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Prep for Mountain Lion with New Take Control Ebook

Joe Kissell earned his cred as an author who could explain the Mac OS X upgrade process back in 2003, when we launched the Take Control series with his “Take Control of Upgrading to Panther” ebook. In fact, that book spawned an entire genre of writing about how to manage the sometimes-stressful upgrade process. Since then, Joe has maintained his mastery thanks to countless hours spent considering upgrade strategies and testing installation scenarios, and he has helped many thousands of readers upgrade with confidence. The fruits of his labor are now available in his sixth such title, “Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion,” along with a $5-off introductory discount offer.

We’re also announcing a discounted pre-order of Matt Neuburg’s “Take Control of Using Mountain Lion,” which is the sixth edition of his initial Panther-related title and which builds on nearly a decade of experience to help Mac users who want to learn Mountain Lion’s new features, be reminded of existing and updated features from pre-Mountain Lion versions of Mac OS X, or strike a functional balance between the two.

Of course, Mountain Lion isn’t out yet — Apple is poised to release it later in July — but Joe and Matt have been deeply immersed in the process of creating a pair of ebooks that will smooth your transition to Apple’s latest big cat. There’s no reason to wait for Mountain Lion to ship to start preparing for the upgrade, and “Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion” is ready for you to read now, with a free 1.1 update that we’ll publish as soon as Mountain Lion ships and Apple lifts our non-disclosure agreement. For similar reasons, we can’t release “Take Control of Using Mountain Lion” until then, but you can pre-order it now and download it as soon as we can make it available.

Both books are available separately with $5-off introductory pricing ($10 instead of their $15 cover prices), but they work together to help you upgrade successfully and get started with Mountain Lion’s new features, so you can buy them together and save $10 ($20 instead of $30). Read on for details.

These offers will expire when Apple releases Mountain Lion into the wild.

Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion -- Join Joe for a pre-upgrade check on software and hardware compatibility. You’ll also benefit from Joe’s advice on making a suitable backup to simplify your upgrade or recover from an upgrade disaster, dealing with multiple Apple IDs, and deleting extraneous data from your disk so you can start using Mountain Lion with plenty of space. Joe also provides real-world guidance for handling these special concerns during what can be a stressful upgrade, especially if you’re upgrading from a pre-Lion version of Mac OS X:

  • Managing iCloud: During your Mountain Lion installation, you’ll be asked for an Apple ID, but should you enter one? And, if you have more than one, which one? You’ll find advice for sorting out your Apple ID before you enter the installer.

  • Upgrading from Tiger or Leopard: How will you download the installer from the Mac App Store on one of these Macs? What about Rosetta for PowerPC-based apps? Joe answers these questions and discusses the special challenges you’ll encounter when trying to upgrade efficiently from 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard.

  • Considering FileVault 2: If you secure your data and documents with disk encryption now, or would like to under Mountain Lion, get advice on what to do before you upgrade and learn about the much-improved FileVault 2.

  • Planning partitions: Read about what Joe thinks of partitioning and what you might want to do about it before installing.

  • Choosing an upgrade method: With Mountain Lion, the default is an in-place upgrade, but what if you want to perform a clean install to wipe out any lurking directory corruption and ensure that your disk is nicely defragmented as well? Joe talks you through the differences.

The 1.0 version of “Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion” is 81 pages long. Once Mountain Lion ships, we plan to release a free 1.1 update that will more than double in length, thanks to the addition of full installation details, key post-upgrade tweaks, and troubleshooting tips in case your upgrade doesn’t go smoothly. It will also tell you how to migrate to a new Mac running Mountain Lion, install Mountain Lion Server, and use Recovery mode.

Take Control of Using Mountain Lion -- In “Take Control of Using Mountain Lion,” Matt looks deeply at important features introduced in 10.7 Lion and at additional new options in 10.8 Mountain Lion, while also discussing long-standing but not-always-well-known capabilities of Mac OS X. Most importantly, you’ll get a thorough grounding in Mountain Lion’s new “modern document model” that gives you three ways to save documents: the old way, the new way, or the new way with iCloud.

Additional major topics help you to:

  • Take control of the new Notifications feature.

  • Understand the new Gatekeeper security feature, and circumvent it when appropriate.

  • Take a quick tour of the new Voice Dictation feature that lets you speak instead of type.

  • Understand Auto Save, so you can let Mac OS X save for you with confidence.

  • Learn how Resume works, and how to disable it when you want a clean start.

  • Figure out how to navigate with Mission Control.

