Last month we invited you to take our little survey to get an idea of what type of software and equipment you're currently using and what you want to learn most in the future. This article will provide you with the details of our very unscientific survey.
I did my best to group items into reasonable likenesses for graphing purposes.
As for your many comments, I tried to provide a sampling of some of the more frequent types of answers, because there just wasn't enough space or time to list everything you all said. And since most of the comments fell into a few categories, I tried to provide a few key comments from each category, i.e., hate it, love it, too expensive, don't care, etc.
I hope this provides you with some insight. And to those of you who wish to learn something that few others want to learn, I hope you can understand why we probably won't cover those subjects much, if at all. I know this will help our authors see the types of information you want to know about!
Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to take the survey.
And congrats to Stan Peters, who won the copy of Office 2003 Professional. Here's a little bit about Stan, at my request...
"I hope things are getting a lot better for you and your family. That is a lot to go through and I admire your loyalty to your readers, as long as it doesn't overshadow that of your family.
"I am 56 yrs old. I live in Swift Current Saskatchewan Canada. I don't use my computer much for work, but more for my own personal enjoyment and learning.
" I have not had any training for computers, have learned it all on my own by trial and error and from what I have gleaned from websites and ezines such as yours. I do subscribe to a number of them, and yours is one of the top few that I do not like to miss. I am somewhat an advanced user, so I do get called upon to help out friends and family, and I do enjoy helping others. I can't spend enough time on the computer to learn all I want to learn. I would like to learn such things as VBA, Scripting, Machine Language, Excel, Access and a whole lot more. I do dabble in Excel and Powerpoint. Maybe when I retire? Thank you."
1) What operating system are you using?
Most of our readers appear to be using WinXP Pro, although a lot of you are using WinXP Home edition. Of all the readers who responded to this question, 54% use WinXP Pro, 26% use WinXP Home. Just a few percentage points are then scattered to the other Microsoft systems, and other systems.
2) Are you planning to purchase Vista soon?
When it comes to soon upgrading to Windows Vista, the newest version of Windows, only 17% of you said yes. 83% said they are not planning to move to Vista anytime soon.
3) If no, why not?
I can't list ALL the comments, because there's just too much information. But there were a few basic reasons.
- Waiting for the bugs to be killed.
- I'm totally happy with WinXP and see no need to go through the upgrade hassle .
- I don't see the benefit.
- It's too expensive.
- It's up to our office, I have no say.
By far, the biggest complaint/reason for not upgrading is that users have been hearing about possible problems with this new operating system, so they're waiting for the brave to help work out the bugs and they'll reconsider, maybe, after SP 1.
Why am I not using it yet even though I was on the Vista beta. Well, I have two main systems, one runs WinXP Pro and is my production system, the other is my laptop that runs WinXP Media. I don't have the time/nerve to mess with my production system. And I haven't had enough time to play with all the fun stuff in the Media edition. So I have no plans to upgrade either of those systems. Therefore, as much as I'd like to check it out more now, I guess I fall under the category of being totally happy with what I have and don't have time for the hassle. Although we are working on freeing up another server to run Vista for learning purposes, as we did with the beta.
4) What business suite are you using?
Okay, well TechTrax is very much focused on Microsoft Office programs, particularly since many of our authors are Office app MVPs. So it's natural that people who use Office would gravitate to our ezine, since we have so much information on that suite.
For those of you using Office, most are now using Office 2003 (3% 2007, 42% 2003, 24% 2002, 17% 2000). I must say that Office 2003 is my favorite version to date. It's very stable. I liked 2000 a lot, but literally hated 2002...it just seemed too buggy or had too many issues? But Microsoft got it right in 2003.
As for 2007, not many of you are using it yet. I do use it. I have it on both my laptop and desktop and it's my default version, with 2003 hanging out as a necessary backup version.
I like it and found that creating these graphs in Excel 2007 was very easy and actually enjoyable. I wasn't clicking a dozen menus, because ribbon groups were literally presented to me as I worked on them. So I do enjoy Excel 2007, but then I don't use Excel as much as I use Word. The 2007 suite is actually great for the new user because you can get rolling very quickly and produce wonderful looking documents. It'll be a slight switch for the intermediate user, but a move I think they will appreciate. Personally, as I told the Word developers at the recent MVP summit, I feel that it's the power users who got the short end of the stick in this version.
