If you’re really into technology (or know someone who is), give yourself (or them) the perfect gift: PC Magazine Technology Almanac.
This is a day-by-day 2004 almanac designed specifically for power users. And it’s the gift that’ll keep on giving: Your recipient can activate a free one-year subscription to PC Magazine, absolutely free.
PC Magazine was recently ranked by Technology Marketing as the world’s most influential consumer technology magazine. For a reason. These folks know how to talk tech to folks who know and love it.
The legendary columnists of PC Magazine fill this book’s pages. Michael J. Miller. Bill Machrone. Bill Howard. And, of course, John C. Dvorak, who shows up each Friday to muse on topics ranging from mini-iTX motherboards to scRGB, blue-violet lasers to clockless microprocessors.
Dvorak isn’t always right. (It remains to be seen whether LED lighting will complete replace incandescent and fluorescent bulbs in the next five years, as he predicts here.) But he’s always provocative -- and you can count on him to turn you on to stuff you’ve never heard of before.
Every week, this almanac covers a new theme. (So it’s easy to look up what the gurus have to say about whatever you’re most interested in. With 52 weeks in the year, odds are they’ve covered it.)
For instance, the week of April 4th focuses on security. But not the usual antivirus and firewall blather. Stuff you don’t already know.
Like biometrics. If you haven’t seen it at work yet, maybe your first exposure will be at Disney World. (The mouse now keys his yearly passes to your fingerprints, so you can’t get away with sharing them.) Or home surveillance and automation. Bill Howard’s been fooling with X-10 for over a decade now, and he shares what he’s learned here. If you’re even slightly geeky, you’ll be seriously tempted.
Or, how about keystroke loggers and other slick, sneaky PC surveillance tools? There’s a scary look at WinWhatWhere Investigator 4, which Bill Machrone calls “a night-vision sniperscope to the original version’s plastic binoculars.”
This beast doesn’t just record keystrokes: it takes screen snapshots, records both sides of chats and IM conversations, tracks Internet activity, watches for typed words and phrases...it can even take Webcam pictures. And it hides. It can rename itself, move around your hard drive, even uninstall automatically when you’ve got the goods. (Thankfully, the authors also offer a page of tips for discovering snoopware!)
If you’ve ever read PC Magazine, you may know that some of its columnists are passionate photo buffs. That’s reflected in this book’s digital imaging coverage. You’ll find up-to-the-minute info on new prosumer D-SLR (digital single-lens reflex) and ZLR (integrated zoom-lens reflex) digital cameras. You’ll also find an expert discussion of avoiding fuzzy digital photos (it isn’t your hardware’s fault).
Almost every day, the authors point you to at least one great download or web link -- everything from StartUp Manager (for disabling those unwanted apps that automatically run at startup, eating up resources) to a company that’ll imprint your digital photo on a Rice Krispies bar (honest!) 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.