With its knack for reliably automating complex, repetitive tasks, the personal computer was supposed to make life easier. But does yours really, or does it just make more work for you? For many, the latter seems to be the case, but it doesn’t have to be. Your computer’s ability to make your life easier depends on how you use it. If you’re like me, then you probably use many different software applications during your workday, and you probably find yourself doing the same things over and over again.

Take digital photography, for example. Each time you plug your digital camera into your computer, you need to download the images into a set of folders, import them into a photo catalog, rename them, assign keywords, and more—sounds like ...

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