Take Control of Troubleshooting Your Mac by Joe Kissell

Troubleshooting Your Mac 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.


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