Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Pain-Relief Without Side-Effects: PC Annoyances Second Edition by Steve Bass


Ever been tempted to toss your PC out the window? Steve Bass knows just how you feel—and what's more, he's got the solution for that annoying problem in the pages of his PC Annoyances Second Edition.

Annoyances are organized into several main categories: Email, Windows (including Service Pack issues), Internet, Microsoft Office, Hardware, Windows Explorer and Music, DVD and Video issues. The second edition includes updates on issues covered in the first book, plus new issues that have popped up to annoy us all. As in all the books in this excellent series from O'Reilly, PC Annoyances presents over 150 problems and their fixes in a series of amusingly-worded vignettes, with plenty of illustrations and specific directions.
The Annoyance: I often want to copy a folder's path and name so I can insert it into an email message or save a file to a particular spot. Why should that be so difficult?
The Fix: It's easier than you think. Open Windows Explorer, navigate to the folder, highlight the path in the Address bar above, and hit Ctrl-C. Voilá, it's in your Clipboard. Can't see the Address Bar? Select View —> Toolbars —> Address Bar.
Email: This section features the foibles of the most popular eMail programs, including Outlook, Eudora, Hotmail and Gmail. My favorite tip in this section details how to work around Gmail's embargo of .EXE and .ZIP files. AOL Mail users will probably prefer the tip that sends them directly to AOL's free 24/7 telephone support: 1-888-346-3704 for PC users. Bass even includes the toll-free number for Mac users, "assuming there are any reading this"!

Windows: In addition to a host of tips for dealing with Service Pack 2 ("the annoying upgrade you really need"), this section helps you deal with the myriad of pesty things the Windows operating system does to tick you off. My favorite was a cure for "Defragus Interruptus," which had plagued my PC since a system-restore a year ago. Bass's suggestion to run msconfig and disable Microsoft Fast Find indexing didn't work for me, but his explanation of why the Defragmentation restarts itself after 3% was enough to point me in the right direction.

Internet: If you've already read Preston Gralla's excellent Internet Annoyances or Kathy Ivens' equally useful Home Networking Annoyances, you've probably solved some of these annoyances before. The biggest eye-opener was the Google Reverse Telephone Directory—Bass lets you know how to opt out of it if you don't want your address and name provided free to all searchers.

Microsoft Office: I got my biggest chuckle from Bass's inclusion of an illustration showing the Microsoft Clippy offering help with writing a suicide note, but my favorite tip in this section was a step-by-step method to automate numbered lists in Microsoft Word. If you work with numbered sequences, this tip alone is worth the price of the book!

Windows Explorer: Pining for Norton Commander? The best tip in this section, in my opinion, is how to completely dump Windows Explorer as your file-management interface. Bass recommends Novatix ExplorerPlus—you can try it out for free, then it costs only $30 to download the full version. Another tip in this section shows you how to disconnect the HTML of a saved browser page from its linked contents—this one is great if you habitually save "sample" source pages, but don't want to load up your hard drive with the other contents. (If you don't disconnect them, when you delete the contents folder, the HTML page is also deleted.)

Music, Video and CD: There are so many really cool fixes and tips in this section that it's hard to pick a single favorite. How about a $40 AudioBug that lets you "narrowcast" your MP3 files to your car's FM radio? Other utilities let you capture streaming audio and video, and save them to files. And for CDs, my favorite is the $30 GameDrive utility that moves compressed CD images to the hard drive—now you can play Myst IV without swapping CDs!

Hardware: Even with such essential guides as Degunking Your PC available, it's still useful to have specific fixes for those hardware woes. My favorite: "percussive maintenance" (a whack upside the CRT) to fix an annoying high-pitched whine from an older monitor—and a software fix as well: just change the refresh rate. Even better, Bass slyly reminds us, "This may be the best excuse yet to buy that new LCD panel you've had your eye on."

Don't just take my word for it—check it out for yourself with O'Reilly's Chapter One sample. This is another gold-medal entry for your home PC bookshelf.

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Blogger Mateus Black said...

Many people suffer from any kind of pain, i'm one of them, i have back pain becouse i work with heavy stuff, i know there are many like me,and the problem is the money for the drugs, Where to find cheap drugs ?? why prescription ?? well i want to give you an advice one find a doctor friend, two surgery, tree use drugs, the easy is the number 3 i give you a link where i go, a place that work for me, where they help me, or go to your doctor and see the real problem, hope i help you
thank you

9/28/2007 12:56 PM  
Blogger samraat said...

4/03/2010 10:12 PM  

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