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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
If you’re fortunate enough to get TechTV on your cable system (or your dish), you’ve probably discovered Leo Laporte, the host of The Screen Savers, TechTV’s daily computer advice show. Laporte, who started out with PCs long before IBM did, ranges far and wide, offering great advice in an inimitable style -- often hilarious, sometimes downright silly, always right on target.
For a middle-aged former McDonald’s fry cook, he’s developed quite a following: On his first public appearance, in Vegas, more than 200 geeks waited in line for four hours to meet him. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the crowds swelled to 700, including folks carrying motherboards to be autographed.
Now you can get a whole year’s worth of Laporte’s best tech advice in one place: Tech TV Leo Laporte's 2003 Technology Almanac. The follow-up to his 2002 bestseller, this baby’s packed with new stuff -- a page a day, full of bizarre facts, detailed advice, quick tips, “Downloads of the Day,” and cool things you can do that you never thought possible.
Before we go any further, there’s something you need to know: Only at Barnes & Noble.com and at Barnes & Noble stores can you get this exclusive DVD Edition of Tech TV Leo Laporte's 2003 Technology Almanac, containing more than two hours of digital video -- ranging from Leo’s “ultimate guide to configuring and building your own PC,” to a collection of his best tech advisories. (If your cable system doesn’t bring you Leo, here’s your chance to see what you’ve been missing. If it does, here’s your chance to capture those memorable moments that would’ve otherwise been lost forever.)
Now back to the stuff that’s in everyone's copy of the book (even those poor unfortunates who buy it somewhere else). We mentioned detailed step-by-step advice. How about a complete guide to “remastering” all your ancient LPs on CD? Or a Consumer Reportsstyle guide to those products that promise to fix damaged CDs? (Unfortunately, contrary to rumor, Turtle Wax car polish doesn’t work. “Wipe Out!” just might, but be careful: It’s darned toxic, and flammable to boot.)
There are plenty of great “guest contributions.” For example, the legendary digital artist Bert Monroy (whose Photoshop Studio with Bert Monroy we’ve praised elsewhere) stops by with a quick primer on fixing overexposed or underexposed images in Photoshop. Mikkel Aaland, author of Photoshop Elements 2 Solutions, shows how to use Elements to eliminate redeye and restore old photos.
The goodies go on and on. You’ll learn where to find more dingbat fonts for Windows (there’s a whole site just for dingbats -- and you’re thinking, “Only one?”) Laporte tells you which high-end designer outlets now sell discontinued merchandise on the Web. How to get free shopping list software for your Pocket PC. Where to find the most reliable and current online hardware price comparisons. How to burn ISO images. How to figure out what that used car should really cost. Where to auto-generate an appropriate poem for Mother’s Day (or any other special event). How to save a bundle by mail-ordering your prescriptions from Canada.
And…where to find free intrusion detection software for Windows. How to figure out who owns someone’s Web site. How to copy your home movies to CD in VCD format. How to set up a multiboot system. How to tweak Mac OS X. How to shrink your digital photos to email-friendly size using nothing more than Microsoft Paint.
For tax time, Laporte teaches you what you need to know to deduct part or all of the cost of your new PC -- and where to do your return online for just $7.95. When Easter rolls around, he shows how to find the Easter eggs hidden in your Palm OS, in Flash 5 Player, and in Photoshop.
Get this book (at B&N.com!) and every day, Leo and his pals will entertain you, inform you, and help you get the most out of all that silicon junk that clutters up your life. 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.