Book Review – TechTV Leo Laporte

TechTV Leo Laporte’s 2003 Technology Almanac
Que Publishing
530 Pages
$24.99 US, $38.99 CAN
ISBN 0-7897-2829-X

Quick Quiz:
If you were to stick ice pick betwixt someone’s eyeball and eyelid, penetrate the orbit into the brain and the move said ice pick side to side you would be:

A) Fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a Mafia hitman.
B) Committing a felony in hopes of riding the needle.
C) Performing a legitimate but antiquated medical procedure.

The correct answer is C, and the medical procedure described is a lobotomy. I can also tell you that the first lobotomy was performed on November 12th, 1935. How could I possibly know such vital minutiae? My secret is “TechTV Leo Laporte’s 2003 Technology Almanac” a book where you can find such mind bogglingly cool trivia every day of the year. Leo Laporte also mentions that lobotomies aren’t performed anymore and generally considered inhumane. I find that statement highly suspect. After all, someone green lighted not one but three (!) Yahoo Serious movies in twelve years.

I bet when you heard the word “almanac” the first thing you think of is “The Farmers Almanac”. Sure you’ve probably never actually seen one (I haven’t) but you know (as do I) that it is full of highly questionable information such as predicting the length of winter by squishing a wooly worm and measuring the ensuing bug goo displacement. This prejudice does a disservice to worthwhile almanacs everywhere. “Technology Almanac” is classic bathroom reading, informative and brief articles (one per calendar day of 2003 day) with plenty of humor thrown in for gentertainment value. It is definitely not Mac exclusive but there is no anti Mac bias either. “Technology Almanac” is just a solid effort with plenty-o-coverage for any computer that a home user is likely to have. But there’s more than just tech stuff, there’s also loads of the aforementioned useless trivia and a pointless daily poll. . Generally I’d deduct points for the poll (I hate unscientific polls) but since Leo’s poll is usually some amusing question I am going to make like the third prong of an electrical plug and remain neutral.

If you’re wondering just what kind of tech info you’ll find scattered throughout this epic length almanac (it’s a page a day but “Technology Almanac” has a whole slew of appendixes that stretch the length to 530 pages) you’ve come to the right place. On any given page you’ll find a tip of the day, a download of the day and probably some nifty links. Sure you won’t find every article super useful or every link a must visit but you’ll find enough winners sprinkled throughout “TechTV Leo Laporte’s 2003 Technology Almanac” to make the reading well worth the minimal daily investment of time. Heck part of the fun is turning the page and stumbling onto something useful that you never knew about before.

Some books seem written precisely for some people and this was the case with “TechTV Leo Laporte’s 2003 Technology Almanac”. Leo Laporte clearly wrote this book just for me, at least that’s the inevitable conclusion if one judges the book’s value by how many pages I have dog eared. I know, I cheated and read the book all at once instead of day by day, call it reviewer’s license, but I enjoyed every guilty second.

I can confidently say this will be a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Qwaanza/Festivus present for any computer user on your holiday list that leans slightly to the geeky side. Of course if you’re really smart you’ll run out and buy the book now and read “TechTV Leo Laporte’s 2003 Technology Almanac” (be careful, avoid signs of wear) before the holidays roll around then give said book to a dear friend. Using my method you get to read the all the coolness that is “TechTV Leo Laporte’s 2003 Technology Almanac” and you save $24.99 on a gift for that dear friend or relative.

Bottom line: If you like trivia and computer tips, some worthless and some worthwhile, or know someone who does you won’t go wrong with “TechTV Leo Laporte’s 2003 Technology Almanac”. As it is I can tell that this book is not as great as I think it is but it is still pretty good. Read a sample page and you’ll know if you like “TechTV Leo Laporte’s 2003 Technology Almanac” or need to move onward.

MacMice Rating: 4 out of 5

Chris Seibold

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