Friday 26 October 2007

Microsoft Windows Vista Guide by: Jason W. Eckert

Microsoft Windows Vista Guide
Jason W. Eckert

Thompson Course Technology

ISBN 1418837571

There has been a lot of talk about Microsoft Windows Vista on campus and among my friends at this school and from other schools. Most of it is in the negative. People have tried it, hate it, and switch back to XP or Linux\Unix. Or they bought a new computer at Futureshop or Bestbuy and got stuck with Vista and they hate it. I myself have been running it on one of my machines since March and, to be honest, I have had few problems.

When I became aware of a book about Vista written by a University of Waterloo Grad, I wanted to check it out. This book or booklet is a great introduction to Vista. Jason W. Eckert writes in a very fluid and easily accessible manner. Unlike a lot of technical manuals I have read, this one is a pleasure to read. Eckert writes with a great passion for his subject and a desire to instill knowledge in others. In his introduction he is unbiased in his appreciation for both Mac- and Microsoft-based systems. He is a technophile who uses his skills as a wordsmith to draw the reader into the subject.

This book will take a user through a number of steps in installing, setting up and configuring Windows Vista. There are sections on how Vista is different from XP, the steps to install Vista, how to navigate the new interface, customizing Vista and how to maintain and troubleshoot problems with this new operating system. As Eckert states in the introduction to the book, Vista is here to stay, and most new technologies for years to come will be based upon this engine. Therefore, I state it is far better to at least learn how to use this new operating system from a master like Eckert, than to be frustrated by it when you must use it eventually.

There are a few key attributes of this book that make it a great tool for learning how to use Vista. First, Eckert's writing is so readily accessible and understandable. Second he makes extensive comparisons between Vista and XP, at many points in the book, showing us the differences and the similarities. Third is a comprehensive list of key terms, and definitions. Finally there is a set of review questions and hands-on projects at the end of the chapter. These projects will take you through a step-by-step processing of applying what was read about throughout the book.

This book is a great little guide if you already have Vista and want to go deeper with what it can do for you, or if you are thinking about switching over to Vista, it will reveal to you the many differences between XP and Vista. But if you are looking to go even deeper than that, Eckert has a full-length book coming out next year of which this is just the first chapter. This book is written as a tool to help you get going and learning the basics of Vista.

(First Published in Imprint 2007-10-26)

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