Archive for the 'Books' Category

August 30th, 2013

An Online Privacy Primer

An acquaintance sent me an email message today remarking about how prolific I’ve been—he said it seems as though every time he turns around there’s another book out by Joe Kissell. It’s true that I have a new book, and it’s also true that “I have a new book” is as rare a statement as “I just got a haircut.” (Which reminds me, it’s been about a month…and…scheduled.)

What’s my secret? I’ll tell you: I don’t waste time blogging. Life is too short, and there are too many books to be written. In fact, I’m supposed to be writing two (or five, depending on how you count) at this very moment.

But this particular new book is, I think, especially noteworthy. It’s called Take Control of Your Online Privacy, and I think it’s one of the best and most important things I’ve written. Here, let me tell you a bit about it personally:

If you’ve ever wondered whether the information you send and receive over the Internet is really private—or what to do if it isn’t—this book is for you. It’s written for the intelligent layperson, not for propellerheads. I hope you find it useful!

The Internet is a scary place. Stay safe out there.

February 26th, 2013

The Joe of Tech: Take Control of Your Passwords

I’d like to tell you about my new book, Take Control of Your Passwords. But since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let Nitrozac and Snaggy show you instead:

The Joe of Tech - Passwords

Interested? Click on over to the Take Control site and buy your copy today!

P.S. There could be cookies in it for you!

March 20th, 2011

Tweeting an Entire Ebook: Take Control of Your Paperless Office

Well, I’m doing something kind of crazy: I’m tweeting the complete text of one of my ebooks! That’s right, the entire contents of Take Control of Your Paperless Office is about to be released for free—in plain text, one 140-character segment at a time. You can watch the exciting drama unfold in real time (at the rate of one tweet every 15 minutes) by following @zapmypaper on Twitter. It’ll take 17 days to tweet the whole 118-page ebook, but anyone who’s sufficiently motivated (or crazy) can read the whole thing on the Twitter Web site or via their favorite client. For those who would rather read the book in a more conventional format, Take Control is offering the book at a 30% discount for the duration of this project.

In my ebook, I talk about scanning paper documents and then shredding the originals. So this is my attempt to “shred” an ebook via Twitter—and the first time I know of that anyone has tried to do anything quite like this. I don’t know if this is going to turn out to be the best idea ever or a complete waste of time, but either way, it should be entertaining.

I wrote up a separate page detailing how I’m pulling this off, and talking about things like special styles I use to give Twitter followers some sense of the original style and structure of the ebook. You can read all the gory details at Tweeting an Ebook.

The tweeting commences at noon Eastern time on Monday, March 21, 2011. I hope you’ll join me at @zapmypaper and help spread the word!

October 17th, 2007

Early bird gets the Leopard

Almost exactly four years ago, on October 24, 2003, Apple released Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. On that same day, the very first ebook in the Take Control series appeared—my upgrading guide, Take Control of Upgrading to Panther. Little did I know then that this little publishing experiment, undertaken by most of the TidBITS staff and a handful of other talented authors and editors, would be so successful as to eventually produce the majority of my income. But today, less than 24 hours after Apple finally announced the shipping date of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, I’m pleased to report that my 14th title in the series is now on sale: Take Control of Upgrading to Leopard: Early-Bird Edition.

When I wrote my second Upgrading book, Take Control of Upgrading to Tiger, I naturally started with what I’d written about Panther, added some stuff, removed some stuff, and generally updated everything to be accurate under the new system. But this time I wanted to go way beyond that. Leopard is a big, big release with lots of serious changes; I wanted the Upgrading book to reflect that and prepare users as thoroughly as possible. So in addition to massively reworking the text to cover all the changes to the Leopard installation process, I pulled in some material from my ebooks on backups, maintenance, and troubleshooting. Now I provide detailed instructions on getting your Mac in tip-top shape, complete with an excellent backup, before inserting that Leopard DVD—and I think the extra steps up front will lead to much happier installations later.

Of course, there was a tiny problem: ideally, you’d do all that preparatory stuff days or even weeks before you get your Leopard DVD, but I can’t actually release the full book, with all its top-secret information about the ins and outs of Leopard installation, without violating my NDA. So we decided to create two versions of the book. The Early-Bird Edition, which you can buy (for $10) and download today, has all the background information you need to get your Mac ready for the upgrade, but leaves out all the information I’m not allowed to reveal (which amounts to quite a large portion of the book). The full edition will become available the instant Leopard goes on sale in North America (that’s 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time next Friday, October 26). Anyone who has already purchased the Early-Bird Edition can simply click a link on the cover of the PDF to go to a Web page where they can download the full version for free. And then they can skip (or skim) about 50 pages of text and get on to the actual upgrading process fairly quickly. Of course, if you wait until next Friday or later to make your purchase, you’ll simply get the full version, which is a superset of the Early-Bird Edition.

Now then…what’s crazy to me about all this is that I initially wrote (both versions of) this book back in February, when Apple was still saying Leopard would be released in the spring. It went through our whole editorial and technical review process way back then. In April, when Apple announced a delay until October, we just put the project on ice. This summer I picked it up again, and updated the manuscript with new information from each new beta version of Leopard. Yesterday, as soon as Apple made their announcement, I had to tweak a few things in the Early-Bird Edition to correspond to the latest truth, but even so, we were organized enough that the PDF was available for sale within hours. Between now and next Friday, I very much hope to see an even more recent version of Leopard than what I’ve been working with, and should it contain any significant changes, I’ll work those into the final text as well. The result should be our most thorough and up-to-date upgrading guide ever! If you’re planning to install Leopard, I think you’ll find this ebook to be immensely helpful.