Review of Macworld’s Mobile Mac Superguide, by Marilyn Kellner

As a new owner of a Mac notebook, but a seasoned Mac desktop user, I am anxious to learn as much as I can about my new computer, so I read with interest, the Macworld’s Mobile Mac Superguide.

Jason Snell, Editorial Director, Macworld introduces us to the Superguide explaining that the guide “contains everything Macworld knows about using your Mac when you’re out and about”.

The introduction is dated December, 2008, so it becomes slightly apparent that it is not totally up to date, since the content mentions Leopard, rather than Snow Leopard when discussing many options. I am not certain if all material is applicable to Snow Leopard, but I would think that it is since there were only minor changes in going from Leopard to Snow Leopard.

The guide is divided into 6 sections:

1. Choosing Hardware gives a short description of  MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, iPhone & iPod Touch, and gives particulars of each so that when you go to shop, you can narrow your choice based on the descriptions. This is pretty elementary…and already been there, done that…

2. Make the Connection discusses Wi-Fi and gives several useful websites to find WiFi hotspots — free and fee-for-service. I immediately bookmarked www.wififreespot.com, jiwire.com and AT&T Wi-Fi locations for when I might be on the road. It also discussed Cellular Data Service, but it did not seem to explain what it was clearly, to me, though I sometimes feel technically challenged. I felt the same about the discussion about choosing the right hardware and the software for the Data Service. The section also gives information on Back to My Mac & MobileMe for remote access and sharing between computers/devices.

3. Essential Mobile Utilities gives the reader 24 useful programs for the mobile computer user with basics, connectivity, web tools and iPhone tools that help with a variety of issues. The iPhone section mentions that some of the programs work on the iPod Touch, but never elaborates in any of the descriptions.

4. Security to Go gives helpful hints to prevent theft regarding storage, identification, insurance, tracking, even locking the computer; then gives information about protecting data through login choices, passwords, encryption. There is a section on securing your connections that gives information on firewalls, encryption for emails & IM as well as a section on Malware and other threats. This section gives valuable information on viruses and necessary protection for Mac users and how to tell the source of phishing links without opening the link. Other topics are protection from bogus programs, spyware & hackers and an additional reminder about Firewall protection.

5. Troubleshooting covered backing up your computer — what to back up and how including Time Machine. I found it interesting to know that Time Machine preserves the first backup each week, going back as far as the disk will hold. Once it gets full, it starts purging the oldest weekly backups!

I learned that if you “Reset & Relaunch” after a crash, preferences are replaced with default and if okay then, quitting the program will allow you to keep the new settings and hopefully end the crashing! Yea! Also, if the crash persists, the manual provides a link to Preferential Treatment (www.jonn8.com) that will delete corrupt preference files. When I checked, Preferential Treatment was last updated in 2007, and since the manual is behind one OS, I am not certain if this is still good on Snow Leopard.  Not so with the other link that was provided — Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner (www.northernsoftworks.com) deletes corrupt cache files; this utility has a special offer to purchase bundled with another of their utilities, FireWard (for strengthening data encryption).

Another interesting tidbit, explained about Console Logs (Applications/Utilities) that shows all crashes your computer has experienced, though looking for clues to crashing seems a bit daunting when I examined all the notations there. Good information on restart and safe booting your computer and a good reminder again about troubleshooting and Disk Utility.

6. Lastly, What Else to Pack gives ideas and recommendations for gadgets to get to help in travels for ease and security.

As a graphic artist, I notice some of the artwork was put there without much thought. Some pictures were blurry, some on a page that was unrelated and some notes to view the pictures were confusing in the text of the manual. Not crucial, but worth noting.

“This manual provided good information to move me in the direction of a Mac Gypsy! I guess I will continue my travels and be able to work from most anywhere more easily…”

Marilyn Kellner, Graphic Artist. cookieladymjk@aol.com

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