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Why Hack A Mac? O'Reilly Releases "Mac OS X Hacks"

March 24, 2003

Sebastopol, CA--In some ways, the Macintosh computer is like a half-grown tiger cub. Its cute appearance and playful manner belie its underlying power. Mac OS X, for example, combines the user-friendly, highly customizable interface for which Macs are known with the solid stability, strength, and flexibility of its Unix foundation. While you may not want to get too close to a tiger cub, the Mac invites you to draw nearer, to explore and avail yourself of its quiet potential. It is true that many Mac users are content to enjoy their computers without ever feeling tempted to unleash everything a Unix desktop has to offer. But those who want to pull all of the power and performance out of their Macs that they can--and pick up a few neat tricks along the way--will learn best with tips and techniques from the experts. This is the kind of know-how they'll find inside Mac OS X Hacks by Rael Dornfest and Kevin Hemenway (O'Reilly, US $24.95).

"Mac OS X Hacks" reflects the real-world knowledge of those well steeped in Unix history and expertise. The authors share no-nonsense, sometimes quick-and-dirty solutions to administering and running of a Unix machine: Web, Mail, and FTP serving, security services, SSH, Perl and shell scripting, compiling, configuring, scheduling, and general all-purpose hacking. Add to this the knowledge of die-hard Macintosh users, customizing and modifying their hardware and software to meet their needs: System Preferences, GUI mods and tweaks, hardware tips, vital shareware and freeware, AppleScript, AppleTalk and equivalents, keyboard modifiers, and basic Macintosh-style fun.

"Mac OS X presents a unique opportunity for combining traditional Unix hacking and Mac OS know-how," explains coauthor Dornfest. "'Mac OS X Hacks' goes beyond the peculiar mix of manpages and not-particularly-helpful Help Center, pulling the best tips, tricks, and scripts from the Mac power users and Unix hackers themselves."

Each Hack in the book can be read easily in a few minutes, saving countless hours of searching for the right answer. "Mac OS X Hacks" provides direct, hands-on solutions that can be applied to challenges facing those meeting the Mac for the first time and long-time users delving into Mac OS X and its Unix underpinnings.

"Mac OS X Hacks" is the third release in O'Reilly's new Hacks Series, which also includes "Google Hacks" and "Linux Server Hacks." Written by experts for intelligent, advanced users, the Hacks Series has begun to reclaim the term "hacking" for the good guys. In recent years the term "hacker" has come to be associated with those nefarious black hats who break into other people's computers to snoop, steal information, or disrupt internet traffic. But the term originally had a much more benign meaning, and you'll still hear it used this way whenever developers get together. Our new Hacks Series is written in the spirit of true hackers--the people who drive innovation.

Hacking is "an appropriate application of ingenuity...whether the result is a quick-and-dirty patchwork job or a carefully crafted work of art, you have to admire the cleverness that went into it."
--Eric S. Raymond, "New Hacker's Dictionary"
Additional Resources:

Mac OS X Hacks
Rael Dornfest, Kevin Hemenway
ISBN 0-596-00460-5, 400 pages, $24.95 (US), $38.95 (CAN), 17.50 (UK)
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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