Curious About the Internet: A Plain-English Guide for Ordinary People


540  words

Title: Curious About the Internet: A Plain-English Guide for Ordinary 
People; Ned Snell; SAMS Publishing; ISBN: 0-672-30459-7; 
Paperback, 265 pages, $20.95

Reviewer: A. T. Connellan, "This is a very effective "primer." It is clear, 
uncomplicated, and well priced."

Bypassing the bafflegab about the Internet

Isn't everyone? Curious about the Internet, that is. More than 
20 million people around the world are currently using the Internet. 
It is omnipresent in our lives. How does it affect us, what do we know 
about it, and how can we benefit from it? Learning the answers to these 
questions can be a confusing task.

The problem is that vendors involved in the computer business have 
a tendency to bombard us with bafflegab about what is essentially a 
pretty simple subject. As in any new subject area it is a good idea to 
walk before you run. This book is meant for "walkers." 

The author keeps his promise of a "jargon free," book. Using easy to 
understand terms, and clearly reproduced computer screens, he steps 
us through the subject by providing answers to the most common 
questions about the Internet under the insert paragraphs "Did You Know..." 
There are teaser mini-sections under "Really Curious?" that pique 
the reader's interest in a subject, and then indicate where the answer 
is to be found. "Did You Know" are snippets of knowledge related to 
the subject of the chapter. Very effective, and it reinforces the learning 

Especially helpful is the "So Now You Know..." section at the end of 
each chapter that summarizes the information just covered, puts it in 
perspective, and prepares the reader for the next chapter.
This KISS [Keep It Super Simple] approach works especially well in 
examining the assumptions, mystique, and rumor that surround the 
subject, including pornography and loss of privacy. There is a 
clear-headed explanation of the role of the Internet in science, 
education, and business that is making the world a better place in 
which to live. 

Especially helpful is the chapter that outlines a practical approach for 
future users, and future non-users of the Internet. This chapter delivers 
the answers to; why should you, what do you need, what does it take, 
where to look, and how to go about it. 

The author's blue-sky chapter on where the Internet is heading will 
be of special interest. His prognosis of the role of the internet in an 
information-based society of the future is interesting and thought 
provoking but thankfully in that same clear-to-the-point language. 

"What if You're Still Curious" in these appendixes the author provides 
a comprehensive list of additional books, magazines, organizations, 
on-line services, and a glossary, that he promised that you probably
wouldn't need, and probably don't.

Author Ned Snell is well qualified to take us by the hand Internet-wise. 
He's a professional writer on the subject, and it shows. His broad 
knowledge gives him perspective, which combined with his sense 
of humor entertains us as he informs. He is well supported by the 
extensive production team that seems to be the keystone of SAMS Publishing. 

This is a very effective "primer." It is clear, uncomplicated, and well 

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