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[techbooks] REVIEW: "PC Upgrading and Maintenance", Smart Computing

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKPCUPMA.RVW 990314 PC Upgrading and Maintenance , Smart Computing, 1999, 0-7821-2471-2, U$24.99/C$37.50 %A Smart Computing %C 1151 Marina Village
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 16 8:57 AM
      BKPCUPMA.RVW 990314

      "PC Upgrading and Maintenance", Smart Computing, 1999, 0-7821-2471-2,
      %A Smart Computing
      %C 1151 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501
      %D 1999
      %G 0-7821-2471-2
      %I Sybex Computer Books
      %O U$24.99/C$37.50 800-227-2346 Fax: 510-523-2373 info@...
      %P 679 p.
      %T "PC Upgrading and Maintenance: No Experience Required"

      This book is certainly readable, and it does give readers a feel for
      the guts of a computer. It's easy and non-threatening. Whether it is
      useful or helpful may be debateable.

      Chapter one blows away the conceit of calling all the chapters
      "skills," since there is no skill involved: it is just an outline of
      the coming chapters. Pretty much a duplication, with some expansion,
      of the introduction. MSD and the Device Manager are briefly described
      in chapter two. The backup and disk maintenance advice in chapter
      three is quite sparse as well. Chapter four's review of memory is
      short, but does cover most of the basics, including illustrations of
      memory slots and SIMMs. The material on CPUs is really too brief, in
      chapter five. Most particularly, the wide variety of sockets are not
      covered, and therefore upgraders may be in for a bit of a shock when
      the new chip doesn't fit.

      Chapter six looks at replacing a hard drive, but isn't much good for
      adding one. Floppy, removable, and tape drives get terse coverage in
      chapter seven. Multimedia, in chapter eight, seems to be mostly the
      installation of CD-ROM and DVD drives. Monitors and graphics cards
      just get swapped in chapter nine. Chapter ten's look at modems is
      quite clearly insufficient. Basically you get shown how to plug in
      keyboards and mice in chapter eleven. Printers are assumed to be
      straight plug and play in chapter twelve, as are scanners in thirteen.

      Adding ports and adapters, as anyone who has done it knows, involves
      more than just dropping it into the slot and sticking the cable
      through an opening, but that's what chapter fourteen seems to tell us.
      Oddly, installing a motherboard may be as easy as chapter fifteen
      implies--except that you now have to reinstall everything else.
      Installing a new power supply is definitely as simple as it says in
      chapter sixteen.

      Chapter seventeen really doesn't say much about upgrading laptops.
      LAN components and terminology get quick explanations in chapter
      eighteen, but I wouldn't want to build a network based on that. Since
      everything has already been discussed, building your own computer, in
      chapter nineteen, is just a pulled together recap. Chapter twenty is
      a recap of adding drives, plus some quick talk about drive compression
      software. Upgrading software, in chapter twenty one, doesn't tell you
      much that is useful. BIOS upgrades are rather uncertain in chapter
      twenty two.

      Chapter twenty three's material on troubleshooting probably should
      have bene spread among the relevant chapters. Even so, while lots of
      content is here, a lot is missing as well. In the same way, the tips
      in chapter twenty four should have been organized with appropriate
      sections throughout the text, but still leave a lot of gaps.

      The chapters are short, and easily digestible. It will be relatively
      easy for a novice to pick a part, go to the chapter, and, in thirty
      minutes, have a superficial grasp of the topic. With modern
      intelligent BIOSes, as well as Plug 'n' Play hardware, it may be that
      this is all that is necessary for most users. However, from long and
      bitter personal experience, I rather doubt it. I noted, as I went
      through, that a number of problems that I have encountered with all
      these pieces of machinery were not even mentioned in the text. I
      suspect that readers of this book will experience more than a few
      surprises in the real world.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKPCUPMA.RVW 990314

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