However, we also got some advanced lessons. And I started to realize that the more I learned, the more I could see that 2007 is very powerful and might just be a good move for power users, too. The problem is that the documentation side of the dev/power user world is pretty much lot from Microsoft.
But there is hope...if you're a power user, be sure to check out Bill Coan's review of Stephanie Krieger's new book. Stephanie is a Microsoft Office MVP and I had the pleasure of getting to know her at the March 2007 MVP summit in Redmond. She's pretty amazing! She really knows her stuff. I have her Advance Office Document book (Beth Melton was her tech editor) and it looks great. I haven't had enough time to read as much as I want to yet, but it's pretty jam packed with information on Word, Excel and PPT when it comes to document creation and collaboration between those applications. If you're a 2007 power user, or even an intermediate who wants to become a power user...get her book!
And if you want to become a Word power user, don't miss Herb Tyson's Word 2007 Bible (for which *I* was the technical editor). (See http://www.mousetrax.com/books.html for book recommendations.)
5) Are you planning to purchase Office 2007 soon?
Very interestingly, the yes/no percentage was the same for Office 2007 as it was for Vista (83% no, 17% yes).
However, in my own, personal opinion...although I can't honestly recommend moving to Vista, I do recommend moving to Office 2007 for those of you who don't understand Office very well. Some people learn complex software quickly, some can't. With Office 2007, there will be a learning curve if you've been using previous versions, because the menus are gone, having been replaced by the ribbon. But you'll be up and running, creating sophisticated documents very quickly with 2007. There is a lot of very nice, predesigned material to use to get you rolling. And the ribbon changes so the items you'll most likely need come to the forefront. Intermediate users should also really appreciate the upgrade. It's just the power users who will have a bigger learning curve, I fear. You folks will want to consider the change carefully and probably keep 2003 close by for major projects for a time.
6) If no, why not?
Although the percentage of yes/no answers to a Vista purchase were the same, the reasons seem to be a bit different for Office. Or rather, the reasons are about the same, but the hierarchy is different. The most common reason not to move to Vista was that people feared it was buggy and would be a hassle with drivers and such. The biggest reason for not making the Office move seems to be because people are just happy with Office 2003. Here's an unscientific run down of the reasons...
- Happy with 2003, don't see a reason to spend the money
- Don't see the value (worthy features) in upgrading
- Can't afford it...too much for home use
- Compatibility fears
- Waiting for the bugs to be removed
Compatibility isn't much of an issue, since the compatibility pack will allow you to use docs between versions. And it's obvious that people are a bit shell-shocked by software manufacturers who don't get all the bugs out before they release a product. But I can tell you that 2007 seems to be quite stable. My personal biggest issue against 2007 is that I will have to learn XML before I can easily deal with creating custom menus for custom solutions. My other big concern was the fact that form fields (my forté) have been pushed back as legacy tools and XML-based Content Controls have moved to the forefront. Worse, finding decent documentation on these controls has been like looking for a needle in a haystack. A fact I voiced to the Word devs at the summit.
Granted, one of them calmed some of my fears by hearing me out and explaining that I can do much of what I want to do in a very similar fashion and showed me some examples...which looked cool. But again, since I didn't memorize all the info during that session, I will still need to hunt down the information he passed along and read it. But once I do understand this stuff, I'll explain it all to you folks.
7) Do you have a digital camera?
Well, digital cameras have obviously taken off! Back in our 2004 Survey, only about 20% of you were using your computers for photography. That fact has obviously changed over the last few years with 87% saying they have a digital camera.
Heck, even my mom (87) has a digital camera now. Granted, she doesn't know how to do anything more with it than put in batteries, turn it on, snap basic pictures and hand it to me to retrieve the photos<grin>, but at least she's stopped asking me "I forgot how to load film in it!" You don't mom...just batteries.<smile>
8) Do you have a Scanner?
The same goes for scanners. With scanners a part of so many home printers, it seems like most everyone has one at this point with 90% saying yes, they have a scanner.
9) If you create web sites, what web development program do you use most often?
The web development applications shown below are not all of the ones you mentioned, just the most common. Below the graph is a list of several other apps you use to create web sites, but all those came in with low numbers and all rated less than 5%, so I didn't add them to the graph to save the clutter. The graph represents those above 5% of respondents.
I tried Front Page years ago, but nearly tossed my computer out the window after hours of fighting trying to get the Front Page extensions to work properly so I could upload pages. Since I had Dreamweaver, I tried that and never looked back. I used to use HomeSite and loved it. HomeSite was bought up by Macromedia, who created Dreamweaver, so it was very much like HomeSite. This made the switch for me easy. I've used Dreamweaver from version 3 to the latest version 8.
