Unix side of this operating system, years of study may await you still.

Mac OS X: Missing Manual Leopard book cover

This excerpt is from Mac OS X: Missing Manual Leopard . Filled with step-by-step tutorials that will have you creating detailed 3-D objects quickly, Google SketchUp: The Missing Manual offers crystal-clear instructions for using every feature. You'll learn to use the basic tools, build and animate models, and place objects in Google Earth, with lots of real-world examples to show you how it's done.

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Web Sites

The Web is the salvation of the Mac OS X fan, especially considering the information vacuum that marked Mac OS X's early days. The Internet was the only place where people could find out what the heck was going on with their beloved Macs. Here are the most notable Web sites for learning the finer points of Mac OS X.

Mac OS X

  • www.macosxhints.com. A gold mine of tips, tricks, and hints.

  • www.macintouch.com. An excellent daily dose of reporting about Mac questions, problems, and news.

  • www.osxfaq.com. Unix tips and techniques, frequently asked questions, and links to useful sites.

  • www.resexcellence.com. A rich source of information on the underpinnings of Mac OS X, with a focus on changing them.

  • www.versiontracker.com and www.macupdate.com. Massive databases that track, and provide links to, all the latest software for Mac OS X.

  • www.apple.com/developer. Even if you aren't a developer, joining the Developer Connection (Apple's programmers' club) gets you an email newsletter and access to the discussion boards, which are a great place for hearing Mac news first—all for free. (Pay $500 a year to become a Select member, and you get CDs mailed to you containing upcoming versions of Mac OS X.)

  • www.macobserver.com. A good source for news and commentary about the Mac and related products.

  • www.macworld.com. The discussion boards are an ideal place to find solutions for problems. When a bug pops up, the posts here are a great place to look for fixes.

  • www.macfixit.com. The ultimate Mac troubleshooting Web site, complete with a hotbed of Mac OS X discussion.

  • www.macdevcenter.com. O'Reilly's own Mac site. Full of tutorials, news, and interesting weblogs (techie diaries).

  • www.geekculture.com. A hilarious satire site, dedicated to lampooning our tech addiction—especially Apple tech. Perhaps best known for the David Pogue's Head icon for Mac OS X (http://geekculture.com/download/davidpogue.html).

    Or perhaps not.

Mac OS X–Style Unix Lessons and Reference


Typing unix for beginners into a search page like Google.com nets dozens of superb help, tutorial, and reference Web sites. If possible, stick to those that feature the bash shell; that way, everything you learn online should be perfectly applicable to navigating Mac OS X via Terminal.

Free Email Newsletters

  • The OS X list . Once you've signed up (at www.themacintoshguy.com/lists/index.html), your email In box will overflow with Mac OS X discussion, chatter, and discoveries. A great place to ask questions, both simple and difficult.

  • TidBITS.com. A free, weekly Mac newsletter with lots of useful tricks, reviews, and news.

  • Apple's own newsletters. At www.apple.com/enews/subscribe, you can sign up for free weekly newsletters on a variety of topics: music, QuickTime, programming, and so on.

Advanced Books, Programming Books

By a happy coincidence, this book is published by O'Reilly Media, the industry's leading source of technical books for Mac users, programmers, and system administrators. If this book has whetted your appetite for more advanced topics, these current and upcoming books on Unix, programming Mac OS X, and administering large networks could come in handy.

Mac Essentials

  • AppleScript: The Missing Manual by Adam Goldstein. This book is a patient, witty guide to the basics of scripting your Mac with AppleScript. Step-by-step examples include batch-renaming files in the Finder, altering and applying text styles in TextEdit, tweaking QuickTime movie files, and much more.

  • AppleScript: The Definitive Guide by Matt Neuburg. Once you've got the basics down, this book takes you deeper into AppleScript, teaching you the finer details of the language from the ground up.

  • Mac OS X Leopard Pocket Guide by Chuck Toporek. Need a handy guide to Mac OS X Leopard that you can carry around in your laptop bag? This small book fits in your pocket just as easily as it does your computer bag, and includes hundreds of tips for using and configuring Mac OS X 10.5.

Unix Essentials

  • Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger by Dave Taylor. A tour of the Mac's Unix base, for the uninitiated. Includes descriptions of the hundreds of Unix programs that come with the Mac. (Plenty of this material is relevant, although the book has not been updated for Leopard.)

  • Learning the bash Shell, 3rd Edition, by Cameron Newham. If you plan on using the Terminal application to do Unixy stuff on your Mac, this book shows you your way around Leopard's default shell, bash.

  • Learning GNU Emacs, 3rd Edition, by Debra Cameron, James Elliott, Marc Loy, Eric S. Raymond, and Bill Rosenblatt. A guide to the GNU emacs editor, one of the most widely used and powerful Unix text editors.

  • Learning the vi and vim Editors, 7th Edition, by Linda Lamb, Elbert Hannah, and Arnold Robbins. A complete guide to editing with vi and vim, the text editors available on nearly every Unix system.

  • Unix Power Tools , 3rd Edition, by Shelley Powers, Jerry Peek, Tim O'Reilly, and Mike Loukides. Practical advice about most every aspect of advanced Unix: POSIX utilities, GNU versions, detailed bash, tcsh, and ksh shell coverage, and a strong emphasis on Perl.

Mac OS X Administration

  • Postfix: The Definitive Guide by Kyle D. Dent. If you're planning to run your own email server, this book shows you how to configure and run Mac OS X's built-in mail server, Postfix.

  • Apache: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition, by Ben Laurie and Peter Laurie. Describes how to set up and secure the Apache Web server software.

  • Apache Cookbook, 2nd Edition, by Ken Coar and Rich Bowen. A collection of configuration examples for all Apache users, from novices to advanced practitioners.

If you enjoyed this excerpt, buy a copy of Mac OS X: Missing Manual Leopard .