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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Most folks who’ve upgraded to Windows XP have barely touched its remarkable digital media and communications capabilities. That’s why Microsoft published Microsoft Windows XP: Do Amazing Things: to encourage you to explore all these new features, and show just how easy most of them are.
Want to create a narrated photo story on CD-ROM that anyone can watch, no matter how computer illiterate they are? Want to send instant messages to your friend’s PDA? Become a DJ by mixing your own custom CDs? That just scratches the surface of what you’ll learn here.
In Part I, Windows XP Expert Zone columnist Joli Ballew shows you how to make the most of all your digital photos and images. You’ll start simple: hooking up your camera or scanner, saving pictures, viewing them, emailing them -- and backing them up in case your computer ever crashes. (Like that would ever happen.)
You’ll learn easy ways to resize photos to fit your needs; organize them easily in your picture library; transform them into gifts; create photo stories; even get into digital scrapbooking.
Next, you’ll move on to music -- and all the other aural goodies Windows Media Player 9 can bring you. You’re probably at least dimly aware that you can use your PC to listen to radio stations from all over the world. Now, you’ll do it.
Bet you didn’t know WMP9 can respond to voice commands. (It does, though you need Microsoft Plus! to do that trick.) You’ll learn how to build and search your music library; transform your PC into a karaoke machine, even create a soundtrack to your life.
Ballew then turns to movies. You’ll learn how to import all your footage (and music, and still photos) into Windows Movie Maker 2. That’s the easy part. Ballew then shows you how to transform all that raw “stuff” into a compelling narrative folks would actually want to watch.
Part IV turns to some of Windows XP’s most important communications tools: Windows Messenger, and its sibling MSN Messenger. Maybe you knew you could add voice and video to Windows Messenger: this book will show you how. Maybe you knew you could use it as a business collaboration tool: this book will walk you through the process.
The book also comes with Microsoft’s bonus Do Amazing Things DVD-ROM, packed with goodies. The DVD is a quick and easy way to update your Windows XP system with the latest PowerToys and other Microsoft digital media add-ons.
For example, there’s a tool for creating CD slideshows that can be viewed on virtually any computer. There’s Webcam Timershot, for automatically capturing and storing Webcam pictures. There’s even Microsoft’s Windows Media Maker 2 creativity kit, with bonus video titles, music, and sound effects for your next movie.
The DVD’s also loaded with tutorials and demo videos that show you how to make the most of Windows XP’s digital media and communications features. And if that’s not enough, you get a library full of movies, all licensed for 60 days (think of it as a super-long video rental).
Your PC isn’t just about word processing and email anymore. It’s the digital media and communications center of your universe. Learn how to use it that way -- with Microsoft Windows XP: Do Amazing Things. 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.