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Sleek Panther

David Pogue continues to share his insights in this latest entry, part of his excellent series on the Mac OS and how to make it do your bidding.

Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Panther Edition,” by David Pogue (O’Reilly), is the latest in Pogue’s excellent series on the Mac OS and how to make it do your bidding. Panther (formally, Mac OS X v10.3) was introduced by Apple last fall, continuing their development of this robust, Unix-based operating system. Pogue’s update from his previous Jaguar (v10.2) Missing Manual arrived a couple of months later.

Pogue writes in a clear, entertaining style, improving the sometimes dry subject matter with illustrations and interesting sidebars. He covers both Mac OS X and the “iApps” that come with it, as well as related topics like networking and security. The book is usable as both a manual and a reference; one can read it from front to back or dive in via the comprehensive index to answer a particular question. As with his previous Mac OS X tomes, Pogue addresses the needs of all three constituencies: those experiencing the Mac for the first time, those graduating from Mac OS 9, and those switching from Windows. For instance, for the latter two he provides a couple of “Where’d It Go?” appendices to facilitate navigation in this new and unfamiliar territory.

For us long-time Mac users who still have to commute between the old and new neighborhoods for awhile, he offers strategies–such as partitioning your drive–for both running Mac OS 9 in the Classic environment (emulated from within Mac OS X) and setting up a dual-boot system.

I’ve been a Mac user since 1989, starting with an SE “toaster” and System 6.0.2. Frankly, Mac OS 9 is closer to that 15-year-old system than it is to OS X. I put off upgrading for three years, rationalizing that OS X was still a work in progress and that it didn’t support all my applications. However, those excuses no longer wash, and I finally took the plunge. With Pogue’s help, everything is going smoothly, and I’m wondering what took me so long.

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