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MacBook Air Portable Genius, 4th Edition review

Sections: Laptops, MacBook Air, Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Reviews

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Author: Paul McFedries
Publisher: Wiley
Publication Date: September 2012
ISBN 13: 978-1-1183-7020-9
Pages: 320
Price: $25.00

MacBook Air Portable Genius

Paul McFedries’ MacBook Air Portable Genius, 4th Edition keeps the MacBook Air itself the primary focus. The author has been a MacBook Air user since the original Air came out in 2008, but he’s not an uncritical cheerleader. He pointedly criticizes some of the decisions and compromises Apple has applied to the Air, including the lack of FireWire and Ethernet ports, making high-speed hardware interfacing too-dependent on Thunderbolt in a real world where many users don’t have T-bolt peripherals, and he also chides Apple for making the Air so difficult to open up.

McFedries says his objective for the book is for it to fulfill its title billing as a sort of mini Apple Genius Bar in no-hassle-access portable format. He even supplies some guidance on how to get inside the Air, notwithstanding the obstacles Apple has imposed.

He gets down to business directly with Chapter 1, entitled How do I Connect Devices? covering the eponymous topic and various peripheral device configurations.

Chapter 2 carries on logically with How Do I Make Wireless Connections? Subjects covered include connecting to wireless Wi-Fi networks, setting up remote DVD drives, exchanging files wirelessly with Air Drop, viewing the MacBook Air screen on your TV, transferring settings wirelessly from another Mac, and working with Bluetooth devices.

Chapter 3 is entitled How Do I Synchronize MacBook Air With Other Devices? Topics addressed include synchronizing the MacBook Air with an iPod, iPad, or iPhone and synchronizing music, videos, movies, or TV show episodes. Also, podcasts, photos, contacts, calendars, apps, e-books, games, and a discussion of synchronizing with iCloud.

Chapter 4 is How Do I Use MacBook Air To Organize My Life? This one is not hardware oriented, and mainly discusses configuring and using the contact-related applications bundled with OS X.

Chapter 5, How Do I Use MacBook Air To Set Up My Online Accounts? includes sections on configuring Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, and on how to get more out of iCloud.

Chapter 6, Can Macbook Air Help Me Communicate More Effectively? has tutorials on streamlining your email experience, sending instant messages, and video calling with FaceTime.

Chapter 7, How Do I Locate And Protect A Lost MacBook Air? Tells how to activate Find My Mac, methods of employing iCloud and find my iPhone app to locate your MacBook. It also explains how to send a message to or delete data from your MacBook remotely no matter where you are.

Chapter 8, How Do I Keep MacBook Air Running Smoothly? covers routine MacBook Air maintenance, preparing for trouble, and restoring files using Time Machine.

Chapter 9, How Do I Maintain The Battery? Explains how the MacBook air battery works, tells how to track battery usage and to save energy when using battery power. You’ll learn how to optimize MacBook Air energy settings, other ways to save energy, cycling the MacBook Air battery, and replacing the battery in any of the five generations of MacBook Air models.

Chapter 10, How Do I Maintain The Hard Drive? looks at monitoring the SSD flash drive’s free space, checking the drive status, verifying the drive, and replacing the drive.

Chapter 11, How Do I Solve MacBook Air Problems? explains general software troubleshooting techniques, monitoring performance, checking for software updates, bypassing log-in items, and deleting program preferences files which can sometimes resolve stability issues and improve application behavior. And if all else fails, there’s a tutorial on how to go about reinstalling OS X, and another on restarting the MacBook Air, plus making a frozen Air restart after shutdown, restarting in safe mode, restarting using the recovery HD, restarting using the OS X install USB flash drive, restarting MacBook Air in Target Disk Mode, repairing the hard drive, and repairing disk permissions.

Chapter 12, How Do I Solve Specific Software Problems? carries on with mostly software related troubleshooting.

Chapter 13 is How Do I Solve Specific Hardware Problems? turns the focus on hardware issues.

There are also four appendices covering MacBook Air Online Resources, MacBook Air shortcut Keys, MacBook Air Multi-Touch Gestures, and Running Windows On MacBook Air.

Paul McFedries is a Mac expert and full-time technical writer who has written more than 75 books that have sold more than four million copies worldwide. His books include The new iPad Portable Genius and Macs Portable Genius, Second Edition. Paul encourages all readers to drop by his website.

MacBook Air Portable Genius, 4th Edition is attractively designed and laid out for pleasing readability with the right amount of white space, colorfully contrasting headlines and sub-heads, and lots of full color screenshots and photos. The book is part of a Portable Genius series, but not written to a rigid formula, and any MacBook Air user (perhaps someone on your Christmas list) should find it a useful addition to their reference library.

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MacBook Air Portable Genius, 4th Edition review

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