Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac by Joe Kissell
OK. Let’s go for the hat trick with this one. The third book in what Kisell terms The Mac Fitness Books series is Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac. He completes his trilogy as he deals with general and sometimes fatal issues such as slowdown in system operation (much of which is dealt with in his speeding up your Mac volume) or the peril of kernel panics to basic application issues such as mail connectivity or keychain issues. This is the most familiar of the three volumes and is possibly the most fluid read.
Prudently there is a section on preventing problems which should of course be mandatory practice for anyone. These are superb, well explained and offer the hands-on direction to actually lead one to use them (I installed applejack in case of eventualities and frankly was unaware of its purpose or value). The entire volume is chock full of useful advice, dealt with largely as a cookbook allowing it to be consulted when needed in a to get right to the exact information needed in timely manner.
From a personal standpoint, I was particularly struck with his approach to the problem “Your Mac won’t turn on”…OK…is he really going to say it? And he does…‘Check your entire power path’ says Kissell…Brilliant and diplomatic way of saying is it plugged in. I loved it. He’s actually far better about this than the mere chuckle that anyone who has had to perform technical support personally or professionally is bound to utter on this one. There are a few less than obvious technical things with power-strips and fuses that could cause issues, but I can recall in my youth an irate customer demanding that I do an onsite visit because the piece of junk that he had just bought was dead on arrival…of course only to demonstrate that you actually had to plug it into the mains to make it work.
The thoroughness of Kissell’s approach to this problem…step by step is a mark of the book as a whole. He even includes simple terminal commands at one point that may even be approachable by novices. At one point, frankly a book like this may have been less necessary, but I am forced to admit that some of these issues have befallen me as of late and there are problems lurking out there that more OSX users than in the past are having to face. The system that prides itself on delivering a smooth user experience where you don’t have to worry about what’s going on under the hood has so many third party products that complicate the mix that a book like this is an essential companion. I would recommend this one to any OSX user and say its is well worth it and an essential buy.