I Am Joe’s Blog:

October 17, 2007 • 12:33 PM

Early bird gets the Leopard

Almost exactly four years ago, on October 24, 2003, Apple released Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. On that same day, the very first ebook in the Take Control series appeared—my upgrading guide, Take Control of Upgrading to Panther. Little did I know then that this little publishing experiment, undertaken by most of the TidBITS staff and a handful of other talented authors and editors, would be so successful as to eventually produce the majority of my income. But today, less than 24 hours after Apple finally announced the shipping date of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, I’m pleased to report that my 14th title in the series is now on sale: Take Control of Upgrading to Leopard: Early-Bird Edition.

When I wrote my second Upgrading book, Take Control of Upgrading to Tiger, I naturally started with what I’d written about Panther, added some stuff, removed some stuff, and generally updated everything to be accurate under the new system. But this time I wanted to go way beyond that. Leopard is a big, big release with lots of serious changes; I wanted the Upgrading book to reflect that and prepare users as thoroughly as possible. So in addition to massively reworking the text to cover all the changes to the Leopard installation process, I pulled in some material from my ebooks on backups, maintenance, and troubleshooting. Now I provide detailed instructions on getting your Mac in tip-top shape, complete with an excellent backup, before inserting that Leopard DVD—and I think the extra steps up front will lead to much happier installations later.

Of course, there was a tiny problem: ideally, you’d do all that preparatory stuff days or even weeks before you get your Leopard DVD, but I can’t actually release the full book, with all its top-secret information about the ins and outs of Leopard installation, without violating my NDA. So we decided to create two versions of the book. The Early-Bird Edition, which you can buy (for $10) and download today, has all the background information you need to get your Mac ready for the upgrade, but leaves out all the information I’m not allowed to reveal (which amounts to quite a large portion of the book). The full edition will become available the instant Leopard goes on sale in North America (that’s 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time next Friday, October 26). Anyone who has already purchased the Early-Bird Edition can simply click a link on the cover of the PDF to go to a Web page where they can download the full version for free. And then they can skip (or skim) about 50 pages of text and get on to the actual upgrading process fairly quickly. Of course, if you wait until next Friday or later to make your purchase, you’ll simply get the full version, which is a superset of the Early-Bird Edition.

Now then…what’s crazy to me about all this is that I initially wrote (both versions of) this book back in February, when Apple was still saying Leopard would be released in the spring. It went through our whole editorial and technical review process way back then. In April, when Apple announced a delay until October, we just put the project on ice. This summer I picked it up again, and updated the manuscript with new information from each new beta version of Leopard. Yesterday, as soon as Apple made their announcement, I had to tweak a few things in the Early-Bird Edition to correspond to the latest truth, but even so, we were organized enough that the PDF was available for sale within hours. Between now and next Friday, I very much hope to see an even more recent version of Leopard than what I’ve been working with, and should it contain any significant changes, I’ll work those into the final text as well. The result should be our most thorough and up-to-date upgrading guide ever! If you’re planning to install Leopard, I think you’ll find this ebook to be immensely helpful.