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More Take Control Updates

Silly us. We thought things would ease up after our initial launch and release of the 1.1 update to Joe Kissell’s "Take Control of Upgrading to Panther" two weeks after Panther shipped. On the contrary, we’re working as hard as ever, and orders continue to flow in as more and more people hear about Take Control from places like Apple eNews and a number of user group newsletters.

"Take Control of Customizing Panther" Update — Most notably, we’ve now released the 1.1 update to Matt Neuburg’s "Take Control of Customizing Panther." We’re really pleased with it, since we’ve made significant changes and additions that place it squarely where we want the Take Control series to evolve. It’s more than twice as long, with 47 content pages, up from 22, and we focused the writing to provide a more concrete set of tasks to perform to customize Panther to your liking.

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New sections include a discussion of using some of our favorite third-party utilities to customize Panther, coverage of how you can manage Services better, three ways of setting your Internet helper applications, and small tweaks you can apply to Safari and Terminal. Also, since we discovered that many readers didn’t have much, if any, experience with Mac OS X, we added a large section listing the basic customizations you can perform using System Preferences and Finder Preferences.

In accordance with the feedback we received after publishing the update to Joe’s book, we added internal links to the Changes in Version 1.1 section, so you can jump quickly to the new bits. We also added a tip about which pages largely stayed the same for people who want to print only the changed pages; however, Matt added and changed so much that most pages are different. One tip regarding printing: in the Print dialog, choose Layout from the Copies & Pages pop-up menu, choose 2 from the Pages Per Sheet pop-up menu, and choose Single Hairline from the Border pop-up menu. The large font we used prints quite nicely when reduced, so that two pages fit on each piece of paper.

Since we believe early adopters should be rewarded, and since our goal is to provide the best experience possible, we’ve sent email to almost everyone who purchased the 1.0 version, telling them how they can get the 1.1 version for free.

Why almost everyone? When you order through eSellerate (see below), there’s a checkbox titled "Send me information about product updates and offers." We can’t currently change the wording of that checkbox, so if you deselect it, we won’t send you email about the free update – you’ve opted out. If that applies to you, send us email at <[email protected]> and we’ll let you know how to get the update and add you to the list.

Similarly, if you didn’t receive email notification because you have changed email addresses or because your ISP is employing stupid spam filters, send us email and we’ll fix you up. That said, dealing with these delivery problems generates a lot of unnecessary work for us, so please try to ensure that you can receive mail reliably at the address you give when ordering.

Ordering System Changes — We’re now trying eSellerate’s service for fulfilling our orders. Although we had no general complaints with Kagi, we found that dealing with our own merchant account was draining vast amounts of time and energy away from editorial work, and we can’t afford that right now. Overall, eSellerate appears to be working well for us, and one very real advantage is that you can download directly from the final order screen, rather than waiting for your email receipt to arrive.

eSellerate also hosts our downloads now, which lets us eliminate the encrypted archives that required entering passwords into StuffIt Expander, a process that proved surprisingly troublesome. We still compress our PDF files because so many Web browsers are set to display PDF files in a window rather than download them for later reference. To make things easier for people who want to download at work on a Windows machine and print there, we used StuffIt Deluxe to create a Zip archive that any recent version of StuffIt Expander should be able to expand. People who download using Safari in Panther will find the Zip archive expanded automatically without launching StuffIt Expander.

New Ebooks Coming Soon — Although most of our efforts have been aimed toward our existing two titles so far, we have two more books in the works right now: "Take Control of Sharing Files in Panther," by Glenn Fleishman, and "Take Control of Users & Accounts in Panther," by Kirk McElhearn. You can read more about them on the Take Control home page, and stay tuned for even more titles that are still in the outline stage.


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