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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
If you run Windows XP and you’re even remotely into digital media, you need a copy of Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition. Check out just some of what’s in Plus! There’s Photo Story 2, which lets you transform your photos into stories by narrating over them, adding music, pans, zooms, you name it. There’s Party Mode, which transforms Windows Media Player into a jukebox. There’s Analog Recorder for converting all those ancient audiocassettes (and LPs if you’ve got ’em). There are oodles of new effects for Windows Movie Maker 2. And a whole lot more. But wait! STOP!
Don’t go out and buy Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition. Don’t even download it. Get it with Faster Smarter Microsoft Windows XP with Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition. You’ll save a bundle... and get one of the easiest, most useful guides to Windows XP you’ll ever find.
Author Ed Bott’s been writing about Windows for well over a decade. Not long ago, he coauthored Windows XP Inside Out, one of the most comprehensive, intelligent Windows books ever published. But, while books like that warm the hearts of power users, Faster Smarter Microsoft Windows XP with Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition is for everyone.
Bott begins with a quick rundown of Windows XP’s most important new features: the stuff you need to know right away. For instance, you’ll learn how to create separate accounts for everyone in your family, so they won’t stray into your financial files -- and how to use Fast User Switching so they can get to their stuff in seconds, without logging off.
There’s a full chapter on installing software. Consider that excessive? Wait until you see all of Bott’s tips. Did you know you can set up a keyboard shortcut to start any program you like? Or that some programs which aren’t “formally” Windows-XP compatible can be tricked into thinking they’re still running under Windows 98? Ever install some program that insists on running at startup, like it or not? Bott shows how to get it back in line.
You’ll also find a detailed chapter on troubleshooting (including Windows XP’s greatly improved System Restore feature); and another on protecting your computer’s security and your family’s privacy against spam, viruses, unwanted cookies, intruders, et al.
Then it’s on to the fun stuff -- plenty of it. You’ll find practical coverage on connecting to the Internet (via broadband or old-fashioned modem) and browsing the Web with IE 6; and using email and instant messaging.
Bott especially focuses on Windows XP’s rich collection of digital media tools -- showing you how to create your own CDs; play DVDs; organize images from your digital camera -- even email or web-publish those images.
This edition adds two entirely new chapters on the goodies in Plus! Digital Media Edition. One chapter focuses on creating new media with Plus! The other walks you through turbocharging Windows Media Player with some of the goodies we’ve mentioned (and others, like Windows Media Player Sleep Timer and Alarm Clock).
Check out the price: if you were considering buying Plus! separately, you’ll be getting the book for next to nothing. It’s a great deal -- on a great deal of fun. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.