One of the constant questions that I get is: what book can I recommend to learn Windows?
Until now, I've always responded a little incredulously, because to me, that question has always seemed like asking for a book on the internal combustion engine in order to learn how to drive.
Studying a book on Windows will do little to teach the average user how to do the kinds of basic tasks that people bought their computers for in the first place.
Tasks such as sending and receiving e-mail, surfing the Web, typing letters, opening spreadsheets, scanning pictures, etc., have their own sets of procedures to understand, procedures that won't get mentioned in your typical book on Windows.
Imagine going to your automobile's user manual to learn how to drive. The owner's manual assumes that you already know the rules of the road and how to drive the vehicle. In it you learn things like how to adjust the power windows and top off the windshield wiper fluid, but you won't learn what to do when you come to a yield sign.
For the longest time, I recommended no specific book to solve Windows-related questions. Instead, I directed people to find books and materials more specifically focused on the task at hand.
In other words, I told people that if they were trying to figure out how to send and receive e-mail, get a book on their e-mail program (Outlook Express or AOL, typically).
If they want to know how to type letters on their word processing program (typically MS Word), get a book on the program that they are trying to master. That's how to get the results people are striving for; focus your studies on the programs that are applicable to what you are trying to do, rather than relying on the countless Windows manuals that are out there.
So, with that in mind, what's a person to do? What kind of general book should the average new computer user get in order to get familiar and comfortable with their machine? If "Windows for Dummies" isn't going to help get down to business. What other options are out there?
Well, I'm happy to announce that there is an option. I've just finished reading "The Secret Guide to Computers" (30th edition). I'm not the type of reader who likes to curl up with a good manual. Nope, not usually. I have plenty of manuals lying around that I pick up and thumb through when I'm looking to solve a problem, but to sit down and read a manual from cover to cover, I can't say I've ever done that before.
However, "The Secret Guide to Computers" was a thoroughly entertaining read. I was able to begin from the first page and found that the book flowed easily from one subject to another with a matter-of-fact style that brings often intimidating technical issues down to everyday language.
And boy, does this book ever cover the topics.
Everything from old systems to new modern-day workhorses are hit upon. Hardware, software, operating systems, networking; just about all topics are covered with clarity. The author is constantly revising his tome so as to keep it up to date and, let me tell you, if you are looking for a guide that touches a little on just about every aspect of computers and is easy for non-technical people to read, "The Secret Guide to Computers" (30th edition) is for you.
My mother-in-law is actually reading this book and rapidly becoming computer literate because of it.
You can find out all about this book at the official Secret Guide to Computers Web site, www.secretfun.com.
So how much does this book cost, you may be wondering? Well, that depends on how many you want to buy. For one, just $20 with standard shipping, two for $16 or four for $12. Books can be ordered by phone with a credit card by calling (603) 666-6644 or send an e-mail to Russ@secretfun.com.
This is one book that's worth reading.
. Just a reminder: I will be hosting a free seminar in St. Lucie County on identity theft sometime soon.
Sean McCarthy fixes computers over the Internet and can be reached at (772) 621-5515 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.