Archive for December, 2005

December 15th, 2005

Take Control of .Mac released

At long last, an ebook many months in the making is now available for sale: Take Control of .Mac. Normally $15, this 182-page ebook has an introductory sale price of $10. It is, if I do say so myself, the best guide to using .Mac in existence. If you’re a .Mac member, you’ll learn tons of information about making the most of your subscription, including working with email, iDisk, Address Book, .Mac Groups, Backup, and much more. You’ll also learn which aspects of .Mac are less than perfect, and how to avoid, solve, or work around many common frustrations.

If you’re not a .Mac member, this is the perfect time to join. You can sign up for a no-strings-attached 60-day trial membership by clicking the banner below; thereafter, it costs a very reasonable $99 per year for 1 GB of online storage (for files and email), Web hosting, photo sharing, and all sorts of other goodies.


This is also an important milestone for me: it’s my eighth published Take Control book in just over two years (not counting updates or translations)—I couldn’t believe it myself when I realized I’d been keeping up an almost one-ebook-per-quarter schedule, especially considering how long some of these newer titles have been.

I had my first serious conversation about writing this ebook with Adam Engst (publisher) and Dan Frakes (editor) back in January, at Macworld Expo. At that time, it seemed like a fairly easy and straightforward project, and I expected it would be out by mid-year at the latest. And then, of course, things happened—such as the other new and updated ebooks I’d committed to write, a long list of Macworld articles, and countless other tasks that took much longer than I expected. Plus, right after I finished the first draft of book, in late September, Apple made some significant changes to .Mac, forcing me to redo a sizable portion of the ebook before my editor even had a look at it.

In any case, I’m extremely pleased with the final result. This will be the last Take Control ebook (mine or anyone else’s) to be released in 2005, but we’ll be back in full force with new titles beginning in January. I’ve already agreed to write one new ebook and edit another, plus I have at least two updates on my list. With any luck, this time I can take control of Take Control and not begin the year with 6 months of work that turns out to take 12!

December 9th, 2005

Of Backups and Updates

Today saw the release of Take Control of Mac OS X Backups version 1.2, exactly 53 weeks after the initial version was published. My, how time flies. This ebook had been growing increasingly outdated as more and more backup programs received major updates—particularly Apple’s Backup 3. Now it’s once again completely current, and I’ve expanded it significantly to cover photo and video backups, as well as adding 20-odd pages of details on using Retrospect (whch has a notoriously unintuitive interface). Still $10, or free to those who purchased any previous version.

I also decided it was finally time to get a new graphic for the header of this blog, and make a few other little stylistic corrections. The CSS is now 15% less ugly than before, and though it still has plenty of room to improve, I can at least look at it without cringing now.

December 8th, 2005

Tech Night Owl Live

New Tech Night Owl Live interview: Take Control of Apple Mail in Tiger (and a few other interesting topics)—recording no longer available (December 8, 2005)