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June 4, 2004

"Inside .Mac": Get the Most Bang for Your .Mac Buck

Sebastopol, CA--With Mac OS X as a foundation, Apple's iApps and iLife technology has coalesced into a "digital hub," an interconnected set of tools that helps users store and organize photos and music, entertain the kids, stay in touch with significant others, and even assist in running a business. To take this information to a higher level, Apple created .Mac (pronounced "dot Mac"), a suite of services that allows subscribers to share information online. While .Mac hasn't received the same attention as its more glamorous i-cousins, it's endowed with the same traits: an attractive, intuitive interface and a wealth of powerful features, including web mail, an online contact management system, storage space, a fully customizable personal web site, and much more. About the only thing missing from this embarrassment of riches is a thorough guide. Inside .Mac by Chuck Toporek (O'Reilly, US $19.95) is just that, the first--and only--manual that delves deep into .Mac.

"Most people I've spoken to who are .Mac members don't really realize what they're getting for their annual .Mac membership," observes Toporek. "I not only tried to show how to get around the .Mac services, but also how to use them in tutorials. For example, the 'Building a .Mac HomePage' section demonstrates how to use the HomePage tools to create and manage a .Mac site, as well as how to create a movie page from iMovie, or a Photo Album page from iPhoto. I describe some of what's going on behind the scenes too, such as how a Photo Album page uses JavaScript to display the images you click on."

Inside .Mac is a handy, quick reference offering a clear overview of the entire .Mac package and many of its not-so-obvious features. "I hope people pay close attention to Chapter 6--'Using Backup'--and not only learn how to back up their Mac, but understand why it's important to do on a regular basis," notes Toporek. Some of the other important features the book covers include:

  • Setting up a .Mac account: a guided tour to getting started with .Mac
  • Using the iDisk: a detailed look at its directories, the iDisk utility, and more
  • Mac software: a look at what's included in the software directory, including Virex anti-virus software, the Backup utility, Mac Slides Publisher, and third-party software
  • .Mac email, from configuring settings to adding additional email accounts
  • Building a HomePage: an overview of HomePage options that covers uploading files; publishing iPhoto libraries; and protecting, publishing, and announcing the site
  • Synchronizing a Mac with .Mac: learn how to set up and sync Address Book, iCal calendars, Safari bookmarks, and more using iSync
  • Sending an iCard
  • Creating a weblog (or "blog") with iBlog
  • "Scientists say that we really only use about ten percent of our brain, and I have a feeling that theory applies to the .Mac services," concludes Torporek. "People are probably only using about ten percent of what's there, and I hope that this book shows them how to use the other ninety percent to get the most bang for their buck."

    From enthusiastic new users to hardcore Mac geeks, anyone who uses .Mac will be able to get the most from their subscription service with Inside .Mac. There's no better way take control than with this invaluable reference.

    Additional Resources:

    Inside .Mac
    Chuck Toporek
    ISBN: 0-596-00501-6, 384 pages, $19.95 US, $28.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

    About O'Reilly

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