Reviews of technology books, useful or interesting to Windows users

Book Review - Supercommunicator by Frank J. Pietrucha

SupercommunicatorHave you ever tried to explain something to someone and completely failed to get your point across? Have you tried to simplify a complicated concept for someone else and gotten nowhere? Supercommunicator's subtitle is "Explaining the complicated so anyone can understand." Since I'm like many people and sometimes run into trouble trying to explain something that I understand so someone else can understand it, I was very interested to see if this book could teach me how to communicate more clearly. Did it live up to my expectations? Let's see.

Book Review - Practical Lock Picking, Second Edition, by Deviant Ollam

Practical Lock PickingWhen I was young, information on how to pick locks was not easy to come by. Nowadays, of course, you can find instructions all over the internet and a wealth of YouTube videos showing you what to do in great detail. With all that information available for free, is it worth buying a book on the subject as well? Practical Lock Picking seemed to us like an interesting read so we gave it a try. Let's talk about it in this review.

Book Review - Team Collaboration, Using Microsoft Office for More Effective Teamwork

Team Collaboration, Using Microsoft Office for More Effective TeamworkIt used to be that team collaboration on documents was time-consuming and tedious. One person would write a draft, give the draft to someone else to make changes, re-read the changes and decide whether to accept them, hand the document to someone else to edit, and so on. Nowadays sharing documents is every bit as easy as writing them, and many people can easily work on the same document. Microsoft Office's suite of programs is designed for teamwork, but not everyone will find it instinctive at first. This is where a book like Team Collaboration, Using Microsoft Office for More Effective Teamwork could be a real gem. Does this book live up to the title's promise? As a long-time Office user, I was interested to find out. Let's see what I discovered.

Book Review - Windows PowerShell 3.0 First Steps, by Ed Wilson

Windows PowerShell 3.0 First StepsWe recently received a copy of Windows PowerShell 3.0 First Steps and I decided to take on the challenge of reviewing it, mainly for two reasons. The first one is that I have never reviewed a book before and I saw it as a great exercise in this direction. The second reason is the fact that this book is written with PowerShell beginners in mind and - you guessed it - I'm a PowerShell beginner. Actually, that would be an overstatement, since I have never used PowerShell before, so I considered it a great way to get to learn a new skill. Without further ado, let's dive in and see if this book is worth buying.

Book Review - Windows 8.1 Inside Out, by Tony Northrup

Last year, I reviewed Tony Northrup's Windows 8 Inside Out and found that it was an excellent reference that did a fine job of explaining the then-new interface of Windows 8, so that it was easy for newcomers to understand. Now there's a new edition that covers Windows 8.1. Is the approach different this time around? Does the book still do a great job? Did the book live up to my expectations? Let's find out in this book review.

Book Review - Windows 8.1 The Missing Manual, by David Pogue

Windows 8.1 The Missing ManualI have long been a fan of David Pogue's books. He's one of an elite group of tech writers who can take a complex subject, explain it so that nearly anyone can understand, and be entertaining in the process. He's written some of the best books in the Missing Manual series, and this time he's tackled Windows 8.1. Does this book live up to its predecessors? Did it provide any surprises along the way? Let's find out.

Book Review - Windows 8.1 Step By Step, by Ciprian Rusen & Joli Ballew

Windows 8.1 Step by StepWhen I reviewed the first edition of this book - Windows 8 Step By Step - I said that it was "the kind of book to keep handy by your computer for reference, because it will give you confidence that you can do everything right. It's a winner!" Other sites, including Amazon, where reviewers are notoriously cranky, have given it 5-star and 4-star ratings as well, and it's one of Microsoft Press' top selling books in 2013. So this new edition had quite a reputation to live up to. Did authors Ciprian Adrian Rusen and Joli Ballew meet the challenge of making the new Windows 8.1 Step by Step bigger and better? Let's take a look and see what they accomplished this time around.

Book Review - Office 2013: The Missing Manual

Office 2013: The Missing ManualOne of the Missing Manuals series of books' greatest strong points is that they explain pretty much everything about their subjects. Their slogan is "The book that should have been in the box," and that's accurate. Most of these books are excellent references for their subjects, written by people who clearly are experts and who know how to explain things so that we non-experts can understand them. I have bought several of these books over the years (in fact, there are four of them in the office with me as I write this). So when I was given the opportunity to review Office 2013: The Missing Manual, I started out with high expectations. Were my expectations met? Let's see in this review.

Book Review - Microsoft Office Inside Out: 2013 Edition

Microsoft Office Inside Out: 2013 EditionBack in May 2011 I reviewed Microsoft Office Inside Out 2010 and was favorably impressed by the book and its approach to covering the Office 2010 software suite. The authors, Ed Bott and Carl Siechert, are recognized experts with lots of experience in writing quality tech books and they were able to create a high-quality product. There's a new edition out now, covering Office 2013, and I was interested to see if I would still give this new book a positive review. What did I decide about the new Microsoft Office Inside Out: 2013 Edition? Let's find out.

Book Review - Take Control of your Online Privacy, by Joe Kissell

Take Control of your Online PrivacyHere at 7 Tutorials we take online privacy & security very seriously. Nowadays, it's a fact of life that one just can't be too careful, and the more information we have, the better. In this case, knowledge really is power. Thus, I was very interested by the title Take Control of your Online Privacy. Could this book tell me more than what I already had learned about online security and privacy? It's a fairly short e-book (118 pages) so would it pack in enough information to make it worth buying? Let me tell you what I've found out.

Book Review - Microsoft Office Professional 2013 Step By Step

Years ago, when I bought Microsoft Word for DOS 5.0, it came with three manuals in the box: One to explain the program, one to walk the user through creating printer drivers, and one for the built-in programming language. And some people think that those old DOS programs weren't sophisticated. :)
Now, of course, there is the Microsoft Office suite of programs, all of which have a long list of features, and NO manuals come in the box. Microsoft Office Professional 2013 Step By Step is designed to give a good overview of everything the average user will need to know to be confident in using the new Office. Does this book really cover the bases, and explain everything well? Is it a reference that Office users will need? Let me talk about that in this review.