Review of OS X Mountain Lion Pocket Guide by Chris Seibold; O’Reilly Media

OS X Mountain Lion Pocket Guide: The Ultimate Quick Guide to OS XWhether you’re a new Mac user or have just upgraded from an earlier Mac operating system, you’re sure to find lots of useful tips in this guide to using Mountain Lion. But don’t be fooled. This “pocket guide” weighs in at a hefty 266 pages.

Most of the new features of Mountain Lion make it easier to work with multiple devices, and the pages on how to set things up so that changes on your iPhone or iPad show up on your Mac computer, and vice versa, are well worth investing some time in. Other pages, dealing with subjects like keyboard shortcuts may be less so – unless you’re coming to Mountain Lion and your very first computer at the same time. No matter whether you’ve been working on a Mac or a PC, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to learn a bunch of new keyboard shortcuts beyond those you’ve used in the past.

I come to this review as a former PC user. I quickly learned that ‘delete’ on a Mac deletes backwards. On a PC it meant deleting forwards. ‘Okay,’ I thought, ‘I can learn to reposition my cursor before deleting, no big deal,’ but with the Pocket Guide, I was happy to discover that if there are times when I want to delete forwards, I can, by simply hitting the ‘fn’ key and ‘delete‘ at the same time. Not a huge deal, but the Guide offered all kinds of tips like that to facilitate navigating my way around my first Mac.

Like any manual, Chris Seibold’s OS X Mountain Lion Pocket Guide offers more information than most users are going to need. And less. For someone new to a Mac and Mac operating systems, there were times when explanations of a feature might as well have been written in a foreign language. And why, I wonder, when I followed the directions for getting my computer to take dictation, did it refuse to do so? Did I miss something, or are the directions lacking in some way?

Despite this quibble, I am grateful for the help this book gave me as I learn my way around my new (and quite wonderful!) MacBook Air. I can’t speak to how helpful it would be to someone who has been using Lion (I suspect a simple online tutorial on ‘what’s new’ might suffice), but to anyone upgrading from an older Mac operating system or using a Mac for the first time, I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

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