Most of my books teach people how to use software. Most
people consider themselves novices or intermediate computer
users, ones who just want to know how to do something without
a lot of nerdspeak, computerese, or computer science dissertations.
As the joke goes, "You ask a nerd what time it is,
and she tells you how to build a watch." My books tell
you what time it is, and if you want to learn about the
history of timepieces, there are other books out there that
will be of greater interest to you.
When I'm not writing books I'm writing customer case studies
on software deployments, marketing materials for various
software products, or even the occasional book or movie
review. I'm also quite a ways into writing a fantasy novel
for young adults; when I finish it and start submitting
it for publication, you can read about it here as well.
Unofficial Guide to Windows XP
600 pages. Published February 2006. This is the first
technically-focused book in the popular "Unofficial Guide"
series. The series and the book tell it like it is; if there
is a hidden gem in Windows XP you should know about, the
book points it out. Likewise, if Microsoft made a boneheaded
mistake in the software, this book tells you about that,
too. Instructions are clear and concise, with screenshots
that illustrate key concepts or choices on nearly every
page. This book is for intermediate users who want to get
things done without fluff, speeches, or parades, and want
the straight scoop. My co-author Derek Torres contributed
four chapters to the book and did a fantastic job.
Master Visually Windows XP
432 pages. Published August 2005. All new personal
computers come equipped with Windows XP Home or Professional
Edition, and many businesses have rolled it out to desktops
across the organization. This book is targeted at the novice
to intermediate user who may be familiar with Windows but
can benefit from task-based instruction on how to get things
done. Service Pack 2 improves many things, including
security and stability, and the new features help make
desktops more secure. Over a year in the making, I contributed three chapters to the
book early in its development and the other two authors
contributed the balance of material.
Microsoft Windows Movie Maker 2: Do Amazing Things
242 pages. Published December 2003. Movie Maker
2 is an entry-level video editing program stuffed with professional-level
features that lets people work with video camera footage on a
personal computer. This book was co-authored with John Buechler
who was granted the coveted Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable
Person) award for his work with the Movie Maker community.
The book is in four colors, with plenty of screenshots,
and is easy to follow. Highly recommended for anyone new
to video editing, or anyone who wants to get the most out
of Movie Maker 2 on the Windows XP platform.
Master VISUALLY Office 2003
720 pages. Published September 2003. My third book
in the Master Visually series and the first as sole author.
Office 2003 is the latest application suite from Microsoft
and there are a lot of new things to like and take
advantage of in the software.
Like other books in the Master Visually and Teach Yourself
Visually series, it teaches you how to use the software
based on what you want to do. Don't know how to do a mail
merge? The task on Word's Mail Merge feature walks you through
everything step-by-step, showing you each field to complete
and button to click.
This book covers the basics of Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
Access, Outlook, FrontPage, and Publisher. Each task also
has intermediate and expert-level tips for readers looking
to take productivity and product usage to the next level.
Recommended for readers familiar with earlier versions and
Master VISUALLY Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere,
and After Effects
700 pages. Published June 2002. Some of the most
powerful and complex software on the planet is made by Adobe
Systems, who have been creating image-centric software for
nearly two decades. This book covers Adobe's photo, drawing,
video, and special-effects programs, bringing a single-volume
reference to readers seeking instruction on one or all of
these programs. Because these software programs are advanced,
I would only recommend them (and this book) for readers
who have used image-editing programs before, or who are
already familiar with the technology.
My co-author was Sherry Kinkoph, who kindly agreed to pitch
in and write the section on After Effects. Due to aggressive
deadlines I did not have time to do the whole thing myself,
and am very thankful she dropped by to help out. Check out
her other books for Wiley Publishing if you get a chance;
she has a very clean and straightforward writing style.
Connecting to Customers: Strategies and Solutions for
Growing Your Business Online
240 pages. Published February 2002. Harry Brelsford
was the primary author on this book, and the content is a bit different
than my other books. Rather than taking a step-by-step approach
to software, this book targets business executives who are
considering expanding their existing business onto the Internet.
Most of the book is platform-neutral, covering business
considerations and 10,000-foot overviews of the technology
involved in moving to the 'Net.
I was privileged to write chapters 1, 3, 6, 7, and the
Appendix, while Harry did the heavy lifting in the other
chapters. The other two authors were Microsoft employees
who helped us with editing, content review, and providing
access to the software, development teams, and customers
who provided material for the book.
Teach Yourself VISUALLY Illustrator 10
336 pages. Published February 2002. Mike Wooldridge
and I were asked to put together a book on Illustrator 10
only a few weeks before Adobe Systems released it to manufacturing.
In about five weeks, we each wrote half the book —
I took chapters one through six and chapter eight, Mike
took chapters seven and nine through fourteen. Mike had previously
written other books for Wiley on Adobe products, so he was
admirably equipped to write on the sections involving macros
and batch file processing. Check out his other work
in the Teach Yourself Visually line for help on other Adobe
264 pages. Published December 2001. With all the
In An Instant books, I was both a compiling
editor and author, whittling down material from other Wiley
books to the In An Instant format, and adding new material
Flash 5 In An Instant
256 pages. Published December 2001.
editor and author.
Master VISUALLY Web Design
648 pages. Published October 2001. Carrie Gatlin
was the primary author on this book, and she needed help
on rounding out part of the book with material covering
both technologies and software. I ended up writing ten chapters
covering XML, WML, Web server management, Macromedia DreamWeaver,
Flash, and HomeSite, and Adobe Photoshop. Overall it was
a very interesting range of topics and I had a lot of fun
writing this book.
Teach Yourself VISUALLY Macromedia Web Collection
448 pages. Published September 2001. In mid-2001
Macromedia decided to bundle together its Web authoring
packages into what it called the "Web Collection"
and offered the bundle at an attractive price to Web developers.
Wiley Publishing had individual books on the three programs
in the bundle — Flash, Dreamweaver, and Fireworks —
and scrambled to release a book that could be a companion to
the people purchasing the bundle. As with the In An Instant
books, I was brought on as compiling editor and author.
I pulled together material from the other Wiley books, reshaped
it into the Teach Yourself format, and added new text where
Photoshop 6 In An Instant
256 pages. Published August 2001. Compiling editor and author.
Dreamweaver 4 In An Instant
256 pages. Published August 2001. Compiling editor and author.
MCSE Windows 2000 Designing All-In-One Exam Guide
929 pages. Published June 2001. This book was my
first project with Harry Brelsford, a well-known technical
author, instructor, lecturer, and contributing editor at MCP Magazine. He was under the gun on a deadline
and needed help writing a chapter for his book. After talking
with him a bit, I contributed Chapter 7, Security Considerations,
that discussed the various factors that go into drafting
a security plan for medium- and enterprise-sized customers.
Teach Yourself VISUALLY Windows 2000 Server
335 pages. Published November 2000. My first book
and the one I remember most fondly. Through a series of fortuitous
circumstances I was put in contact with an acquisitions
editor at IDG Books (now Wiley Publishing) who needed an
author for an upcoming book on Windows 2000 Server. This
book was written for people who may not be familiar with
server-side operating systems but who needed to know how
to do the day-to-day management — add a user, create
shared folders on the server, add the server to an
It was difficult paring down the list of potential services
and technologies into a "need to know" list, but
in my opinion this is about as minimal yet easy-to-understand
as you can get without taking a class or reading an even
thicker, denser book on how to use Microsoft Windows 2000