HA, however, I did actually recently purchase a copy of Microsoft Expression Web, which is said to be the better equivalent to Dreamweaver than Front Page was. But I think Dreamweaver saw it on my desk because today Dreamweaver 8 literally went belly-up on me. It crashed with a cache error and simply refused to open any longer. I spent over six hours today, most of which was spent staring at the hour glass twirling, as I tried every possible trick I could to get DW 8 to reopen. I deleted the FileCache. I tried to fake it out by copying over the working cache from DW MX 2004. I tried Repair. I uninstalled/reinstalled. I even tried to rollback Windows. All with no luck. It still attempts to open, tosses out a vague error message and closes.<sigh>
Thankfully, I was able to go back to DW MX 2004 to finish this ezine. But I now have new interest in checking out MS Expression Web in comparison with Dreamweaver. After today, DW 8 and I are no longer on speaking terms!
Honorable mentions to these also-rans for your web development choices...(in highest to lowest order), but all were under 5%.
- Expression Web
- Serif Web Plus
- Adobe Contribute
- Eversoft First Page 2000
10) If you currently do any programming, what development language(s) do you use?
Okay, this turned out totally bizarre, but that's because when asked what development language you use, the answers were all over the map. I'm sure you're also wondering why Visual FoxPro and Delphi show 0%. Actually, they each had one user in our survey. So that's how Excel charted it out!?!?
Plus, VBA should be a larger number, but since some people specified Excel and Word as their specific VBA object models, I left that information separate. Therefore, VBA should really have a much larger chunk of the pie with 29%, adding Excel VBA (10%) and Word VBA (7%).
Also, you'll notice that many of the languages mentioned are web development languages, so we're not just talking application dev here. Lots of folks are developing apps or doing programming for the web. Just remember, these figures are for fun and to help our authors see what our readers are doing so we can better focus on what's most popular in the pages of TechTrax.
Although, I know it's also true that if we provided more information on say, Perl, we'd probably get more people in here who use it.
11) Please list the top three software programs, programming languages or technology you want to learn or learn better in the near future.
Alright, this got tricky. Because these were all over the map, too, and because there were so many different requests, I tried to group them into like categories, i.e., business apps, web apps, languages, etc. These are the things you'd like to see more of in TechTrax so you can learn them or learn them better.
Oh, but before we move to the graphs, for all of you who said you want to learn Project...where the heck have you been? For several years now Microsoft Project MVP, Mike Glen, has been publishing an incredible series on Microsoft Project. So check out our archives. You're obviously missing a lot that we have published!
Since TechTrax focuses highly on Microsoft products, we have a lot of Microsoft users here, with the main Office applications being the ones people want to learn the most. Word 26%, Access 18%, Excel 16% and PPT 7%.
I guess we haven't attracted many Unix users! Windows 74%, Vista 26%.
This is interesting to me because I hadn't thought much about web sites in general, but a lot of people mentioned web sites, web site design and web site development. I bunched all those under web sites (21%). But that does seem to mean that people apparently want to understand the concepts more??? Or maybe they were just generalizing??? However, I'm sure our writers will consider these issues and we'll see what we can do to provide more of this type of background information.
So 14% want to learn XML? Yeah, me, too! I have tried, but there's some concepts that I'm missing. And most of the XML books show you the easy part and then tell you to contact your developers to get your schema. HA...not much good if you're a developer who is trying to learn how to handle schemas!<sigh>
But I know I'm going to have to bite the bullet soon. Then again, maybe we can con Jean Kaplansky, moderator of our Office 2007 user group, to do a little writing!<grin to Jean> She's been messing with XML for a few years and seems to be pretty good at it. Or maybe Bill Coan will stop jumping up and down about how cool XML is long enough to write some tutorials!<sheepish grin>
I tossed SnagIt in with Media, because it does deal with screen captures, photo manipulation and screen recording. Okay, we get the message, more fun stuff with media. We'll see what we can do for you.
Unfortunately, I'm not very versed in Adobe products. We did have Marty Palicki, who was planning to handle these apps more, but his life changed and he moved and has some fluctuations that meant he hasn't had much time for us lately. So if anyone out there is very good with the above apps and would like to become a famous TechTrax author<smile>...feel free to contact me and I'll make you a star!
