If you get TechTV, you’ve probably discovered The Screen Savers, the network’s daily tech advice show. Hosted by Leo Laporte, who started out with PCs long before IBM did, the show ranges far and wide, offering a pleasing potpourri of enlightenment, real-world advice, and occasional outright hilarity.
Now you can get a whole year’s worth of Laporte’s best tech advice in one place: Tech TV Leo Laporte’s 2004 Technology Almanac, Barnes & Noble Edition. The follow-up to his 2003 bestseller, this book’s packed with new stuff from Leo, co-host Patrick Norton, and the rest of the Screen Savers gang. Here’s a page a day of authoritative advice, quick tips, downloads, and cool stuff you never knew you could do.
Buy it at Barnes & Noble.com, and you’ll get something nobody else gets. It’s a DVD packed with more than 90 minutes of digital video: the best of last year’s shows. (Don’t get TechTV? Here’s your chance to see what you’ve been missing.)
But, back to the book: January kicks off with practical resolutions for making your old computer new again (system maintenance, tweaking, and, of course, backup). By January 3rd, you’re discovering nifty system profilers and tweakers, from the PC Pitstop web site to Motherboard Monitor (just how hot are you running?).
You’ll find data deletion tools that work way better than reformat (but not quite as well as a sledgehammer); freeware that’ll help you trash your dead Web favorites; even tips for cleaning scratched CDs (try baking soda toothpaste, but never wipe in a circular pattern.)
It’s February, maybe it’s nasty out, so the TechTV gang focuses on -- what else? -- games and entertainment. Here’s everything from frag fests to virtual cow tossing, LAN parties to retro game emulators... and, if you’re really bored, Windows Solitaire cheats. Oh, and a preview of what could be the next massively multiplayer mania: there.com.
March’s entries are focused on staying safe on and off the Web: identity theft prevention tips, notebook PC anti-theft software and devices; security guidelines for always-on broadband connections; password-protecting your Microsoft Office files; spyware detectors; Wi-Fi security; even Netcam home surveillance systems that let you check out your house over the Internet.
April? Using tech to manage your life (from TV time-shifting with PVRs to online banking and diet tracking. July, vacation time: a full month of family photography tips. September? Back to school with your PC. November? Troubleshooting (we bet you won’t wait 11 months to read it.)
Get this book (at B&N!) and every day, Leo and his pals will entertain you, inform you, and help you make the most of all your silicon junk. 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.