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Total OS X Preview

by Derrick Story

As we put the finishing touches on Learning Unix for Mac OS X, which will come out early this summer, we've teamed up with Macworld magazine to produce "Total OS X", a special newsstand-only edition that contains a mountain of Mac OS X info, including essential Unix tips and tricks.

This isn't news for newbies. Contributors include David Pogue, Bruce W. Perry, Jason Snell, Rick LePage, Chris Stone, and a cast of seasoned Mac writers. The package includes an 126-page expanded edition of the magazine, a 36-page Mac OS X Tips and Unix Tricks booklet, plus two CDs full of content.

Unix Tricks Guide

In the Tips and Tricks guide, Jason Snell adapted a number of sections from O'Reilly's Learning the Unix Operating System, fifth edition. Jason covers the Unix shell, the file system, and input and output. The guide also contains 50 useful Mac OS X tips, such as how to force quit from the Dock and how to enable personal file sharing.

Pogue on Mac OS X

David Pogue also contributes lots of heavy artillery to the expanded magazine edition. His popular "Where Did It Go?" section is reprinted from Mac OS X: The Missing Manual. David also wrote an article titled "What, We Worry?", where he advises not to worry about the little things in Mac OS X, because in the end everything will be fine.

MacWorld Magazine

Total OS X is a cooperative effort between Macworld and O'Reilly. The newsstand-only edition includes an expanded magazine, Tips and Tricks guide, and two CDs.

Macworld editor Jason Snell chims in with a strong overview to Mac OS X that goes way beyond the typical superficial treatment we often see published. Jason digs down into areas such as memory advance, preemptive multitasking, virtual memory, and multithreading.

Another O'Reilly contributor, Bruce W. Perry, adds his AppleScript expertise to the "Top Mac OS X Secrets" section of the magazine. Bruce talks about the AppleScript hooks to SOAP and Web Services in his article, "AppleScript Extends Its Reach."

The "Secrets" section also contains excellent articles on networking, root access, and the Apache Web server built in to Mac OS X.

Other beefy areas in the special edition cover font handling and troubleshooting. And if you want to explore current Mac OS X software and products, Macworld has included a 30-page product guide that includes utilities, killer apps, and must-have software.

Not One, but Two CDs

The Macworld/O'Reilly special edition includes not one, but two CDs. Disc One opens with a QuickTime introduction by Chris Breen, then gives you menu choices for "Tips for OS X" (created by the good folks over at, Office X Test Drive, and a "Cool Tools for Mac OS X" compiled by the Macworld editors.

One of the best features of Disc Two is the shareware guide that contains links and descriptions to more than 100 shareware applications for Mac OS X. The disc also contains product demos and a resource guide.

Bringing It Home

Total OS X is a newsstand-only edition, so regular Macworld mag subscribers won't receive it in the mail. It's on the streets now for $9.95 US and $12.95 Canadian.

If you want to read a little background on how the Macworld/O'Reilly partnership began, check out my weblog titled, "Total OS X." Sign of Good Things to Come?.