Siliconwasteland is the official Web site of Steve Schwartz, computer and game book author. Over my 30-year career as a computer industry writer, I've written hundreds of articles and around 60 books designed to help people learn and master computer applications such as FileMaker Pro, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Access, CorelDRAW, Digital Image Suite, Internet Explorer/Outlook Express, and Quicken. I was also one of the first game book/strategy guide authors and wrote some of the earliest published books about Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, PC, and Macintosh games.

Retail price: $24.99 U.S.
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My Samsung Galaxy S III
Steve Schwartz
576 pages, full color
Retail: $24.99 U.S.
Que Publishing, 2012

Friendly, quick, and 100% practical, My Samsung Galaxy S III is the must-have companion for every Samsung Galaxy S III user. Authored by Dr. Steven Schwartz, a leading expert in demystifying complex technologies, this book walks new users through every task they'll want to perform, including:

  • Setting up the Samsung Galaxy S III and mastering its TouchWiz touch interface
  • Placing and receiving calls
  • Browsing the web with the latest mobile version of Google Chrome
  • Using social networks, managing contacts, and creating calendar appointments
  • Send and receive email from multiple accounts
  • Moving data between phone and computer
  • Playing and managing music
  • Watching video from movies, TV, and other sources
  • Shooting and sharing photos and HD video
  • Using built-in and third-party apps for productivity and fun
  • Customizing and optimizing the Samsung Galaxy S III phone, services, and usage
  • Troubleshooting and fixing problems

Every task is presented step-by-step, using carefully annotated, full-color screenshots, all numbered so there's no chance of getting lost or confused. Everything's clearly organized in modular, self-contained chapters designed to help readers get up-and-running in no time and keep their Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones working exactly the way they want. Throughout, the book is packed with helpful tips, lists, and quick solutions to the problems users are most likely to encounter.

Free Online Edition!
Purchase of this book includes 45 days of free access to the online edition at Safari Books Online.

Social Networking and Socializing with your Samsung Galaxy S III


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Microsoft Office 2013: Visual QuickStart Guide
Steve Schwartz
464 pages, full color
Retail: $34.99
Peachpit Press, 2013

Visual QuickStart Guides, designed in an attractive tutorial and reference format, are the quickest, easiest, and most thorough way to learn applications, tasks, and technologies. The Visual QuickStart Guides are a smart choice and guide the learner in a friendly and respectful tone. Visually presented with copious screenshots, the focused discussions by topic and tasks make learning a breeze and quickly take you to exactly what you want to learn.

Microsoft Office 2013: Visual QuickStart Guide, written by best-selling author Steve Schwartz, has been extensively rewritten to provide expanded coverage of the core Office 2013 for Windows applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and provides in-depth instructions on many of the new features and changes introduced in Office 2013. Coverage of each application is jam-packed with information and tips that not only explain HOW to perform a task, but WHY you need this procedure and WHEN it's best to use it.

eBook Included!
In addition to concise, step-by-step explanations of core tools and tasks with plenty of helpful screen shots to keep you on track as you work, Microsoft Office 2013: Visual QuickStart Guide includes the eBook. You can download digital versions of this book to load on the mobile device of your choice so that you can continue learning whenever and wherever you are. An authorization code bound into the book provides you with access to EPUB, PDF, and MOBI eBook formats to ensure that you get the experience that best suits your viewing needs.

Sample chapter
Office 2013, SkyDrive, and the Office Web Apps


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Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac: Visual QuickStart Guide
Steve Schwartz
504 pages
Retail: $29.99
Peachpit Press, 2011

Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac: Visual QuickStart Guide, written by best-selling author Steve Schwartz, has been extensively rewritten to provide expanded coverage of the core Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, provides in-depth instructions on many of the new features and changes introduced in Office 2011 for Macintosh, and offers a thorough introduction to the Office Web Apps. Coverage of each application is jam-packed with information and tips that not only explain HOW to perform a task, but WHY you need this procedure and WHEN it's best to use it.

Sample content
Office 2011 Secrets: Radio Buttons and Check Boxes for Excel


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Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide
Steve Schwartz
432 pages
Retail: $24.99
Peachpit Press, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide, written by best-selling author Steve Schwartz, has been extensively rewritten to provide expanded coverage of the core Office 2010 for Windows applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and also provides a thorough introduction to the Office Web Apps. Coverage of each application is jam-packed with information and tips that not only explain HOW to perform a task, but WHY you need this procedure and WHEN it's best to use it.

Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide provides in-depth instructions on many of the new features and changes introduced in Office 2010, such as the following:

  • Office-wide features: Backstage (File tab), customizing the Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar, Paste Preview, image-editing tools, screen clippings, Office Web Apps
  • Word: Navigation Pane, searching for graphics and tables, text effects, contextual spell checking
  • Excel: Sparklines (cell-based charts), new conditional formatting options
  • PowerPoint: Reading View, presentation sections, Animation Painter tool, video-editing tools, comparing and combining presentations, creating videos from presentations, broadcasting presentations on the Web
  • Outlook: Using and finding commands in the new Ribbon interface, working with Conversation view, creating Quick Step macros

Steve Schwartz is uniquely qualified and readers benefit from his 30+ years of experience as a software expert, technical support director, magazine editor, and writer. Steve has written more than 60 books, many on Office and other Microsoft products, and has been using Office since the first version. Although this book is geared toward the beginning through intermediate user, Steve won¹t waste your time with pages of stories and analogies before actually discussing the topic at hand. Each page is clearly focused on the needs of the reader. In fact, Steve's guiding principal in creating this and his many other Visual QuickStart Guides is "The Three C's." The material must be clear, concise, and correct. Thumb through a copy today and find out why this is the quickest and easiest way to learn Microsoft Office 2010.

