SOURCE: 'For Dummies'

March 15, 2010 08:00 ET

Life Made Easier

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - March 15, 2010) -  (Family Features) Have you ever thought about trying something new but it seemed too complex or intimidating? The "For Dummies" series of books takes these topics and explains them in clear, simple language that makes learning fun and easy.

These excerpts from four popular "For Dummies" books show you the kinds of tips offered in the series. They'll help you navigate the world of wine, keep your computer files safe, build a stylish wardrobe and learn some Facebook lingo.
For more tips, videos and articles, visit dummies.com.

Common Facebook Terminology
From "Facebook For Dummies, 2nd Edition" by Leah Pearlman and Carolyn Abram
Facebook connects you with the people you know and care about. It enables you to communicate, stay up-to-date, and keep in touch with friends and family anywhere.

You can share photos, videos, notes, gifts, even chat live with others online at the same time as you.

If you're new to Facebook, you'll run into some unfamiliar terminology. Here are some common terms and their definitions:

  • Profile: This is your page. It contains your photos and videos, a list of your friends, your recent activities, and anything else you choose to include on it.
  • Gift: This is a whimsical or cute icon. You can give these gifts to your friends for prices ranging from free to $1. Gifts appear in your friend's Gift box on their Profile.
  • Wall: This is where you and your friends can write on your Profile. Your friends may write on your Wall to communicate with you, congratulate you, embarrass you, and more. You post on your own Wall to let your friends know what you're up to.
  • News Feed: This is a continuous stream of updates about your friends' activities on and off Facebook. It appears on your Home page.

Marrying Wine With Food
From "Wine For Dummies, 4th Edition" by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan
Food and wine interact, based on the components of the wine. These tips will help you pair the right wines with your food to make a memorable meal.

Tannic Wines. Have you ever taken a sip of a red wine and experienced a drying-out feeling in your mouth, as if something had blotted up all your saliva? That's tannin. Tannic wines include most wines based on the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, northern Rhone reds, and any wine that has become tannic from aging in new oak barrels.

These wines can:

  • Diminish the perception of sweetness in a food.
  • Taste softer and less tannic when served with protein-rich, fatty foods such as steak and cheese.
  • Taste less bitter when paired with salty foods.
  • Taste astringent (mouth-drying), when drunk with spicy-hot foods.

Sweet Wines. Wines that often have some sweetness include most inexpensive California white wines, White Zindfandel, many Rieslings, and medium-dry Vouvray. (Dry is the opposite of sweet.) These wines can:

  • Taste less sweet, but fruitier, when matched with salty foods.
  • Make salty foods more appealing.
  • Go well with sweet foods, such as desserts.

Acidic Wines. All wines contain acid, but some are more acidic than others. Acidity gives the wine firmness in your mouth. White wines with high acidity feel crisp, while those without enough feel flabby. Acidic wines include most Italian whites, Sancerre and Chablis, and most dry Rieslings. These wines can:

  • Taste less acidic when served with salty foods.
  • Taste less acidic when served with slightly sweet foods.
  • Make foods taste slightly saltier.
  • Counterbalance oily or fatty heaviness in food.

Practice Safe Computing
From "Windows 7 For Dummies," by Andy Rathbone
Viruses can travel not only in emails, programs and files, but also in screen savers, themes, toolbars and other Windows add-ons.

Protect yourself by practicing safe computing -- after all, the best defense is often a good offense. Consider these safe-computing tips:

  • Make sure your antivirus program scans everything you download, as well as anything that arrives through email or a messaging program.
  • Only open attachments that you're expecting. If you receive something unexpected from a friend, don't open it. Instead, email or phone that person to see whether he or she really sent it.
  • Don't install two virus checkers, because they often quarrel. Windows comes with a built-in antispyware program, Windows Defender, but no antivirus program. You need to buy your own program and pay its subscription fees so that it will keep recognizing the latest viruses.

Windows 7's Parental Controls offer several ways to police how people can access the computer as well as the Internet. These controls offer three categories of safeguards:

  • Time Limits -- you can define certain hours when children (or other account holders) may log onto the computer.
  • Games -- Some computer games come with rating levels. This area lets you choose which rating level your children may play, helping keep them from mature or violent content.
  • Allow or block programs -- This lets you set certain programs off-limits while allowing access to others.

Building Your Stylish Wardrobe
From "Fashion For Dummies," by Jill Martin and Pierre A. Lehu
Quality, fit and style are the most important factors when creating your wardrobe. This means that everything in your closet must be first rate. Nothing less than a 10 -- that is, the best -- should be in your closet. Here's how to start deciding what to keep and what to get rid of:

  • What condition is it in? Before you try anything on, take a look at each garment and survey its condition. Is it permanently stained? Are there holes beyond repair? Is the material pilly or stretched out so that it no longer fits? If you answer yes to any of those questions, you don't need to try it on. Toss those pieces straight into the donation pile.
  • Does it fit? And, more importantly, is it flattering? Do you feel like a million bucks when you put it on? If not, it's outta there.
  • Is it in style? If not, is it a classic piece that will always be in style? If it's not a classic or if it's last year's trend (or even last decade's trend), out it goes.
  • Is it relevant to your current life? Take stock of your day-to-day life and evaluate what you actually need and actually wear. If anything in your life has changed that affects your wardrobe, you need to be okay with letting those pieces go.

Fashion Staples Every Woman Should Invest In
You can spend a little more on these fashion items because they're essentials for every woman's closet, and you'll wear them over and over again:

  • Little black dress
  • Dark denim jeans
  • Black blazer
  • Black pumps
  • White button-down shirt
  • Two cardigan sweaters, one black and one white
  • Black trousers
  • Black leather bag
  • Knee-length black skirt

From March 1, 2010 through April 30, 2010, "For Dummies" invites you to join the annual Dummies Month celebration. Get a $5 mail-in rebate with a purchase of any "For Dummies" book or audio set (with the purchase price of $6.99 or more). You can also enter a sweepstakes to win a new Apple iPad loaded with "For Dummies" apps. Enter at dummies.com/go/win.

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