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[techbooks] REVIEW: "PCs Cheat Sheet", Shelley O'Hara

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKPCCHSH.RVW 990508 PCs Cheat Sheet , Shelley O Hara, 1999, 0-7897-1874-X, U$14.99/C$22.95/UK#13.99 %A Shelley O Hara %C 201 W. 103rd Street,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 12, 1999
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      BKPCCHSH.RVW 990508

      "PCs Cheat Sheet", Shelley O'Hara, 1999, 0-7897-1874-X,
      U$14.99/C$22.95/UK#13.99
      %A Shelley O'Hara
      %C 201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290
      %D 1999
      %G 0-7897-1874-X
      %I Macmillan Computer Publishing (MCP)
      %O U$14.99/C$22.95/UK#13.99 317-581-3743 info@...
      %P 334 p.
      %T "PCs Cheat Sheet"

      As the title would suggest, this book is organized for point form
      information and quick reference. In fact, the division of the subject
      into almost sixty chapters in slightly more than three hundred pages
      would seem to take the categorization to extremes. There are two
      other formatting factors that go with the cheat sheet moniker: a
      separation, within each chapter, of "basics" from "beyond," and
      material that is already highlighted for you.

      Part one supposedly talks about basic concepts for computers. There
      are chapters on computers, hardware, drives, software, setup, turning
      the computer on and off, the MS Windows desktop, commands, windows,
      and the Windows help system. The alert reader will, by now, have
      ascertained something the book seems to be a little coy about
      admitting: the book is about Windows (mostly 98) rather than
      computers.

      Let's take a closer look at some of the most vital information
      provided by the text, as selected by the book itself. From the "Basic
      Survival" section of chapter two, one of the highlighted points is
      that "Your computer has memory chips inside, housed on the
      motherboard." Now, is this intelligence really vital to the operation
      of a computer? Certainly not. Most computer users go for years
      without ever seeing the inside of their machines. Those who do pop
      the lid will need a lot more information than the book provides. (As
      well as more accurate information: most personal computers now ship
      with memory module daughterboards, rather than having chips directly
      on the motherboard.) The material is also very old: chapter three
      talks about the four traditional formats of floppy disks at 360K,
      1.2M, 720K, and 1.44M. However, 5 1/4" drives now have to be searched
      out in used computer shops, and so this material is basically only of
      historical interest. The chapter on disk errors recommends CHKDSK,
      which Microsoft itself recommends against. Again, for novice users
      this information is unnecessary, and for anyone else it is too little.

      Part two looks at standard Windows program interface functions,
      including starting a program, switching tasks, a list of accessory
      programs that come with Windows 98, selecting text, cut and paste,
      saving, opening, closing, and printing. The operations of Explorerare
      reviewed in part three, including topics such as displaying objects,
      creating folders and selecting, copying, deleting, renaming, and
      displaying the properties of files. Customization of shortcuts, the
      Start Menu, the desktop, screensavers, Active Desktop, the Taskbar,
      programs, date and time, the mouse, sounds, and printers are in part
      four. Part five runs through disk errors, viruses, defragmentation,
      creating a startup disk, backup and restore, new hardware, and
      troubleshooting. Connecting to the net is just not as easy as part
      six suggests. The information in part seven will not allow you to set
      up a network, and is unnecessary if you just want to use one.

      There are a number of Windows 9x introductory books that provide
      clearer and faster information about how to get going. A great deal
      of the content in this work is irrelevant to the needs of the novice
      user, but not sufficient for those moving on to intermediate or
      advanced operation. I really can't think of any audience for which I
      could recommend it.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKPCCHSH.RVW 990508

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      Just because you are into control doesn't mean you are in control
      - Larry Wall
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade

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