Books &tc.

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 newcomers alike.


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 products.


JavaScript In An Instant

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 where appropriate.


Flash 5 In An Instant

256 pages. Published December 2001.  Compiling 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 necessary.


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 existing domain.

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 Server.