Windows 11 Field Guide Progress Report #3: eBook, New Chapters, Content Reshuffling,

Posted on November 11, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 1 Comment

It’s been a few weeks since the last update, so here’s another peek at what’s happening with the Windows 11 Field Guide.

eBook

It happened a few days later than promised, but it did happen: the Windows 11 Field Guide is now available in eBook formats (PDF, EPUB) on Leanpub for $9.99 and up. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it seems to be off to a great start, and I’ve been truly surprised and humbled to see a lot of people pay more than the minimum, which is much appreciated. This book, like all books, is a labor of love, but every little bit helps. Thank you all.

Remember that Thurrott Premium members will be getting the eBook version of the book for free (in addition to the web-based version). I don’t have a date for that yet, but it should be soon. Basically, you’ll get a personalized coupon code that will let you “buy” the book for free.

New chapters

I moved into the Microsoft Edge section of the book about three weeks ago and it’s been a slog. This is the one part of the book—I hope—that will require some very long chapters, just because of the nature of the application. I describe some of the nuances around that below, but since the last update, I’ve posted three new chapters—Microsoft Edge Basics, Reading with Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft Edge Collections—and have significantly updated Set Up Microsoft Edge Correctly.

That may not sound like very much, but Microsoft Edge Basics is the biggest chapter in the book—it’s even bigger than What’s New and Familiar in Windows 11—and it will likely grow a bit bigger still as I finish up this section of the book. Likewise, Microsoft Edge Basics started off as a normal, small chapter, but is now three times as long because of the reshuffling noted below.

I am very eager to finish up the Edge section, but right now I have the following chapters planned: Shopping with Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Edge and Web Apps, Microsoft Edge Security and Privacy, and Other Web Browsers (which maybe needs a new name). So I’m going to slog through that and then, hopefully, pick up the pace again. Thrilling.

Major content shift with Microsoft Edge

This is a great example of what happens when you write a book like this. You can plot out a table of contents (TOC) and block in what you think each chapter will contain, but when it comes to the actual writing, necessary changes sometimes emerge as if on their own. And in this case, because I have been writing about Microsoft Edge, and had shifted temporarily to the browser weeks ago (on PC and mobile) so I could reacquaint myself with it and the many changes it’s undergone in recent years, it suddenly occurred to me that I would need to make some changes, and not just for presentation purposes.

Because of what Edge has become—a good browser, sure, but also a vehicle for Microsoft’s advertising and web services aims—it became clear in using the browser across literally all my devices that I needed an upfront chapter in the Microsoft Edge section where I could collect all of the configuration changes that users might want to make to thwart Microsoft’s more insidious efforts as much as possible and actually protect themselves from the privacy and tracking threats that Edge purports to make but does not. And so the initial Edge chapter I wrote—and posted to Thurrott.com—would need to be updated significantly.

It’s hard to describe what this is like as a writer. In tackling the next chapter, which is a mile-high overview of common browser features and how they may or may not be different in Edge, I found myself writing a very long section about New tab and Home page configuration. And the more I got into that, and the more I saw all of the awful Microsoft advertising and services that drive these experiences, the more I realized that this section was very much like the previous chapter, about correctly setting up Edge on first run (or making the changes later if you’d already set up Edge).

I dream about this stuff, literally. Sometimes I’ll be out walking or doing something else, and it will pop into my head. And then I suddenly know what to do. Sitting down at the computer the next morning, I lifted that section from the Basics chapters and put it into the Setup chapter, and then saw that it was the seamless transition I’d dreamed it would be. Just change some heading styles, add some introductory text, and it was there.

But I also figured there was other information that should be in that intro (Setup) chapter. I blocked in a third new section about actually protecting yourself against trackers and other privacy invasions. And I’m leaving it open to other possible content additions as I keep writing the rest of the Edge chapters.

This may seem chaotic, but it feels good when this happens. I had to do some work to update the Set Up Microsoft Edge Correctly chapter on Thurrott.com, of course, (twice, actually) but that felt good too. This part of the book is now where it should be. And that’s always what I’m looking for.

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