Mac OS X Help Line, Panther Edition

by Ted Landau. 1144 pp. Peachpit Press, 2004. $39.99

Ted Landau’s Mac OS X Help Line, Panther Edition is the Manhattan Yellow Pages of Macintosh troubleshooting books. Weighing in at a massive 1144 pages, this invaluable compendium covers just about any technical problem you’re likely to encounter in Mac OS X 10.3.

As Mary Poppins once said, “well begun is half done.” Landau is the founder of MacFixit (, the premier Mac troubleshooting website. He starts out by giving readers a thorough grounding in Mac OS X, with an emphasis on topics that are particularly pertinent to troubleshooting like fonts, directories and permissions. The various methods of installing, restoring, backing up and uninstalling OS X are then detailed, along with what to do when things go wrong.

The bulk of the book delves into the methods and tools for solving specific problems. Chapters deal with crash prevention and recovery, troubleshooting printing and networking, working with files, the Classic environment and troubleshooting the iApps and iPod. There’s also a chapter on Unix, to help readers harness the powerful tools of the command line for troubleshooting. Detailed contents and a thorough index make short work of finding what you need to know to extract yourself from whatever technological quagmire you may find yourself in.

In spite of its heft, Mac OS X Help Line is the book I’m most likely to take along on Mac consulting calls. Time after time, it delivers the goods. Very highly recommended.

– Elsa Travisano
Copyright ©2004 by Elsa Travisano. This review appeared in the November 2004 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.