Lastly, these two items fall under miscellaneous, simply because I didn't know what else to do with them. But because there were a lot of requests for SQL and Wifi, particularly securing your computer while in hotspots, I decided to give them their own place.
Greg Chapman has wired up tons of hotspots for his buddy who owns a wireless company. Although, he's been working his widdle fingers to the bone handling some major server migrations across the US for his job and has been pretty much unavailable for writing, but he did pass along a quick article this month explaining how to handle your Firewall when on the road. If this is important to you, don't miss his Road Warrior article this month.
As for SQL, I know it somewhat, but I doubt I'd be of much help to many of you. Although I think TechTrax author Shawn K. Hall is up on his SQL...so maybe he'll become inspired when he sees this??? But if you know SQL Server or know someone who does and would be interested in sharing information, let me know.
12) Please tell us what you like BEST about TechTrax (this ezine).
Here come the big questions...what you think about this ezine! I'm extremely proud to say that we got tons of glowing comments on what people like best. In fact, when we asked what you don't like about TechTrax, i.e., what we can improve, more than 50% of those answers basically said that they wouldn't change anything, couldn't think of any complaints or hadn't been around long enough to think of anything to complain about because they were happy so far! That's so cool. I know we're not perfect, but your comments were greatly appreciated. I won't bore you with them all...but I must drop in some of the various comments we received for this question...
- Well-written articles covering numerous topics
- Reading TechTrax has improved my computing skills dramatically... I am now retired and I work as a consultant, and I can often find what I need to know on your website... and I can usually get it to work the way I imagined.
- It is written clearly with interesting articles. I also enjoy your personal touches and personality that shows through. Thanks.
- The passion and excitement and fun that's expressed for subjects that most people would find 'squaresville'... (their loss). You folks are very personable and likable. I took 2 courses from Dian at Eclectic and they were fantastic.
- At first I liked it because it helped me solve annoying problems in Word. Now I like it because it has shown me how to get the most out of Office products.
- There's always something practical that is useful in my everyday work, and well as something interesting that is just fun to read.
- The ease to read and understand.
- I read all the chatty articles for fun and then work on the articles about the software programs I need.
- Whenever I have a computer question I am able to find the answer in TechTrax. I was hired into an administrative position with little knowledge of any programs. I have learned by tutorials and reading. TechTrax has the information easily accessible.
- It's a great resource for beginners as well as more seasoned Office users. Dian is one of the most helpful people on the Web, and very much in touch with users.
- Easy to read and good screenshots, and great video tutorials.
- I really like the "personal touch" feel. It's something we picked up on right away because we use this in our own newsletters. Also like the easy way to spot subjects I want to read right away.
- Down to Earth information that is concise and useful. Recommendations for software and learning materials are written as honest opinions of the products.
- Articles CAN BE found. At least as a new subscriber I think so.
- Easy to understand. Articles for all ages and stages.
- Easy to use and understand instructions. I am homebound and this site is a Godsend for me. I can learn so much without leaving my home.
Thank you to everyone who works so hard to make this available for folks like me.
- As a former teacher, I enjoy your excellent in depth/yet simple explanations of just about every possible question we might have on any Office/Windows topics.
- The rating system. It's nice to be able to search for things based on my experience level and not have to plow through lots of articles until I find something I'm able to do.
- I always learn something.
13) Okay, time to complain...hit us with your best shot and tell us what you do NOT like or what you feel could/should be improved in TechTrax. What would make it better/more valuable for you?
Yup, here's the hard part...taking criticism! OUCH! But I will add comments to give you some feedback. Granted, there aren't as many posts below for complaints as there were above for good comments, but I must seriously tell you that much of what we received was either focused on a few key issues, or people saying they had nothing to complain about. Whew!
- A table of contents page for every article, to save going back to the home page all the time to read another article. or did i miss something.
- Part of the problem is that I can't SEE how you are accessing TechTrax. Each issue is available on the Web and DOES have a listing of all articles along the left, as well as archives by issue and a search engine for keyword searches. Not sure what more we can do to make it any easier to see what's in each issue. If you're accessing from the doc or HTML version, try hitting the main web site to see if that helps?
- Any chance for some Macintosh articles, or perhaps Adobe Acrobat 7 Standard & Pro?
- I really WISH we had more Mac content. Unfortunately, I don't know the Mac, so if you know anyone who does and would like to write about these things, we'd be glad to have them join us! We did make an attempt at including a MacTrax section, but as I mentioned above regarding Adobe software, Marty has had to bail on us for now.
