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Leo Laporte's Technology Almanacs · 12 September 2005, 07:40 by Admin

These are not exactly beginner books. They aren’t exactly geek books either. Leo Laporte has pulled off the rather amazing feat of writing books enjoyable by just about any level of computer user.

My wife and I are a good example of that. I don’t make claims to great geekdom, but I’m more than competent around computers. My wife, however, is just a casual user – email and the web mystified her until very recently. Her primary computer use is just word processing, which she certainly became proficient at, but she has little knowledge ( or interest ) in much else concerning her computer.

I had picked up these books because Leo hawks them incessantly (but not objectionally) on Tech TV. If you don’t get Tech TV where you are, it’s a cable station devoted entirely to technology – it’s geek tv. Leo is one of the hosts of The Screen Savers, a 90 minute show that I watch very frequently. Somewhat surprisingly, my wife often watches it with me and, even more surprisingly, she actually admits to enjoying it.

Well, maybe it’s not all that surprising. The show is fast paced, has a lot of energy, and the hosts and staff are very upbeat, often funny, and do an excellent job of explaining technology in interesting and enlightening ways. A “technology is fun” attitude permeates the show.

That same playful attitude is found throughout these books, and I was scanning through the 2002 version while my wife was reading something else. These are books you can just flip open and read because there’s no real organization; just tips and facts scattered about in Almanac style. I was enjoying these thoroughly, and I had read a few little tid-bits aloud for my wife. Then I came across a half dozen Microsoft Word tips, so I handed that volume to my wife and picked up the other. After a bit of reading I started to feel tired, so I put it down and told her I was ready for bed. “Go ahead, I’ll be right up”, she said.

Yeah, right. About an hour later I got up and found her looking through the 2003 volume. That’s the first time in 35 years I’ve found her looking at one of my computer books. But, there’s simply a lot of good stuff here that will interest anyone who uses a computer. It’s not just Microsoft: there’s Mac and even Linux stuff in here too.

At this writing, Amazon had a combo deal where you could buy both books for a good price. Check it out; I think you will enjoy these.

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