Books for Mac Newbies?

Lyle

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I'm looking for recommendations for a tutorial-style guide to Macs and Mac OS X.

My wife loves her iBook, but only knows how to use a handful of applications (e.g. Mail, Safari and Word). She doesn't know how to do a lot of the other basic things that most of us take for granted: tasks related to file management, copying and pasting between applications, that sort of thing.

I have David Pogue's Missing Manual for Mac OS X (a great book IMO) but that's just not something that's she's going to sit down and read. Her attention span is nonexistent when it comes to even remotely technical books.

She's tried to describe to me what kind of guide she's looking for. When we bought her new car (an Accord) last year, it came with the standard owner's manual as well as a very short sort of flip chart that summarized all of the car's operations. Now, she will probably never read the former, but she did take the time to sit down and look through the latter. She's looking for something along those lines, a guide that succinctly describes how to get things done. I have the feeling that a big part of the appeal is that she's rewarded with quick feedback from a guide like that -- just (1) do this, then (2) do this, and finally (3) do that, and you will have burned a CD with backups of your documents. Or something like that.

All advice is welcome. :D
 

pianoman

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May 31, 2006
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might i suggest you make her a "cheat-sheet" yourself? i'm sure she would appreciate your help and you might even learn a few things in the process. just find out what she wants to do and type up instructions for doing so like you mentioned (1 do this; 2 do this; 3 this will happen, etc.).

i was browsing the apple website earlier and i saw a list of books that were for newbies. i have also seen some books at the apple store - not all of them are super-technical. i can't recall the site right now, but i'll try to find it and post a link.

edit: the site is apple's "resources" site: http://www.apple.com/macosx/resources/
 

thedude110

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Jun 13, 2005
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Tanglewood said:
You may want to check the video podcasts that they have on iTMS. I did a quick search on there and found this tutorial ScreenCast Online.
I'll second that -- if the training is visual or interactive, it's more likely to hold anyone's attention.

Here are two OS X training DVDs from Amazon -- pricey (about $35 each), but maybe they'll be more effective than a book?

Link 1.

Link 2.

Whatever you chooose, do give us a product review -- it would be good to know what resources are helpful (and what resources aren't helpful) in learning the OS.
 

taybone

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Mar 29, 2006
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Leo Laporte, the 'KFI Tech Guy', wrote a fairly small book on OSX that you might want to look at. His radio show is amazing, by the way, and available on iTunes.
 

iTwitch

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Mar 30, 2006
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I'll second a book by D. Pogue, I found "Mac OS X Tiger Edition" a great help getting me up to speed with my iBook. Of course MacForums is here to fill in any cracks.

Edit: That's the one you have, instead of having her read it through just use it as a reference.
 

Lyle

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Tanglewood said:
You may want to check the video podcasts that they have on iTMS. I did a quick search on there and found this tutorial ScreenCast Online.

I know its not a book, but it might help.
These look interesting. I may even need to watch some of these. ;)

The ones that sound most applicable for her (I think) are the "OS X Basics" series (e.g. "The Finder", "The Dock", "Spotlight Basics", "Expose"). At least some of these are free, so we can check 'em out before we sign up.
 

Lyle

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pianoman said:
might i suggest you make her a "cheat-sheet" yourself? i'm sure she would appreciate your help and you might even learn a few things in the process. just find out what she wants to do and type up instructions for doing so like you mentioned (1 do this; 2 do this; 3 this will happen, etc.).
I have done this for some things, sort of on an as-needed basis. I guess I'm trying to be a little more proactive about it and find some method to teach her about stuff before she actually needs it. My problem is that I'm not all that good at anticipating what it is that she's going to have trouble with.

pianoman said:
i was browsing the apple website earlier and i saw a list of books that were for newbies...
Thanks. I stopped by B&N on the way home from work last night and found a few contenders:
  • Teach Yourself Visually: Mac OS X Tiger
  • The Little Mac Book: Tiger Edition, by Robin Williams
  • Maran Illustrated: Mac OS X v. 10.4 Tiger
  • ... and one other one that I can't recall the name of at the moment.
I need to check on Amazon.com to see what kinds of reviews these books are getting.
 

Lyle

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d wade said:
"macs for dummies"
Yeah, I thought of those. The "Dummies" series of books seem to suffer from wide variations in quality, though. I've seen some that were OK, and others that were pretty useless. They are also usually pretty heavy on B&W text, and light on color pictures, which would not work for my wife at all. She's a very visual learner.
 

Lyle

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thedude110 said:
I'll second that -- if the training is visual or interactive, it's more likely to hold anyone's attention.
Good point. Yes, my wife's definitely more of a visual learner.

thedude110 said:
Here are two OS X training DVDs from Amazon -- pricey (about $35 each), but maybe they'll be more effective than a book?
A little pricey, but perhaps I could find used copies on eBay or elsewhere. Neither of the titles has much to go on in terms of reviews, so I don't want to risk too much money on them. ;)

thedude110 said:
Whatever you chooose, do give us a product review -- it would be good to know what resources are helpful (and what resources aren't helpful) in learning the OS.
Will do.
 

Lyle

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adk said:
Anything written by David Pogue is the best beginning mac book money can buy.
I agree; I already have the Missing Manual and it was a big help to me when I "switched" to Macs several years back. I've recommended it to my colleagues who are interested in Mac OS X. The problem in this case is that his books aren't really written in the tutorial, step-by-step learning approach that I think my wife needs.
 

Lyle

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taybone said:
Leo Laporte, the 'KFI Tech Guy', wrote a fairly small book on OSX that you might want to look at. His radio show is amazing, by the way, and available on iTunes.
Yeah, I like Leo. I guess I didn't know that he'd written an OS X book. Will look for that one too.
 

gauchogolfer

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Jan 28, 2005
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A place I used to work at had a subscription to lynda.com, and I learned GoLive using their video tutorials, and found them excellent. I think they also have a Tiger tutorial section, that lasts about 7 hours. IIRC you can download the tutorials from them, or watch online.

They have an introduction section that is free, if you'd like to give it a preview. link
 

Lyle

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gauchogolfer said:
A place I used to work had a subscription to lynda.com, and I learned GoLive using their video tutorials, and found them excellent. I think they also have a Tiger tutorial section, that lasts about 7 hours. IIRC you can download the tutorials from them, or watch online.

They have an introduction section that is free, if you'd like to give it a preview. link
Cool, thanks for the lead.