books/pcannoyances.jpgThis book is based on the optimistic premise “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. It lays out all the lemons in the computer world and tells you in detail how to make the lemonade.

Everyone has been annoyed by the shortcomings in Windows, the aggravating quirks in e-mail programs, and the persistent problems in programs like Microsoft Word and Excel. Steve Bass lists these frustrations and then gives his solutions. 

Ever been aggravated by the Auto-Correct feature in Word that changes things that you don’t want changed….PC Annoyances has the answer. Ever wondered why Outlook Express is so slow to load…PC Annoyances will explain. Ever been annoyed by spam….PC Annoyances will help you eliminate it.

Steve covers Windows, the King of Annoyances. He also tackles the aggravations in all the main e-mail programs including Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape, Hotmail, and AOL. Major software programs like Word, Excel, and Power Point are also confronted. If there is no direct solution for a problem he offers workarounds to get you through the problem. A few of his workarounds, such as how to deal with the aggravating automatic numbering in Microsoft Word, seem to be quite complex, however most are easy to understand and implement.

Sometimes a downloadable software program is suggested as a solution to a problem. Links to all the suggested programs can be found on the O’Reilly PC Annoyances Web site. This is very convenient for the reader. Also, many of the recommended programs are free… also good for the reader.   You will find that Steve likes a lot of the same programs that I do, like Google Toolbar for blocking pop-ups, and Ad-aware and Spybot for eliminating sneaky spyware. (See my article entitled Internet Freebies for other free programs).

There’s a lot to look at in this book. The pink and white pages are filled with screen shots, helpful hints, tips, and suggestions. The formatting of the tips and other information varies. For instance, some tips are in a white box; some are plain italics text with a small header; some are in plain text with a large header.  I would like to see a little more consistency in the formatting, but this is a small complaint since all the tips and tricks are quite readable and informative.

You have to be familiar with Windows terminology to get the most out of this book. Novices will find some of the material a little too deep. If you have a solid understanding of Windows and have used your e-mail program long enough to be annoyed by it, you will certainly find this book a worthwhile investment. Intermediate computer users who have already come up against many of the common computer annoyances will be delighted with this book.


Book Author:  Steve Bass
Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates (October, 2003)
ISBN#: 0596005938