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Mac OS® X Snow Leopard™ All-in-One for Dummies® by Mark L. Chambers

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Introduction

Elegant.

I remember the first moment I moved a mouse across a Mac OS X Desktop. At that time, it was the beta of version 10.0 — and I very well remember the word elegant as my first impression. (My second impression was UNIX done better.)

That's really saying something, because I'm an old operating system curmudgeon: I cut my computing teeth on Atari, Commodore 64, and TRS-80 Model III machines, and I still feel much at home in the character-based environment of DOS and UNIX. Of course, I've also used every version of Windows that His Gatesness has produced, including the much-improved Windows XP and the somewhat-improved Windows Vista. And yes, I've used Mac OS since before the days of System 7, using a Macintosh SE with a 9-inch monitor (and a built-in handle).

But out of this host of operating systems, could you really call one elegant before now? (Even Mac OS 9 didn't deserve such a description, although it did provide the foundation of convenience and simplicity.) Mac OS X — now at version 10.6, affectionately called Snow Leopard — is something different: It's a fine-cut diamond amongst a handful of semi-precious stones. It's the result of an unnatural marriage, I'll admit . . . the intuitive, graphical world of Mac OS 9 paired with the character-based stability and efficient multitasking of UNIX. Who would have thought that they would work together so well? Mac OS X performs like a Ferrari, and (unbelievably) it looks as good, too.

Therefore, you can imagine just ...

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