Writing about Tiger

I begin work on my Mac OS X book revision.

I started working on my Tiger book this week.

So far, I have three of the 21 chapters done. I skipped Chapter 1, which is about installation and configuration. I always do that one last. Instead, I dove right into the Finder chapters: Finder Basics, File Management, Advanced Finder Techniques.

I added some new information to the File Management chapter about a new and undocumented feature called burnable folders. This was a challenge. Although I could figure out how to use this feature and write sufficiently about it, there wasn’t a single mention of it anywhere in online help or Apple’s Tiger Web pages.

What burns me up about this is that although I couldn’t find any official documentation about the feature, there was an article, with screen shots, on someone else’s Web site. Why does that burn me up? Because I had to sign a nondisclosure and swear up and down that I wouldn’t share anything about Tiger — especially screen shots — with anyone until the software was released. Technically, if my husband looks over my shoulder while I’m writing, I’d be in violation of this agreement. So that prevents me from giving my readers a sneak preview of the software and getting them all fired up for what’s to come. Yet someone else can publish articles on the Web, for the world to see, without getting in trouble. Does that sound fair?

Anyway, about burnable folders, to make matters worse, since I’m working with pre-release software, the feature isn’t perfected yet and is a bit buggy. Or perhaps it just set up conflicts with my screen shot software. In any case, my eMac was acting up and had to be restarted periodically. So it took me the better part of an afternoon to write two new pages and rewrite two others.

The Advanced Finder Techniques chapter was completely reworked. I pulled a lot of material out of this chapter to make a new chapter (Chapter 6) about customizing the Finder. This required complete renumbering of all figures throughout the chapter. A tedious task, but someone has to do it.

Next week, I continue writing with a brand new chapter about Apple’s new Spotlight and Smart Folders features. I hope to be able to knock that one off in two days.

What do you think?