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PC Fear Factor: The Ultimate PC Disaster Prevention Guide Paperback – October 24, 2002
From the Author
PC Fear Factor is a comprehensive, uncompromising end users guide to PC disaster prevention and recovery. It is written in clear, non-technical language that anyone can understand. It provides detailed, step-by-step instruction on how to prevent most computer disasters, and how to recover quickly, easily, and completely from unavoidable disasters.
Aimed at home users, PC Fear Factor addresses computer disasters you have come to know and hate disasters caused by computer viruses, hackers, and hard disk crashes as well as self-inflicted computer disasters (who among us has not trashed their computer by making some ill advised change?) and the ever-popular Twilight Zone disaster the disaster of mysterious unknown origin.
Computer disasters are gut wrenching experiences. Anyone who has ever seen his digital photographs, spreadsheets, or MP3s vanish into cyberspace can attest to this.
The central theme of PC Fear Factor is simple but powerful: that personal computers are unstable equilibriums, naturally prone to disruption and disaster. With each passing year, our computing environments become increasingly more complex and more prone to failure.
Any change to your computing environment - even the most seemingly innocuous one -can disrupt your computers unstable equilibrium. By definition, when an unstable equilibrium is disturbed, disaster follows, because the system does not return to its previous state of equilibrium. If you are not prepared to deal with such disasters, your computer has become the worlds most elegant but expensive paperweight.
Most people never consider the terrible impact a computer disaster will have on their lives until it is too late. If you have been fortunate enough to avoid a computer disaster up until now and have done nothing to prepare for such a disaster, you are computing on borrowed time.
PC Fear Factor is designed to put you back in control of your computing environment. I hope you enjoy the book!
From the Back Cover
What would you do if the hard drive containing a year's worth of financial data and your wedding photos suddenly stops working? What would you do if Internet hackers run off with your credit card numbers and rack up several thousand dollars in 1-900 calls? Most people never even remotely consider the possibility of a computer disaster, but instead take it for granted that their computer will always work. Inevitably, disaster strikes in various forms, from hardware failures to hackers, fires, floods, and even simple human error. PC Fear Factor: The Ultimate PC Disaster Prevention Guide is the first line of defense in keeping safe from these all-too-real situations. This book provides non-technical computer users with the ability to prevent computer disasters wherever possible, and the ability to recover from unavoidable disasters quickly, easily, and completely.
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Among the topics Luber talks about here are the "must" applications you should have including an anti-virus program (Luber recommends Norton Anti-Virus), a firewall (Zone Alarm is the one Luber recommends), and also some kind of data scrubber (a program designed to erase beyond recovery any old date), along with several other optional recommendations. I learned quite a lot reading this book about what I should and/or shouldn't do with regards to protecting my computer from another potential disaster. And Luber points out that a disaster is always not very far away with computer systems that have at best an "unstable equilibrium."
Luber also describes the steps to take when buying a new PC, two chapters are devoted to that. While I'm very happy with the system I have and the support I get from the merchants I bought it from, the tips Luber offers are quite helpful. Luber also describes how to do data backups, pointing out that if you have all your important files backed up, you can recover from a hard drive failure quickly.
Luber also points out not all "disasters" really are disasters if you know how to fix a problem quickly. Not only is the book helpful, Luber has a companion web site to go along with the book.
I found this to be an excellent and informative book about a topic that leaves most computer users like me fearful and ready to call my techie friend when I run into computer problems. Thanks Alan!
This book is informative, funny, and most of all, understandable. This is no small feat given the complexity of the subject matter.
Although the book is rated for the "beginner to intermediate" skill levels on the back cover, I believe that even computer experts will learn a great deal from this book, because it covers the topic of disaster prevention and recovery in more depth than anything I have ever read.
The author takes on Microsoft in several places for encroaching on the turf of other software vendors and failing to provide as adequate a solution. For example, the author explains why the Internet Connection Firewall, the free firewall included in Windows XP, is inferior to other free firewalls that are available to the user. In fact, the author even points to the user to a Microsoft web page where Microsoft admits that its product is inferior. The author describes how other vendors of software utilities (anti-virus software, firewalls, etc.) routinely encroach on each other's turf without providing a comprehensive solution. He persuasively argues that you need a suite of specialized tools to adequately protect yourself against computer disasters, rather than one all-purpose tool. He recommends specific tools, and shows you how to configure and use them (as well as how to purchase them at the cheapest price!).
But PC Fear Factor isn't just about tools. The author discusses procedures that you should implement to prevent computer disasters, including self-inflicted computer disasters. For example, he discusses how many computer disasters result from allowing somebody outside the family - a friend, relative, or house guest - to use your computer. He points out that these individuals typically don't follow safe computing practices and are likely to put your computer at risk by downloading something, installing something, or making some change to your computing environment.
The author's central theme - that personal computers are unstable equilibriums, really resonated with me. I have on several occasions experienced computer disasters caused by the most seemingly insignificant change to my computer. I only wish I had had a book like this a few years ago - it would have saved me untold grief by telling me how to prepare for and recover from such inevitable disasters.
Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, this 384 page book is the most important, useful computer book I have ever purchased. I have also found the author's companion web site to be a valuable source of disaster prevention and recovery information.