  • Enter and leave full-screen mode, and switch among full-screen apps with Mission Control.

  • Set up and use Launchpad, and get ideas for additional ways to launch apps.

  • Memorize useful trackpad and Magic Mouse gestures for controlling your Mac.

This pre-order “ebook” is only one page long; it’s a placeholder that you can use to get the full “Take Control of Using Mountain Lion” once it’s available. We plan to publish it as soon as possible after Apple releases Mountain Lion and lifts our non-disclosure agreement; ideally, the same day Mountain Lion becomes available.

Easing Your Way -- I initially thought Mountain Lion would make me feel cynical and grumpy about having to install and learn yet another version of Mac OS X. Even so, I found myself smiling as I downloaded the installer and started to get excited to see what wonders Apple had wrought, what would be fabulous and what would be awful, and just where we’re going next on this long strange journey. Lion introduced a number of issues for Mac users who were happy with how things were, but Mountain Lion has addressed some of them and generally improved the user experience in a number of areas. If you want to keep current with your use of the Mac, I think Mountain Lion is well worth its minimal price, and I hope these ebooks will ease your way — editing them has certainly eased mine.


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Comments about Prep for Mountain Lion with New Take Control Ebook
(Comments are closed.)

L Denniston  2012-07-09 20:52
When trying to use Pay Pal to pay for the Mountain Lion bundle, the system will not give you the bundle price.
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-07-10 07:28
I'm sorry to hear that you are having cart troubles… please try again, and be double-sure that the discount appears on the first screen of the cart. (I just tried it this morning, and it did work for me, as it should.) If you are still having trouble, or don't want to deal with the cart again, please email me directly or through the contact form at and I'll share the information with you that you can use to pay directly in PayPal, thus bypassing the cart. If you use the form, please mention that you've already corresponded with Tonya about the problem, so that my helper leaves the message for me to reply to.
xairbusdriver  2012-07-09 20:55
Tell me, again, why I would want an app in "Full Screen" mode. If I was using my wife's MBP, things are pretty much already in FSM. If I'm using my iMac, why wold I want a 24 inch wide screen showing an 8 inch wide document? Sure, sometimes it's good to avoid seeing anything except the one window I may be working in. But not very often, at least for me. I like being able to click on any part of a window for any of the many apps I have running at the same time. One task is something you may have heard of before... it's called copy & paste or it's big brother, drag n' drop. Both those methods were created by a forward looking company many years ago called Apple Computer. They no longer operate as a computer company, however. They now think we should all use an OS built for gestures on very small screens where you can't even see two apps at the same time, much less two windows! :wacko: ;-)
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-07-10 07:34
Of course, Full-Screen mode is entirely optional, but if Apple thinks everyone wants to be in Full-Screen mode all the time, well, they are delusional, as you aptly point out.

Personally, when I tried using Pages in Full-Screen mode. I wanted the focus of Full-Screen mode, but the software withdrew some of the tools that I wanted to work with, so I ceased trying to use Full-Screen mode. I also cleaned up my Desktop significantly at that point, because I felt that all the extra icons there were mocking me while I tried to work in a Pages window that didn't cover my entire screen. ;-)

I think that it's a YMMV situation (your mileage may vary), so perhaps someone who has found a good use for Full-Screen mode that they've fully incorporated into their work style can share here what they are doing.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-07-10 09:19
Personally, I find two monitors far better than full screen mode (and Mountain Lion doesn't improve on Lion's weak connection between full screen mode and dual monitors, unfortunately). But there are certain apps, like BusyCal and Trello, where using the full screen - even on a 24-inch monitor - is definitely a win. It probably works for spreadsheets too, but any page-based app will be awful in full screen mode unless you can get multiple pages side-by-side.
Charlie Hartley  2012-07-10 18:55
I guess this is one time I won't need a TC book since it appears from what I've read that my computer is just barely too old to accept ML. There hasn't been any change on that front, has there?
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-07-11 10:38
I'm not aware of a recent change. Apple has an article about what Macs will work at:

And Ars Technica has a recent article explaining/speculating about why some Macs were left off the list:

In case it comes up for you, "Take Control of Upgrading to Mountain Lion" does cover a scenario where your "upgrade" is to a new Mac running Mountain Lion and you want to sensibly migrate your old user account(s) to the new Mac. Hint: use Migration Assistant BEFORE you do any important customizations or work on the new Mac.
Charlie Hartley  2012-07-11 19:07
My MBPro was made in Feb 2007, a model discontinued in June 2007. From everything I read, it is just barely too old. Sigh...