Book tip: "macOS - The comprehensive manual for power users" by Kai Surendorf

macOS - The comprehensive guide for power users

This time I am reviewing a book that I am sure most of my readers will not be interested in. But that shouldn't sound derogatory, because the book certainly has a small but fine target group that will surely be happy about this work from the Rheinwerk-Verlag. The title of the book "macOS - The comprehensive manual for power users".

The subtitle already gives a little insight into the matter that is dealt with in the book:

  • Use and administer macOS effectively
  • Networks, security, automation
  • Including Raspberry Pi as a media server for your Mac

As you can see, it's about people with a certain level of technical knowledge and not about IT beginners.

macOS - The comprehensive guide for power users

macOS - The comprehensive manual for power users by Kai Surendorf. Concentrated knowledge of the Mac and the macOS operating system.

The book was made available to me free of charge by Rheinwerk-Verlag, for which I would like to thank you again. I had been keeping an eye on the book for a while, but at the same time I was relatively certain that I wasn't using the terminal enough to actually exploit the book's potential. So the offer from the publisher came in very handy.

The "technical" data of the book

Before I go further into the content, I would like to briefly mention a few key points that relate more to the external values ​​of the book:

  • 677 pages of content
  • 14 pages table of contents
  • 11 page index
  • All inside pages in black and white printing
  • 2nd edition from 2018
  • ISBN: 978-3-8362-6013-8

Target group “power users” - who is that?

I think if you refer to the book's target group as power users, you could also refer to people who just work a lot on the Mac. The author associates the term with people who like to plunge into the software-technical "bowels" of the Mac. In the book you will find many instructions on how to make settings with the terminal or other utilities or find solutions to questions that a normal Mac user probably does not have or need.

A really big ham: The comprehensive macOS manual by Kai Surendorf (Photos: Sir Apfelot) ..

A really big ham: The comprehensive macOS manual by Kai Surendorf (Photos: Sir Apfelot) ..

Personally, I find the book very interesting, although I don't count myself among the target group. When I look through the table of contents, I find some headings that I don't even begin to know what is behind them. In contrast, for many things that I already knew, there are finally technically more in-depth descriptions than what you would otherwise find in literature.

Inset - more interesting posts on the blog:

Excerpts from the table of contents

To make things a little more specific, I've taken a few points from the table of contents that simply don't mean anything to me:

  • Directory services and the "DSLocal" database
  • Integrate and use RADIUS profiles
  • Virtual Network Computing (VNC) with Linux
  • Approvals via the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP)
  • Configure the NetBIOS name and workgroup
  • The command "smbutil" on the terminal
The table of contents shows how detailed the book reports on macOS topics. A separate chapter on "Launch Services" is rarely found.

The table of contents shows how detailed the book reports on macOS topics. A separate chapter on "Launch Services" is rarely found.

Since the table of contents stretches over a whopping 14 pages, there are of course many other points that are familiar to me and that I find very exciting. To list them all here would go beyond the scope of this article.

More background information than most books or websites

What I really enjoy about the book is the fact that it doesn't stay on the surface. For example, if you read the chapter on single-user mode, it not only describes how to boot your Mac in this mode and what commands to enter to check the file structure. It is also explained that in this mode you are “root” and that the usual security precautions are switched off. The author also points out that it is only a rudimentary macOS.

There is significantly more information on all services and commands of macOS than on most websites and books that I have gotten my hands on up to now.

There are also detailed descriptions of utilities such as the console or the activity monitor, which explain, among other things, how to troubleshoot with the activity monitor and what information can be found in the individual tables.

The inside pages are all printed in black and white, but that doesn't detract from the great content of the book.

The inside pages are all printed in black and white, but that doesn't detract from the great content of the book.

A lot of work for which extra software would usually be used are explained in various chapters with terminal commands. Some examples:

  • Convert audio files with afconvert, afinfo and afplay
  • Convert texts with textutil
  • Convert video files with avconvert and qtmodernizer

And there are even instructions on how to automate the Finder and other software via Javascript or how to use a Raspberry Pi as a media server. The book is a treasure trove for anyone who wants to do more with their Mac than Pages, Numbers, and similar programs allow.

Conclusion: For people who would like to know more

I would especially recommend the book to users who do not use a new app for every problem, but would rather help themselves with their own solutions. Anyone who likes background information on processes and tools on the Mac should also be well served with the macOS manual for power users by Kai Surendorf.

The book is also a helpful reference work for administrators who have to take care of Macs for work.

The explanations are loosened up somewhat by information boxes and screenshots from the terminal.

The explanations are loosened up somewhat by information boxes and screenshots from the terminal.

The purchase would probably not have been worth it for me, as I like to work with Klickibunti programs and only open the terminal in emergencies. Many areas, such as network sharing, users and groups and the like, are not very exciting for me because I only work alone on my Macs. Anyone who works as an admin in a company with many Macs and employees should have considerably more connection points here.

Still, I am very happy to have the book now, as there are quite a few chapters that will help me solve my readers' problems. I often know what helps, but it is not uncommon for me to lack the background knowledge of what certain actions cause. Hopefully this situation will improve with the book.

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