Microsoft® Windows® Me Secrets®
||Author: Brian Livingston, David Straub|
List Price: $49.99
Our Price: Click to see the latest and low price
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (01 September, 2000)
Sales Rank: 30,353
Average Customer Rating: 4 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 4 out of 5
very good , but Bott's Special Edition book is better
Brian Livingston's book was one of about 10 Windows ME books I browsed through recently during a bookstore visit. Although I know my way about Windows (and Linux if you must know the truth), I was discovering a lot of situations with Win ME where I needed more detailed information. I didn't necessarily want one of those tomes with lots of information; I really wanted a more detailed overview of how behavior in Windows ME differs from previous versions of Windows OS. I also wanted to extend ME into a home networking environment.
One problem with many of the Windows ME books is that they are cluttered with legacy information about ISA cards, making cosmetic changes to the desktop, Outlook Express, and net meeting (none of which interests me). What I wanted to know was about USB ports and hardware detection, managing multiple users, setting up a home network, multiple profiles and dual booting with Linux, the ins and outs of system restore, power management troubleshooting, stuff about partitioning and ME boot disks, basic troubleshooting for Direct X games, new hardware support and switches for custom installing ME.
Another problem with many Windows books is that they are stuffed with screenshots and little explanation. Often the bigger books mainly consist of screenshots and a description of the steps, rather than explaining why.
Anyway, the book I ended up buying was Special Edition Using Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (with CD-ROM) by Ed Bott. It was rather large and full of a good bit of extraneous parts, but this book covered all these advanced topics relatively well. Also, each chapter ends with excellent blue troubleshooting pages. The documentation and layout is easy to read and logical and full of "information chunks." It's clear that the author is not simply recycling information from his Win 95 or 98 book.
The next book I almost bought was the extremely readable The Unauthorized Guide to Windows Millennium by Paul McFedries. It was a smaller book than the Special Edition book and extremely readable. They covered many interesting topics about how to extend ME, while not dwelling on technicalities unlikely to interest the current batch of users. I liked the networking section, but was surprised that the book talked mainly about power management as it relates to notebooks and not about desktops.
Another very excellent (and big) book was Microsoft Windows Me Millennium Edition Secrets by Brian Livingston and Davis Straub. I think Livingston writes a weekly column on Windows tips, and I found a lot of useful information and tips in this book. The only problem was some of the material seemed dated and from a previous book. And there was an awful lot about Outlook Express, Net Meeting and Internet Explorer, as well as configuring the desktop. The book also contained good information about networking, but I found that the Que Special Edition mentioned above contained less irrelevant material, less screenshots but more useful information. If you want a reference (i.e. a big book), this wouldn't be a bad choice at all. I didn't find the writing for my topics of interest to be particularly helpful or full of depth. Still, a great book.
I also considered Alan Simpson's humongous Microsoft Windows Me Bible, which also wasn't a bad book. Still, I thought there was a lot of filler here. I would have preferred that the author remove chapters on less crucial features that relate more to 98 than to ME. Also, I didn't find it that readable.
Other books I considered were Windows Millennium: The Missing Manual (published by Oreilley). Of course Oreilley books are tops, but this book didn't seem especially noteworthy, and this book went to the other extreme by including very few screenshots. This book is a smaller book and didn't contain enough topics to help me out.
I checked out some more beginner books, including Dan Gookin Teaches Windows Me (The Author Teaches Series)and Mastering Windows Me by Robert Cowart. Not bad, basically a good book for screenshots, but nothing remarkable.
So that's what I gathered in an hour of browsing through ME books. None of these books are bad, and most are quite good, and lord only knows if my opinions would have changed had I read more chapters. But I should say that I have kept the Special Edition book at my side and referred to it quite often and been pleased to find almost everything I was looking for and more. The only lament is that it's more of a reference and less of a "start-to-finish" book, but the binding of this big book is pretty strong, so you may get around to bringing it to the beach some day. Some day.
Rating: 3 out of 5
A Reprint of Win 98 Book ? ?
This book seems to have too many references & tips that were applicable in Win 98 but are not applicable in Win ME. This results in the problem that you can't tell which of the tips in the book are valid. The book makes numerous references to using TweakUI to enhance some parts of your system, yet TweakUI does not seem to be a part of Win ME as it was with Win 98. TweakUI does not appear in the pre-loaded software on a new PC, nor is it on the backup CD. The book offers many other tips that probably were applicable to Win 98 but do not work in Win ME (or require going thru different screens to get to the correct result). Methinks this book was a quickly modified version of the Win 98 book that was rushed into print to take advantage of a new audience.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Very good, very useful, room for improvement
First, I want to cut the authors some slack. The book arrived at my office only a week after the official release date of Windows ME -- so clearly it had to be produced before the final version of ME was. That it covers ME as well as it does, given the timeframe, is pretty remarkable.
The authors advise readers to use the book as a reference, not to read it from cover to cover like "War and Peace". I hadn't read a Windows book since Win 3.1, so I ignored their advice and read the whole thing, all 1493 pages. It helps me write a better (I hope) review of it, but it also helped in another important way (see below).
The book is, the authors acknowledge, simply the latest iteration of their Windows xx Secrets series. As such, it is much more about Windows than it is about Windows ME -- but remember, of course, that Windows ME is really just an evolutionary release, so it's not like the quantum leap between Win 3.0 and 3.1 or Win 3.1 and Win 95. So it's okay that there is not a whole lot of new stuff about Win ME. The history and the evolution of Windows is there, and that is of considerable value itself, especially if, as I do, you work with Win releases all the way from Win 3.1 to Win ME. A good thing: I caught only three instances in the book where they failed to update from the Win 98 version (you can tell when they start talking about Win 98 as the subject instead of Win ME). That's not easy, and they did it well.
My issues with the book: (1) Microsoft is being funny about Personal Web Server. The book acts like it's present in Win ME. It isn't. There are kludgy ways around this if you need PWS, but they aren't in the book. (2) The index is weak. Realizing that I would need the index in the future, I started adding my own index entries when I was about 40% through the book. I pencilled in 136 additional index entries I thought I might need sometime. (3) There's nothing about the movie editor that I could find -- in fact the multimedia section is very light. (4) Nits: There's a missing URL on page 1193. While they talk about the Euro on page 644, the Euro symbol is called "the international generic currency symbol" on page 1272. The discussion of the Registry assumes more knowledge of .ini files and of config.sys and Msdos.sys than I think most people have today.
Especially in view of the thinness of Microsoft's documentation of Win ME, if you're installing it, you need a book like this one. I expect the book will be improved -- the authors mention the ability to download updates to the CD-ROM e-book that comes with it (I just happen to like paper books).
Very close to five stars, all in all!
· How to Do Everything with Windows, Millennium Edition
· Windows Me: The Missing Manual
· Windows Me Annoyances
· Special Edition Using Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (with CD-ROM)
· Microsoft Windows Me for Dummies