Tiger: The Saga Continues

I continue work on my Tiger book.

The other day, I got a new Tiger build from Apple. I’d been waiting anxiously for it. My editor, Cliff, who’d been at the Keynote address at Macworld Expo had reported that the build Steve Jobs was using for his demo looked different from what we had. Although most authors wouldn’t mind a few appearance differences, my book has over 2,000 screenshots in it and every minor difference will affect at least one page. So after having some difficulties with Font Book and not being motivated enough to revise the Classic chapter, I put the book aside to wait for new software.

The differences, it turns out, are not major. Sure, some screenshots will change, but not many. The New Burnable Folder command has become the New Burn Folder command — that little change will force me to revise every single screenshot of the File menu. But hey, I expect stuff like that. It goes with the territory. It’s one of the drawbacks of writing about software that hasn’t been completed yet.

Interestingly, I’ll work with the software right up to the Gold Master and still get the book out on time. That’s because of the “system” Peachpit and I have for getting these books done. No other publisher works the way we do. As a result, if another book comes out on time, it’s likely based on something other than the Gold Master. That means it’ll have errors in it. But more likely, other books will be delayed and will appear on shelves a month or more after Mac OS X 10.4 has gone to the Apple Stores and is available in new computers.

Yesterday, I worked on the Applications chapter, the one where I go into some detail on how to use the applications that come with Mac OS X. We’ve decided to folk the i-Apps chapter into this one, so it’s likely to be a very long chapter. I got about 20 pages done yesterday and I hope to finish it up today. I found two surprises in the Applications folder: a brand new application that I’m looking forward to using every day and the return of an old application that disappeared when Mac OS X was first released. I’m not sure if I can talk about them — Apple is notoriously secretive about pre-release software and I don’t want to get sued — so I won’t. But I think Mac users will be pleasantly surprised (as I was) to find at least one of these new tools.

The book is over 600 pages long so I have a lot of work to do. It’s my biggest book, both in size and sales, and the one I’m proudest of. Mac OS has grown quite a bit since I first wrote about it for Mac OS 8. It has far more features and is a bit more complex than the Mac OS of the old days. The book makes the complex features simple and the simple features even simpler. It also has tons of tips and tricks for using Mac OS X.

What do you think?