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iBook Book Review:

"Mac OS 9: The Missing Manual"

by David Pogue

 Review by Ted Bade


Mac OS 9 The Missing Manual suggested retail price is $17.95 and is published by Pogue Press/O'Reilly. The 472 page Paperback Edition of "Mac OS 9 The Missing Manual" is now shipping. You can order it now and Amazon will ship it to you.

You can Order it Now From !

I can remember a time when a computer or a major piece of software actually came with a manual. While they weren't always well written, they usually contained some useful information. Today it is common to buy a computer and even some software without a manual or that includes one that is very very sparse.

The missing manual series fills this gap.

These manuals are even better then the "included" manuals of olde. You get an experienced author, one who knows how to communicate in a simple language and understands using the items from a users not a programmers viewpoint.

Mac OS 9:The Missing Manual is one such book. Written by David Pogue (my favorite author of Macintosh books), it is well written and very thorough.

The concepts are explained in a manner that should be easy for the novice user. A book like this isn't necessarily something a more advanced user would need, but the novice user will love it.

The layout of the book begins with basic desktop concepts, using windows, icons, and so forth, then moves on to applications, using it Online, networking, printing, sound, movies, and even speech recognition. Appendices include a "Menu by Menu description of controls, a section on installing Mac OS 9 (Which covers easy, custom, and clean installations), and a very short section on troubleshooting.

In addition to describing each concept, the book is peppered with hints, special tricks, and time saving techniques. Every experienced Mac OS user knows there are several ways to accomplish anything using a Mac. The book makes a good effort of pointing out several different methods in a manner that won't confuse the reader.

This book doesn't include a CD of software. This may or may not be good, depending upon your view. According to the author, leaving the CD off reduces the price of the book. To make up for the lack of CD, an Internet site was created where you can download any of the shareware programs mentioned in the book. The site also offers feedback features. In these days of high speed Internet, this is as good as a CD.

Let's take a look at this book, section by section.

Part one As expected starts with the Mac OS desktop; you'll find basic information on using Mac OS windows, window views, pop-up windows, dealing with icons, using aliases, the trash can, changing the desktop look (fonts, images, styles), and effective use of the "Apple" menu.

Part two discusses using applications in Mac OS 9. It begins with the basics of launching a program (there are several ways), then goes into more intermediate features like memory allotment, using a RAM disk, moving data to the PC platform, and a basic yet thorough description of creating your own AppleScripts.

The AppleScript section is an excellent starting point for anyone new to scripting. You are shown how to create a simple script using the record feature and are introduced to writing scripts by hand. Well worth reading if you are new to scripting and at all interested.

Part three describes what is in the system folder and how its organized. It covers the basics like control panels, extensions, and the Apple extra, assistants, internet, utilities folders. Useful information for those who like to know what's where in the system folder.

In the On-line section you'll learn to use Internet related features of Mac OS 9. In addition to regular internet connections he describes Mac OS only iTools provides by Apple's web site, using the keychain, and the many features of Sherlock 2.

The section appropriately called, "Plugging in to Mac OS 9" is a catch all for learning about, well plugging things into your Macintosh. It is somewhat hardware related and one might argue that it might be inappropriate for an OS manual. The software lets one use the hardware, so knowing about the hardware helps one learn to use the software.

Networking includes wiring the network (basic information) and setting up the parts of OS 9 to use it. There is even a little section on using ARA (Apple Remote Access) which is now included as part of the OS.

The section goes on to describe using the Multiple users features and offers great detail on setting up the different account types. This description is a must read for people who need to use the multiple users features.

Following this, you'll learn the ins and outs of plugging various devices into the Mac, dealing with various print features (including a useful description of network printers), working with sound, digital movies, and finally speech recognition and synthesis.

The last part offers some appendices which would be very useful to anyone getting ready to install and use Mac OS 9. First there is a section that describes the menus and all they contain. Next is an excellent section on installing Mac OS 9 which describes standard, custom, and clean installations. A short but useful section on compatibility issues includes a very useful table listing various programs and the version required to work with Mac OS 9. An all too short section describing troubleshooting ends the manual.

The website ( provides resources for all of the books in this series. The section offering downloads to software mentioned in the book lists the software by title and is organized by chapter.

Ease of Use....

This book is arranged like one would expect a well written user manual to be. The chapters start out easy and work toward more advanced topics.

Finding material is easy using either the informative Table of Contents or index. Side bars and boxed areas add additional information in the way of tricks, tips, and many very useful diagrams. Ease of use gets a high score for this book.


Overall this book is very good. It is a basic manual for using Mac OS 9, so it is more appropriate for beginners and intermediate people new to Mac OS 9 or getting ready to install it. It offers a great index which makes finding a particular topic relatively easy, but lacks a really good troubleshooting section. iBook-User gives "Mac OS 9 The Missing Manual" four iBooks out of five.

Ease of Use :

Content Quality :

Over All Score :

If you are interested in buying this book on-line, click on the link below to go directly to or on the Book cover at the top page.

Mac OS 9 The Missing Manual

Happy Reading!

 Ted Bade

The ever popular David Pogue has written many best selling Macintosh based books, including
Macworld Mac SECRETS, The iMac for Dummies, MORE Macs for Dummies and has his own web site David

About the Reviewer:

Ted Bade has been using Apple computers since 1982 and Macs since 1985. Dedicated to the Macintosh, he has been a member and leader of a Computer user group since 1983. He has a degree in electrical engineering and loves to write. To date he has published a number of articles in MacHome Journal magazine, writes for iBook-User and writes regularly for H.U.G.E. a computer user group newsletter, and freelances whenever he can find the time and need. While he's not playing Quake Arena or Unreal Tournament with his Macintosh G4 or PowerBook G3.

Books By David Pogue

Macworld Mac SECRETS, 5th Edition

Macs for Dummies, 6th Edition (new for Mac OS 8.5)

MORE Macs for Dummies, 3rd Ed.

The iMac for Dummies (NEW SECOND EDITION!)

 PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide (2d Edition)

Crossing Platforms

The Great Macintosh Easter-Egg Hunt

The First web site Dedicated to Apple's iBook !

 iBook-User © is a Publication of P1 Publishing LLC 2001

























Mac OS 9:The Missing Manual... is well written and very thorough.!










" The book makes a good effort of pointing out several different methods in a manner that won't confuse the reader."  















"Part three describes the basics...Useful information for those who like to know what's where in the system folder."



"...offers some appendices which would be very useful to anyone getting ready to install and use
Mac OS 9...."


"...offers a great index which makes finding a particular topic relatively easy, but lacks a
really good troubleshooting section."

"iBook-User gives
'Mac OS 9 The Missing Manual'
four iBooks out
of five..."