- Better archiving
- I wish you would have been more specific, because as you can see in the GOOD comments above, several people say they love TechTrax because they can find information easily. Feel free to write me directly to explain the problem further and, if I can, I'll try to improve this aspect. But also be sure to view our Help Me! video this month where I drag you around the web and our own sites to show you how to find the help you need.
- Give me time and I'll hit you with my best shot.
- HA...well, I'm hear when you're ready!<smile>
- I am no programmer but I would consider learning it if I knew what some of the objectives were. I think the objectives and expectations for the programming articles should be a little more detailed.
- Good comment. Yes, although I know I personally try to hit the lowest level to explain HOW to write code, I'm not sure how much I've talked about WHY you'd even want to do it. I'll see what I can do about providing some articles that cover the concepts of coding. Thanks!
- I don't like paying for a membership.
- And I don't like working for a living!<smile> Unfortunately, the decision to provide more enhanced features and more articles from my secret stash, meant that I needed to justify giving away those tricks...some of which have taken me years to learn and hours of digging, testing and confirming. When I win the lottery, I'll make TechTrax 100% free! Sadly for me, don't hold your breath.
- I like to print out different things and keep in a notebook. It would be easier if there were just a "step-by-step" synopsis at the end of each longer explanation lesson so I could just print the basics and go back to the article only if I needed to.
- That's not a bad idea, just not sure if our writers would have the time to add this all the time. But I'll try to keep it in mind for the future.
- I think it would be a good idea to separate it into at least 2 formats. One to cover MS Office products and another for everything else.
- Thanks for the suggestion...but not gonna happen.
- This is a little thing, but in the email, the first link is to subscribe/unsubscribe instead of linking to the news.
- That's because some people forget they subscribed to TechTrax and when they get my email notices, they come screaming back at me that I'm spamming them. Rare, but it happens. So, since we MUST include links to unsubscribe from all emails of this kind, I want to make sure people see right off that they DID ask for the mailing, particularly since most people don't read the stuff at the bottom of a document like this! In my many user groups, I often get people emailing me asking how to unsubscribe from a group...even though the information is right there at the end of every email...but they don't read it!
- I'd like to see more help with graphs. I want eye popping, dynamic graphs that look good in Powerpoint.
Second, I want help with producing dynamic simulations in Excel. I want help in defining distributions, running a MonteCarlo, or similar, simulation.
- Okay, well...let's hope Jon Peltier is reading this and isn't too busy these days!<smile>
- Maybe a few more quizzes?
A blog between issues? (like you have time...)
But mostly good health to you and yours.
- Thanks for the good wishes. You may have noticed that I AM trying to include more assessment tests. As for the blog...I really hate blogs, but I was recently kick-started into creating one. It's called Mouse Droppings.<snicker> And although I've only had time so far (in the last couple weeks, due to the MVP summit and then this ezine) to add a couple quick entries, I do hope to add to it more regularly.
Actually, I figured that I might nix the SideTrax department in TechTrax from any future articles and just post that type of "Oh I've got to share this info" items within Mouse Droppings. And if you look up on the menu bar at the top of TechTrax, you'll notice that Mouse Droppings (my blog) is now part of TechTrax. So when you come to visit TechTrax each month, be sure to also click that link to see if there's anything else I've added.
In fact, some people wanted MORE TechTrax and they wanted it more often. So for those of you who just can't get enough, be sure to add Mouse Droppings to your Favorites list in your browser and I'll try to keep up by adding new techie (and fun) info, often, as I discover it.
See...your wish is my command! ;-)
- More coverage of non-Microsoft applications you find useful, as you did with SnagIt.
- I'm working on that issue. I hope to soon be providing tutorials on Camtasia, as well as giving it away in a drawing. I'll snoop around and see what OTHER terrific software apps I can find, but so far SnagIt and Camtasia are my "other" focus programs.
- More drawings?
- How's this?
- More Office 2007 programming. <smile>
- As soon as I'm able to figure it out myself, I'll be happy to share!
- No downloadable .pdf version.
- Yes, there is...if you're a member! Sorry, but all those EXTRAS take time. Those who help support me get those benefits. I'm not rich, so I just can't afford to give away the store. ;-)
- No real beef, I would just want a gentle evolution of current status. Not too rapid, and NOT going whole-hog into Vista-only articles.