Sample chapter
Ten Reasons to Upgrade to Office 2010

Conquering Super Mario Bros. Adventures

Classic Video and Computer Game Books

As one of the earliest authors of tip books and strategy guides, I'm making select titles available as Adobe Reader/Acrobat (PDF) files. Whether you're interested in beating an old game or are just nostalgic for the good old days, you can relive a bit of gaming history on your PC or Mac screen. The initial titles are Conquering Super Mario Bros. Adventures, Guide to Nintendo Adventure Games, The Big Book of Nintendo Games, Return to Zork Adventurer's Guide, and the official guides for Virtual Bart, Alone in the Dark 3, Shadow of the Comet, and Dust: A Tale of the Wired West. You can read about and order the PDF books in the new Game Books section.

Dust - A Tale of the Wired West: The Official Strategy Guide


Other Recent Titles: Downloadable Tables of Contents and Sample Chapters

To make it easy for you to see what's in many of my latest titles, I've added links that you can click to download the table of contents and a sample chapter. Each one is an Adobe Acrobat PDF file that will open in your browser or can be read with the free Adobe Reader software (formerly called Acrobat Reader).

Microsoft Office 2008 for Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide

Microsoft Office 2008 for Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide

Five months in the making, this update to my best-selling Office:Mac Visual QuickStart Guide contains step-by-step instructions and more than 1,000 screenshots to introduce you to the important features and procedures of Office 2008. If you've previously used Office, you'll benefit from the 60+ pages of new material, as well as detailed information about changes introduced in Office 2008.

[Contents] [PDF Sample Chapter (12)] [Online Sample Chapter (4)]


Microsoft Office 2007 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide

Microsoft Office 2007 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide

This new, written from scratch QuickStart provides step-by-step instructions for the commands and procedures you're most likely to use in six Office 2007 programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and Publisher). Perfect for users who are new to Office, as well as those who are upgrading and wondering where Office 2003 commands can be found in the Ribbon -- now that the menus are gone!

[Contents] [PDF Sample Chapter (2)] [Online Sample Chapter (4)]


Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro 8.5: Visual QuickProject

Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro 8.5: Visual QuickProject

FileMaker Pro 8.5 introduces two important features that may not be readily understood: Web Viewers and named objects. To help users take advantage of these new features, I was asked by FileMaker, Inc. to produce an update of my previous book: "Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro 8: Visual QuickProject." Available only from Peachpit Press (Adobe Acrobat/PDF format). Requires FileMaker Pro 8.5 or higher.

For a description of the book, view the press release. If you reached this page looking for the downloadable icons used in the book's project, click here.

[Online Sample Chapter]


FileMaker Pro 8.5 Bible

FileMaker Pro 8.5 Bible

This edition updates the FileMaker Pro 8 Bible by adding material on the new Web Viewer (enabling you to display live Web pages in your databases), named objects, and their supporting script steps.


Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro 8: Visual QuickProject

Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro 8: Visual QuickProject

In the first version of this book (Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro), users learned to create a full-featured, flat-file database. In this edition, you're stepped through the process of creating a relational database called Investment Minder. The database contains multiple related tables, layouts, portals, buttons, and scripts. Requires FileMaker Pro 8.0 or higher.

[Contents] [PDF Sample Chapter] [Online Sample Chapter]


Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro: Visual QuickProject

Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro: Visual QuickProject

FileMaker Pro 7 has a wealth of features and capabilities that can be daunting to a new user. Rather than just wading in, you can use this step-by-step, full-color, 160-page guide/tutorial to create your first database and learn by doing. After buying the book, you can click here to download the button images for the database you'll be creating. The material in this book is applicable to FileMaker Pro 7.0 and higher.

Note: To create the database in this book, you must download a free update to FileMaker Pro 7. Click here for details.

[Contents] [Sample Chapter]


Entourage 2004 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide

Entourage 2004 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide

Entourage 2004 is the email/personal information management component of Office 2004. This extensive 350-page guide is the only book written exclusively about Entourage. Although simple enough for beginning and intermediate users to understand, it goes into great depth and is an excellent reference for "all things Entourage."

[Contents] [Sample Chapter]


Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide

Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide

Like the previous editions, Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide covers all key components of Office 2004, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage. If this is your first version of Office, your first Mac version, or you just want to get up to speed on the new and key features as quickly as you can, you'll find this book ideal.

[Contents] [Sample Chapter]


Microsoft Office Access 2003 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide

Microsoft Office Access 2003 for Windows: Visual QuickStart Guide

Even after 25 years of progress in creating software, many programs still aren't easy to learn and use. And run-of-the-mill procedures may be neither simple nor obvious. Access (now known as Microsoft Office Access 2003) is a case in point. Since the manual is noticeably absent, you're apparently expected to learn to use this highly complex program by experimenting and reading the online Help. Want to learn how to create, customize, and use Access databases the easy way?

[Contents] [Sample Chapter]