Sunday, March 24, 2013

Windows 8: The Missing Manual 1st Edition, David Pogue

Strange (and perhaps mildly nerdy) as it may sound I've had my eye on the Missing Manual Windows 8 guide since before Christmas (it finally came out in March). I knew I wanted to upgrade my operating system and would want a guide to help me get up to speed quickly. Having read some of David Pogue's other books before so I knew that his sense of humor, his ability to distill instructions and explanations into everyday language, and the general approachability of his work really appealed to me. Because of that I really wanted to use this book to learn Windows 8.

In the end I upgraded earlier than I had originally intended to and bought Windows 8 For Seniors For Dummies to help fill in the gap between when I got Windows 8 and when this book would eventually released. That book was good. It was approachable, it was a start, but it was shallow. So I kept waiting. I knew how to use basic Windows 8 features and I knew where the gaps in my knowledge were.

That's where I came into this book, fully expecting to learn some new, more "advanced" tips on features that may not pertain to the everyday user. I've certainly gotten that, but I've also gotten great little hints and tips that speed up some of the most common ways I interact with my PC computer, from the new Windows 8 interface that Pogue names the "TileWorld" through my desktop and settings.

If you come in with a similar skill set you could probably skip Part One, but then again you may not want to as this section covers some of the most common ways you will interact with your PC and every half second saving tip you pick up could save you hours in the long run. Part One's main focus is on getting you comfortable with the new TileWorld interface. Through it I picked up dozens of little tricks that improve my workflow (apparently my knowledge on even the basics was not as deep as I thought). As with all of the sections I've read it was well written, highly illustrated, conversational in tone, and easy to understand (I'm through about 375 pages of actual reading/trying out, but I've also browsed most all of the sections).

It should also be noted that if you're running a windows-RT device this is your section. While the remainder book does cover more functions applicable to windows-RT users this is the most important section for you because almost everything you do will launch from the TileWorld.

From there Pogue advances through eight total parts:

Part Two: The Windows Desktop; this sections covers interactions on your desktop (dealing with files, programs, the task bar, control panel etc.)
Part Three: Windows Online; this section covers the internet and everything that goes with it including your initial setup, protecting yourself online, and the provided internet browser and email applications.
Part Four: Pictures & Music; this is the multimedia section covering videos, pictures, and music.
Part Five: Hardware & Peripherals; this section is a quick 30 pages on tips and tricks for hooking up and running printers, scanners, and other devices through the sometimes dizzying array of ports on your PC.
Part Six: PC Health; this section covers tips, tricks, and a bit of common sense to help you keep your hard drive from filling up, your computer running fast, and your data safe.
Part Seven: The Windows Network; this section covers the different types of networks and accounts that you can set up, why you might want to set these networks up, and exactly how to do it.
Part Eight: Appendixes; the book has four appendixes which cover windows installation, a quick introduction to the registry (more to ease your fears of it than to tell you how to do everything with it), features that were dropped in Windows 8 (or aren't in their old location), and a handy list of keyboard shortcuts.

While I haven't finished reading each section I have browsed them quite a bit and picked out topics to fill in things that I already knew I didn't understand well. Each topic has been approached with the same clearly defined style and attention to detail as the first 375 pages were. I'm yet to read a topic that didn't teach me something new and I'm also yet to find a topic I couldn't understand.

I give a lot of credit to Pogue for limiting jargon to an absolute minimum, but since I've jumped around a bit I do occasionally see a bit of lingo that I haven't been introduced to, but when that happens I've found that searching the index leads me almost without fail to the first uses of the lingo in question. This makes this a fantastic guide for someone who's not interested in reading a 900+ page manual cover-to-cover. Pogue realizes that nearly no one will use all of the features in Windows 8. He points it out in the book's introduction and acknowledges that because people won't use all of the features, they will skip around in the book (and that's ok). The book is designed for that and the time spent in the index and detailed table of contents to make the book highly searchable make that obvious.

With superbly deep content, a refined teaching style, and an approachability not commonly found in tech manuals approaching 1000 pages, The Missing Manual for Windows 8 is an absolute gem. I cannot recommend it highly enough to those who are planning an upgrade to Windows 8, have just bought a device that came with Windows 8, those that are struggling, and even those that feel like they have a handle on everything. You will learn, you will work faster and smarter, and you will spend more time doing what you want instead of wallowing in frustration.

Product Details :
Paperback: 930 pages
Publisher: Pogue Press (March 6, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1449314031
ISBN-13: 978-1449314033
Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches

More Details about Windows 8: The Missing Manual 1st Edition

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