- Not to worry...whole-hog into Vista only articles won't be an issue. Besides, I do understand that there are people out there with different versions, so we'll move gently (possibly even slowly, since I'm not even using it yet!).
- Open forum for anyone with questions.
- Seems like it has been a long time since seeing the last issue. However, time flies so maybe it is me!
- Probably not you, since my family had been suffering from serious health issues that caused me to have to deal with family and not computers for much of last year. But also, if your email is full or our notices bounce, you may not always get the notice. So you might want to check the site after a month to see if the new issue is up, in case you missed the notice. I'm working hard not to miss a month this year. And I've also moved the publishing from the first of the month to the middle of the month, per the request of several users, to help avoid TechTrax getting caught up with all the other ezines that come out at the first of the month. Although, this month I was delayed due to attending the Annual MVP Summit, which was held in the middle of March.
- Size of E-mail has occasionally caused space restriction to be exceeded.
- Some articles are too basic.
- So are many of our readers. (See next comment)
- Some of the articles are way beyond me - but I'm not complaining. Just keep up the good work.
- As you can see above, we have all levels of users, so we try to cover all the bases as best as we can.
- The login process is clumsy/inelegant...try to make it single sign on across pages.
- Yes, I'm working on making it smoother. I need to learn a little more advanced ASP, but I'll get on that. However, essentially once you log in, except for a couple instances, you CAN ride the membership wave throughout. You just have to make sure you don't close your browser. Once you login, there is a session cookie that is created advising all the sites/pages that you ARE a member. As long as you remain within that same "session" (browser instance), your cookie won't crack and it'll continue to recognize you as a member. But, like with most passworded sites, once you close that "session" you need to login again. However, I'm also working to get the articles set so when you click and login, you go to the requested article and not the home page for members, as you do now. The other problem I have is that I have to deal with two separate servers. One is mine and I can run code on it without issue...the other is someone else's and I'm not allowed to run code. So it's a bit tricky, but I'm doing the best I can at the moment. Please hang in there.
- The website looks kind of "dated".
- Personally, I have a problem with sites that are constantly updating their look...like Microsoft (just to name one off the top of my head that I visit regularly). They just changed it again, so now I have to waste more time trying to figure out how to find what I need. "Where did they put it NOW???" Since so many of our users are new to computers and the Internet, I think keeping things consistent is a plus for them. They get to feel comfortable because it's always there as they expect it to be. Hey, White Castle (hamburgers) have looked the same for what 50+ yrs and they're still popular!<smile>
- What if you were to take the archived articles and separate them into software related categories?
If I wanted to see past articles related to "Outlook" I could focus on them without opening each ezine separately.
- First, realize that there is no need to open each issue separately. You can go to the main TechTrax site, click Archives and enter OUTLOOK into the search engine. You'll then get a list of all the articles related to Outlook, including a summary of what the article is about.
Additionally, I did create a Word doc that contains a table with 4 years of document titles (over 600 articles) that are hyperlinked to their full web article. The table includes dates, authors, keyword, category, issue name and a place for your notes. You can use Word's Table > Sort command to sort by any of those categories or combinations. Members get a monthly update to this file that they can just add to the end of their master table and resort. Subscribers can download the first 4 years started for them in the table doc and then it's up to them to keep it updated by adding the new articles each month. You can find that information and download the file here:
Put Over 600 TechTrax Articles on your Desktop!
Well, there you have it. These are the things our nearly 14,000 subscribers/members are doing out there. Or at least those several hundred who responded to our survey.
This is great information and somewhat enlightening. There are some subjects here that I didn't think we need more information about, but apparently there are many of you who want more.
However, if you're new to TechTrax or if you've never investigated our Archives and search engine, please be sure to nose around. TechTrax (this ezine) debuted in May of 2002. Since that time we've published over 750 articles. Many of them are training series. We have series on VBA, HTML, Project, SnagIt, WinXP and multiple articles focusing on many of the other things you've requested above. So hit our search engine and give your keywords a shot. You might be surprised that some of what you want to learn is already there, waiting for you to get busy learning.
And finally, if there are any of you out there who are aspiring authors and want to make your mark as an authority on a subject, drop me an email. We're always looking for new talent. The problem with TechTrax is that we get newbie writers in here, they become popular and the next thing we know they're off working on book publishing or so busy with new clients that they no longer have time for us. So, if you're looking for a venue to promote your talent with technology and/or writing...give it a shot. And don't worry if you don't feel you are a good enough writer, because I'm a terrific editor!<cheesy grin >