Book Review:
Mac 911

Mac 911 by Christopher Breen. 318 pp. Peachpit Press, 2002. $29.99.

Chris Breen’s column of tips and troubleshooting has been a regular feature in Macworld Magazine. Now, panicked and puzzled Mac users of both the OS 9 and X persuasions can be guided by Breen’s calm and entertaining guidance in book form. Mac 911 not only covers Mac problems and emergencies in OS 9 and X; it also offers advice for avoiding trouble in the first place.

Mac 911 begins with fifteen pages of treatments for Mac emergencies from blinking question marks to spining beach balls. Sooner or later you’ll need these pages. Breen’s advice takes you through the troubleshooting steps in sequence, recommending diagnostic software when needed and telling you when it’s time to call Apple, or take your Mac to the shop.

The book’s remaining chapters make sense of upgrading your Mac, setting up a home network, and the “digital hub” - music and movies on your Mac (iPhoto, which came out just as the book went to press, missed the cut). An especially useful chapter on OS X covers the different techniques needed for troubleshooting the “modern OS.”. Backing up your data is crucial, says Breen, since more OS X problems can only be solved by (gulp) reformatting your drive Mac 911 is highly informative and very highly recommended, especially for anyone running OS X.

– Elsa Travisano
Copyright ©2002 by Elsa Travisano. This article originally appeared in the May 2002 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.