Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Lion Edition
By David Pogue
(O’Reilly, paperback, list price $29.99; Kindle edition, list price $23.99)
I own and use three Windows PCs during a typical day. But sometimes (don’t ask why), I find myself forced – forced – to use my wife’s Macintosh.
Grrrr. Where do I click? Where are the other mouse buttons? And what do these geeky, alien icons actually mean?
Frankly, I’ve hated Macs for a long, long time. And I’ve especially hated the smug, “Everything’s simpler on a Mac!” attitude that peppy Mac users seem to radiate whenever they are around us gray-haired Windows types who have been messing with command prompts, anti-virus software, and the Blue Screen of Death since (seemingly) the War of 1812.
That being said, I am a big fan of New York Times tech columnist David Pogue and “The Missing Manual” book series he created. I use several of O’Reilly’s “Missing” manuals on a frequent basis.
Pogue’s new book is now proving useful for me as a sort of Klingon-to-English translation guide when I am forced – forced –to use my beloved’s dearly beloved Mac.
But in all seriousness, if you are contemplating making the switch or have already switched from Windows to Mac (traitor!), you need this book. It is a well-written, nicely illustrated user’s guide with a strong focus on how to transfer documents and other files from Windows machines to Macs. Often, the transfers go smoothly. “It turns out that communicating with a Windows PC is one of the Mac’s most polished talents,” Pogue notes.
Sometimes, however, the transfers do not go well. Pogue’s huge book (691 pages) also points out some potential pitfalls and remedies, such as possibly losing “memorized transactions, customized report designs, and reconciliations” when transferring from QuickBooks for Windows to QuickBooks to Mac.
Switching to the Mac is organized into five parts:
- Part 1, Welcome to the Macintosh – Covers the essentials of “everything you see onscreen when you turn on the machine.”
- Part 2, Making the Move – Covers “the actual process of hauling your software, settings, and even peripherals (like printers and monitors) across the chasm from the PC to the Mac.” Includes steps for running Windows on Macs, “an extremely attractive option.”
- Part 3, Making Connections – Shows how to set up an Internet connection on a Mac and use Apple’s Internet software suite.
- Part 4, Putting Down Roots – Gets into more advanced topics “to turn you into a Macintosh power user.”
- Part 5, Appendixes – Two of the four appendixes cover installation and troubleshooting. One is the “Where’d It Go?” Dictionary for those trying to find familiar Windows controls “in the new, alien Macintosh environment.” And the fourth appendix offers “a master keyboard-shortcut list for the entire Mac OS X universe.”
Switching to the Mac offers sound reasons (1) why you may prefer to stick with certain Windows for Mac programs on your new Mac and (2) why you may want to abandon certain Windows programs written for Macs and learn to use the Mac programs that are better than, say, PowerPoint or Notepad, for example.
If you happen to be addicted to Microsoft Access and Microsoft Visio, you have a separate choice. You can either switch to FileMaker and OmniGraffle or keep a Windows machine sitting close to your new Mac.
You won’t be alone as a user caught between two different worlds. Writes Pogue: “A huge percentage of ‘switchers’ do not, in fact, switch. Often, they just add. They may get a Macintosh (and get into the Macintosh), but they keep the old Windows PC around, at least for a while.”
In my case, you’ll have to pry the Windows keyboard and mouse from my cold, dead fingers. But I’ll keep this hefty book with me, to use both as a how-to guide and as a bludgeon, each time I have to go into the Macintosh wilds and battle the Lion.
– Si Dunn is a novelist, screenwriter, freelance book reviewer, and former software technical writer and software/hardware QA test specialist. He also is a former newspaper and magazine photojournalist. His latest book is Dark Signals, a Vietnam War memoir available now in paperback. He is the author of a detective novel, Erwin’s Law, a novella, Jump, and several other books and short stories.