Improve your productivity

This book describes and demonstrates powerful but harder-to-discover features on your computer. You'll experience the magic of pattern-driven find/replace, the command line. You'll write a few programs in Python, and glimpse under the hood of a web app. It was originally motivated by undergraduate engineering students asking a technical engineering manager for career advice.

All examples use open-source software freely available on Macs, Windows, and Linux, meaning you can get started right away.

Get creative

The book explores computational elements of photography, publishing, music, podcasting, graphic design, movie production, and animation, for both the engineer and the artist.

You already own a machine that can do cutting-edge production in all these areas, and the software behind it is readily available. This broad, guided tour of the power at hand is intended to help you get started.

Keep learning

You'll also get caught up on the latest security practices and tools, starting out with an orientation on the basics of home networking, password management, VPNs, and ad-blocking.

This book is written for everyday information workers, future computer whizzes looking for discovery, medical researchers with large datasets, graduate students with articles to publish, engineers sick of Excel, hobbyists, and retirees looking to keep up-to-date. It is not particularly intended for IT professionals, though they’d hopefully learn something too.

This book was first published on Amazon in early 2019. After a few years, with sales dwindling, I updated it and released it for free on this website.

Some topics discussed

Password Managers • 2-factor authentication • Virtual machines • Package managers • Command line • Routers • QR codes • Port forwarding • Python • Pandas • Onion routing • Ad-blocking • PDF reordering • Flow charts • Regular Expressions • Time-lapses • Encryption • Column edit • Digital photo editing in RAW • Audio noise reduction • Vector graphics • Making websites • DJing • LaTeX publishing • Reference management • pandoc • git version control • Programming • Web apps • Self-hosting • Home automation • Monte Carlo • VPNs, • ImageMagick • Linear regression • ffmpeg • Sphinx • Robotics

Regular expression example

Written by a nuclear engineer

Nick Touran has a true passion for computers and a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan. He specializes in the design and analysis of advanced power plants, as well as in the development of computer systems that make designing and analyzing reactors efficient. His blog has been featured on Hackaday, and has topped Hacker News. He is also the founder of and enjoys discussing the finer aspects of computers with everyone. You can follow him on Twitter/X at @whatisnuclear.