Foreword by Steven Bobker


The name Bob LeVitus is a working definition for Not Dull. No matter where you run into Bob – in conversation, around the poker table, or in his writings about the Mac – you are not going to be bored. You will pay attention, not that he’ll give you much of a choice. And that’s good. His opinions tend to be provocative and well thought out, his poker playing is skilled enough to empty your wallet if you’re not both good and lucky, and his knowledge of the Mac and his ability to communicate it to readers are unparalleled.

The release of System 7.5 is as important to Mac owners as System 7 was. Maybe even more so. The added functionality makes all Macs instantly far more powerful and at the same time, easier to use. I can’t see any reasons, short of perversity or laziness, for System 7.1 owners not to upgrade.

When you do upgrade, you’ll find a lot of new features worth mastering. Apple manuals are Apple manuals; don’t expect a lot of help from them. You could hire a consultant, but that’s expensive and not at all necessary. Just read this book. It’s a wonderful guide to all of System 7.5.

This book, Macintosh System 7.5 For Dummies, might be better called The Best Mac System Software Book Ever. Bobby has gone past his usual really good writing level here and taken a dry subject (Who really gets excited about an operating system? A game, sure; and maybe even that exceptional productivity application, but the System software?) and created a book that makes you want to learn and use this important advance in Mac software.

He’s also achieved the difficult trick of writing a book that works for first-time users as well as power users who have been using Macs since January 1984. That’s no mean accomplishment. I’ve been writing for and editing Mac magazines since 1985 and know first hand the magnitude of Bobby’s achievement here.

So why is this the book for you? Why not stick with the oh-so-pretty Apple manuals? Surely they have everything you’re going find here? Well, no, that’s not so. The Apple manuals are pretty, I have to give them that. But readable? I don’t think so. They’re so dry that they should be declared a fire hazard. They’re very full of themselves and at the same time so carefully worded that it seems certain their final editing was at the hands of Apple’s legal staff.

Their "avoid all risks, take no shortcuts because it might not be perfectly 110% safe" approach means that the Apple manuals are incomplete. They might tell you how to use your new software, but they never have and never will tell you how to use it most efficiently and productively. That’s what Macintosh System 7.5 For Dummies does. It goes beyond the too-dry manuals and too-brief magazine articles and tells you everything about System 7.5. After you digest it, you have the choice of doing things the Apple manual way or really using and enjoying your Mac.

One example of dry manual versus Bob LeVitus is the coverage of the subject of backing up. Apple tells you to do it. Period. Bobby tells you why you must back up frequently. He covers the absolute best hardware and software tools, the tools to use if you can’t afford the best tools, and the absolute need for multiple back up sets. And he doesn’t bury this information toward the end of a long chapter where, odds are, most manual readers are asleep when they pass it by.

With wonderful and refreshing attitude for a person who didn’t grow up (or even ever live) in New York, Bobby presents vital information, like his instructions on backing up, right in your face. He’s never been shy, and if something is important, he makes sure you get it.

The greatest strength of Macintosh System 7.5 For Dummies is the breadth and depth of its content. System 7.5 opens a lot of new ground for Mac users, and this book covers it all. You’re not going to find a better helper as you move into System 7.5.

The second greatest strength of Macintosh System 7.5 For Dummies is its solid dose of in-your-face attitude. This is a readable helper that cares. All too many computer books today are either chores to read or, in a couple of cases, simply unreadable because they seem to think dry seriousness is a business-like virtue. They’re wrong. Readability counts big-time, and Macintosh System 7.5 For Dummies can be as hard to put down as the latest potboiler. You not only learn from it, but you enjoy the process.

Macintosh System 7.5 For Dummies jumps right to the top of the class in Mac System software books, easily surpassing all the others I’ve read (and that’s just about all them; it’s part of my job). Any book that surpasses it is going to have to be awfully good. And it wouldn’t surprise me if Bob LeVitus is the author.

Steven Bobker

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