, Microsoft, Tech news, Windows 8, Windows 8.1

Easy Windows 8.1 is Ready for You!

My latest book, Easy Windows 8.1, is now available in print and various e-book versions. It offers full-color visual step-by-step instructions for Windows 8.1’s new and improved features (travel, search, digital photo shooting and editing, and more) along with instructions designed for both touchscreen and mouse/keyboard users. Grab a free sample chapter at the Que Publishing website, where you can also buy a print copy or watermarked PDF , ePUB, or MOBI versions.

Print and Kindle versions are also available at (and is offering a sweet $5.00 coupon off the print version right now!). Print and Nook versions are available at Barnes & Noble.
Cover of Easy Windows 8.1 by Mark Edward Soper

Books, MaximumPC, Tech news, Windows Vista, Windows XP

On the Windows Beat…

I’ve been working hard on a couple of new Windows projects lately:

And, in addition to those, I’ve also been covering the Windows beat at Maximum PC’s website. If you haven’t dropped by lately, here’s what you haven’t seen yet:

  • Learn how to protect yourself from Windows Vista’s activation problems
  • Find out what reviewers think about Windows Vista’s backup, Windows Live Photo Gallery, and Windows Movie Maker HD utilities
  • Discover why your Windows XP system downloaded the performance-robbing Windows Desktop Search, and how to banish it – for good.
  • Find out how to protect your Windows XP system from the Mailto URI threat in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader.
  • Learn how to become an unofficial beta tester of Windows Vista SP1 by making a few simple changes to your system.
  • And, on the brighter side, find out how the Atari 2600 VCS (now 30 years old!) inspired today’s booming console and PC gaming industry.

Discover how Windows Media Center, Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker and Windows Photo Gallery work together to make Windows Vista the most compelling multimedia platform for Windows yet. Get Mark’s new book Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed: an Insider’s Guide to Supercharging Windows Vista. It’s available at, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, and other fine bookstores., Books, MaximumPC, Tech news, Windows Vista

Digging Deeper to Solve Technology Annoyances

In several of my recent articles at the Maximum PC website, I’ve put on my investigative journalism cap to find out what’s behind the headlines of some major stories:


For more no holds barred analysis, see what I think about the new and improved features in Microsoft Windows Vista, and how to use them better, in my book Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed: an Insider’s Guide to Supercharging Windows Vista. It’s now available at, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, and other fine bookstores.

Books, Events, Photography, Tech news

Photoshop Layer Power! Catch the Fever In Evansville, Indiana …

… Sunday, May 20, from 2-4PM at Central Library’s second floor meeting room. I’ll be demonstrating the power of layers in Adobe Photoshop to the Southwest Indiana PC Users Group. I’ll be using Photoshop Elements 5.0, but if you’re using other recent versions of Photoshop Elements or Photoshop, you’ll also find this a useful demonstration. I will have copies of my recent books available for purchase, and I’m happy to sign books – bring copies you already have, or pick up some at the meeting (my office is moving this summer and I’m offering great deals!)

Come early, as the Evansville Public Library system is also kicking off its summer reading program that afternoon. There’s free underground and surface parking at the library and nearby, but spaces may be scarce from time to time. See you there!

Central Library is at the corner of Walnut St and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in downtown Evansville.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak again to the Southwest Indiana PC Users Group, as I have several times before:

(these links open issues of the SWIPCUG newsletter P-See Urgent in PDF format, and require Adobe Reader or an equivalent program),, Tech news

Technology Posts Roundup

In addition to blogging here at Traffic Circle 2.0, I also blog on technology subjects at Here’s a collection of my recent technology posts:

  • Put full-motion video on your Windows Vista Ultimate edition desktop as wallpaper with the newest Ultimate Extra, Dream Scene Preview, in More Vista Ultimate Extras.
  • If you’re learning Spanish and want a unique way to polish your skills and learn home networking at the same time, check out the Spanish-language version of my Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Home Networking. See The Spanish/English Home Networking Connection for more information.
  • I contributed five chapters to Special Edition Using Microsoft Windows Vista, the latest volume in a long and respected series from Windows experts Bob Cowart and Brian Knittel. For details, see Vista, Vista Everywhere…Part 1.
  • Windows Vista Ultimate edition users get free utility and other programs through the Ultimate Extras feature. Learn more about the first two (a BitLocker full-disk encryption setup program and a Texas-style poker game) with Windows Vista Ultimate Extras Now on Tap.
  • I’ve written two books on do-it-yourself PC diagnosis and repair: PC Help Desk in a Book and Leo Laporte’s PC Help Desk. Confused? Read Battle of the PC Help Desk Titles to learn which book’s the best for you.

I’ve also written a Viewpoint op-ed for recently: Getting the Skinny on Vista Security. Read it to learn how Microsoft is finally taking security seriously, and the missing pieces you need to provide when you install Vista.

Tech news

Where NEC means 'Nother Example (of) Chinese (Piracy)…

Hats off to the World Herald Tribune for their expose of how Chinese tech pirates successfully counterfeited the NEC brand, developing their own factories, R&D capabilities, and distribution (and to the Sydney Morning Herald for reprinting the story). It’s a long way from knockoffs of Microsoft Mice or Windows CDs: “The pirates were faking the entire company.”

If you’re heading to China or elsewhere in Asia, better cast a warier eye than usual on NEC-branded products. How much longer will it be before somebody figures out a way to clone a US company?