How This Book Is Organized

Mac OS X is remarkable enough to bring together, on one desktop, longtime Mac devotees and Unix hackers of old. It does so by rebuilding the renowned Mac look-and-feel on the shoulders of a best-of-breed Unix operating system. OS X's flexibility, customizability, and extensibility mean there's just about nothing you can't do if you set your mind to it. This book goes beyond the simple tips and tricks, click here and drag there, to the more interesting hacks ? bite-sized bits of truly useful functionality you can manage in just a few minutes with the help of a trusty friend. The book is divided into several chapters:

Chapter 1, Files

The Mac OS X filesystem is a blend of powerful, ancient Unix underpinnings and the candy-coated shell known as the Macintosh Finder. The hacks in this section poke and prod at the seams, revealing some useful techniques for backing up your system, tweaking files and folders, bending aliases to your will, and understanding how it all fits together ? even dumpster diving in the Trash a little.

Chapter 2, Startup

At startup, there's an awful lot going on behind the scenes to bring your Mac to life. This section takes a peek beneath the surface at just what's making all that noise. We'll show you how to boot from another device, turn your Mac into a FireWire hard drive, get OS X running on that old Power Mac in your closet, and lock up your Mac good and tight.

Chapter 3, Multimedia and the iApps

Apple has positioned the Mac as a digital hub, the nexus for the otherwise disparate components of your iLife. This section provides tips and techniques for getting the most out of the iApps and third-party multimedia applications. Going beyond what the iApps provide out of the box, we'll also glue together audio, video, text, and photos in some unexpectedly useful and fun combinations.

Chapter 4, The User Interface

Mac users have a long history of tweaking the Mac OS graphical user-interface. We provide a collection of inspiring hacks and pointers to third-party applications for tweaking the look-and-feel, extending the functionality that's already there, and teaching your Mac to behave "just as it should."

Chapter 5, Unix and the Terminal

Beneath the sleek, elegant, Technicolor candy coating of Mac OS X's graphical user-interface beats the heart of an honest-to-goodness Unix operating system. This chapter provides a gentle introduction to the command-line environment, showing how to move around and manipulate files and folders. With that under your belt, we'll show you how to thread some of the built-in Unix applications and functions together to create new functionality.

Chapter 6, Networking

Where OS X really shines is in its networking, being able to connect to just about anything with an IP heartbeat. Communicate as easily with Windows and Unix machines as with other Macs. Share your Internet connection via Ethernet, WiFi, or FireWire or connect one-to-one with another computer even when there is no network to be found. This chapter highlights just some of the limitless possibilities for internetworking with just about anything, just about anywhere.

Chapter 7, Email

More than just a choice of excellent mail applications, OS X's powerful Unix underpinnings provide access to an array of the most popular and versatile mail servers and filtering systems on the planet. This chapter takes you through turning your Mac into a personal intranet mail server, as well as teaching you a little more about some of the mail applications you may be using and how to get the most out of them.

Chapter 8, The Web

Mac OS X is a web powerhouse, both in terms of its web-serving capabilities and wide range of web browsers from which to choose. Beneath the understated Personal Web Sharing is the ubiquitous, flexible, and industrial-strength Apache web server ? just click the Start button. By the end of this chapter, you'll be serving up dynamic content, running CGI applications, scripting PHP pages, and putting together server-side include-driven pages with the best of them.

Chapter 9, Databases

Long the backbone of just about any open source-driven web site, the MySQL and PostgreSQL database engines are just as at home on your Mac as they have been in the more traditional Unix shop. This chapter walks you through the installation and exploration of these two remarkable database applications, on both the command line and the Desktop.