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Take Control of Exploring & Customizing Snow Leopard
Explore Snow Leopard's native habitat with an expert guide!
Read along as Mac expert Matt Neuburg takes you on a Snow Leopard safari. With dry wit and infectious enthusiasm, Matt shines a light on the major and minor changes in Snow Leopard, with an emphasis on how to customize your Mac's interface, navigate quickly among apps and around your disk, and use special features like a pro. Along the way, you'll learn useful Mac OS X skills, such as how to:
You'll also gain confidence to explore Snow Leopard's features further. These include new capabilities like automatic fixing of misspelled words and text substitution as you type, totally revamped Services, better control over Time Machine backups, whizzy new Exposé options, and the new keyboard switcher for multi-lingual Mac users. Matt also reminds you about how best to to customize the sidebar in your Finder windows, configure Open and Save dialogs, and arrange items on your toolbar for quick access, and he covers the Path Bar, Dashboard, status menus, login items, zooming controls, sleep vs. hibernation for laptops, and double-headed scroll arrows.
Matt even explains how Leopard's contextual menu plug-ins and QuickTime Pro disappear in Snow Leopard. He also covers a handful of important third-party utilities, and he provides easy-as-can-be steps for a script that even beginners can run to place a new Finder window in exactly the right spot.
Specific questions answered in this ebook include:
Making things look right:
Using a keyboard, trackpad, or mouse:
Getting things done:
iPad & Kindle
About the Author
Matt Neuburg is a TidBITS contributing editor and the author of several books about Apple software, including Programming iOS 4. He has been programming computers for 45 years, and has written popular Mac and iOS freeware such as MemoryStick and the TidBITS News app.
Reviews of Previous Editions
Table of Contents
Read Me First
Every couple of years, Apple plunges its excited users into a new world with a major revision of Mac OS X. This time, it’s Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6). So, what’s new in Snow Leopard? What’s all the fuss about? This book gives you a hands-on guided tour, while pointing out the adjustments, tweaks, and customizations you can and should make in the System, the Finder, and more. This book was written by Matt Neuburg and edited by Tonya Engst.
Perhaps you stood in line to obtain one of the first copies of Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard at your local computer store. Perhaps you had pre-ordered it online, and it arrived all shiny and shrink-wrapped at your door. Or perhaps you were more cautious and waited until you felt Apple had straightened out the initial kinks inevitable in a new operating system release. One way or another, you wound up with a copy of Snow Leopard.
You stayed up late installing it on your Macintosh; then you fell asleep exhausted. You woke up the next morning excited as a child on Christmas. But now what do you do? You know things must be different—otherwise this wouldn’t be a new system release—but what things? Where should you look, to see what’s snowy about Snow Leopard? Even more important, what changes have implications for the way you work? What options, settings, choices do you need to tackle, what new techniques and possibilities do you need to know about, in order to start using Snow Leopard comfortably and efficiently, so you can stop gaping at your newly upgraded computer and get back to using it?
This book covers the day-after-Christmas reality of exploring and tweaking Snow Leopard so that you can use it to its full potential—and to your full potential. It introduces you to Snow Leopard by shining an exploratory flashlight into its dark corners, revealing what’s new, what’s different, and what might call for a customization in Snow Leopard’s behavior—or in your behavior—so that you can get on smoothly with your regular computer life.
This book is your guide to Snow Leopard’s unique essence and to what you should know about Snow Leopard to get the most out of it. I’m not writing for Unix experts, so I don’t generally talk about clever technical hacks; the customizations pointed out here are primarily those that Snow Leopard wants and expects you to perform directly in its normal interface. I do, however, point out areas where Snow Leopard might need a little help from third-party utilities in order for you to work most comfortably and efficiently.
Now let’s meet Snow Leopard and make it change its spots!
This book describes many areas of Snow Leopard worth exploring and customizing, some of which will be more important to you than others. Naturally, I think that sooner or later you should take the time to read this book from start to finish, but I also understand that you’re eager to get working with Snow Leopard and that you might want to know what’s most important to do right now, and come back to the rest of the book later. So, I suggest a three-stage approach:
Here, then, is how I suggest you customize and learn about Snow Leopard with the help of this book:
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
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July 4, 2012 -- We do not plan to update this book for 10.6 Snow Leopard. However, Matt has written a 10.7 Lion edition of this ebook, called Take Control of Using Lion. It explains how to handle Lion's key new features—Auto Save, Versions, Mission Control, Launchpad, gestures, full-screen mode, and more—and customize Lion to suit your needs. And, now there's also Take Control of Using Mountain Lion!
May 20, 2011 --
With the release of Mac OS X 10.6.7, Apple changed the way you remove items from the Finder sidebar. Previously, you just dragged them out, but presumably because of too many accidental removals, the action now requires that you hold down the Command key while dragging the item out. You can also Control-click an item and choose Remove from Sidebar. For details, see Mac OS X 10.6.7 Changes Finder Sidebar Behavior in TidBITS.
November 11, 2009 --
The bug bashers at Apple have been busy enhancing Snow Leopard and many of its related applications (especially Mail and Safari), as well as MobileMe, and Mac OS X 10.6.2 is now available with many improvements. If you haven't already, I recommend that you run Software Update and install it. For more information about what's new in 10.6.2, read Apple's description of the update—About the Mac OS X v10.6.2 Update or the TidBITS write-up—Mac OS X 10.6.2 Addresses Myriad Bugs and Security Issues. The TidBITS article also has comments at the end where various people have written in about their 10.6.2 update experience.
November 2, 2009 --
Apple has publicly acknowledged a rare but nasty data-destroying bug related to using the Guest account in Snow Leopard. The bug appears to be associated with having a Guest account already set up before you upgrade to Snow Leopard. While there is currently no fix available, we hope to see one in 10.6.2. To learn more, check out my TidBITS article, Apple Acknowledges Guest Account Data Loss Bug. [This bug was fixed in 10.6.2.]
September 16, 2009 --
Even Snow Leopard's updates are faster and sleeker. Mac OS X 10.6.1 is out with minor fixes for Apple Mail, Flash security, and printer drivers. A few unacknowledged errors seem to have disappeared, too, although other problems remain. Read more in the (somewhat silly) TidBITS article Tiny Mac OS X 10.6.1 Update Fixes Some Bugs.
September 1, 2009 --
On the MacJury podcast for September 1, 2009, two out of five "jurors" are Take Control authors —Joe Kissell and Matt Neuburg. Find out how everyone's Snow Leopard installation experience went. And hear a vociferous argument about whether Apple's Intel-only policy for Snow Leopard is fair on users.
August 28, 2009 --
Check out this great TidBITS article listing some "hidden refinements" in Snow Leopard. In particular, scroll down to the Exposé Shortcuts section. In addition to the features I list in the book, you can press Command-1 within an Exposé window display to sort the windows by name, and Command-2 to sort them by application. Plus, you can hover the mouse over a window and then press Space to get a larger (Quick Look) view of the window! Exposé is so much more useful in Snow Leopard than it has ever been before...
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