Thursday, July 28, 2005

Help Is on The Web: O'Reilly Announces Annoyances Web Site

O'Reilly Media introduced the "Annoyances" book series to provide pinpoint, real-world help for consumers suffering the slings and arrows of computing. In an easy-to-read format, each book delivers solutions: quick fixes, tips and advice, pointers to problem-solving utilities, deep background on key technologies, and more, all aimed at saving your sanity and improving your productivity.

Viruses and worms, spam and bugs, cranky software, hardware that won't work, online identity thieves, lousy documentation and customer support—these are just a few of the computing challenges consumers face every day. Mix in new technology, new products, and new software, and you've got even bigger headaches. To provide some serious relief, O'Reilly has launched

The site is designed with three key areas where visitors can find expert help and amusing commentary. On the "Expert's Blogs," authors can share their insight and answer your questions. The "Daily Fix" will provide tips, tricks, and fixes for a variety of computing woes, culled from the popular "Annoyances" series. And "Robert's Rants" are the musings of O'Reilly's in-house curmudgeon, and Executive Editor, Robert Luhn. To launch the new site, O'Reilly and Onfolio are offering a free download of RSS reader 2.0, so visitors can get daily fixes and tips delivered right to their desktops.

Onfolio RSS Reader—Free Software
Visitors to can not only learn about RSS technology—how it works, and how it can deliver specific, valuable, and useful content—but they will also be able to download a free, fully-working copy of the Onfolio 2.0 RSS reader.

Daily Fix
Every day, a new technology annoyance is featured in this section with expert fixes and tips from the authors of the Annoyances series. You'll find help on using the Internet, Microsoft Office applications from Word to Excel, the Mac, home networking, computer privacy, and more. If you've read every Annoyance volume cover-to-cover, you might not find anything new here. But which of us has done that?
The Annoyance: Virtually every online directory is full of ads hawking background searches, criminal record checks, even photos of my house! Can they really do this?

The Fix: First, run a search on your name and number to find out if your info is even in the site’s database... To opt out of PeopleData, for example, you send an email to, listing your name, address, phone number, and date of birth. To remove yourself from some (but not all) searches on US Search, you’ll need to mail a letter to:

Opt-Out Program
600 Corporate Pointe, Suite 220
Culver City, CA 90230

Expert's Blogs
The tips in this section range from totally serious, productivity-focused items to methods for wasting... um, creatively using time.
Kill Some Time: Now you can amaze your friends (and maybe even your spouse), by designing your own Google logo...
—Steve Bass, PC Annoyances Second Edition

The experts who blog here are the authors of the Annoyances books, including a core group of award-winning technology writers, computer journalism pros, and highly successful, prolific authors:
  • Steve Bass: Personal computing authority, and long-time "PC World" columnist, Steve is the author of PC Annoyances
  • Guy Hart Davis: Computing expert and author of over 30 computer books, Guy has penned such classics as Word Annoyances and the forthcoming Office Annoyances
  • Dan Tynan: Internet privacy and security expert, a former PC World editor, and an award-winning technology writer with nearly twenty years of experience
  • Preston Gralla: Internet and Windows guru, Preston is the founding managing editor of PC Week, founding editor of PC/Computing, and author of Internet Annoyances and PC Pest Control
  • Phil Mitchell: MS Access whiz and instructor, Phil is also a software developer focusing on data modeling and developing database applications

Robert's Rant
O'Reilly's in-house curmudgeon and executive editor, Robert Luhn, takes an irreverent view of computer annoyances—after all, he has been annoyed since birth. A former Editor in Chief of Computer Currents and Executive Editor at CNET, he's spent way too many years fixing computers, formatting hard drives, and wishing for a time machine ride back to 1887.
I've been annoyed as long as I can remember. First, I was annoyed by the whole crib/diaper rash thing. Later, I was irked by girls who deconstructed my smooth moves way too easily. As I grew like a young sapling in spring, I found my inner curmudgeon and discovered a lot of things annoyed me, from Congress to Saran Wrap...
—Robert's Rants, July 28, 2005

This is a serious resource for the Web User. Annoyances Central will have something to lighten your load and lift your spirits. Why munch antacids? You could subscribe to this site instead, and get relief delivered daily!

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