[techbooks] REVIEW: "Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary", Microsoft Press
- BKMSCMDC.RVW 990723
"Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary", Microsoft Press, 1999,
%A Microsoft Press mspcd@...
%C 1 Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399
%I Microsoft Press
%O U$34.99/C$52.99/UK#32.99 800-MSPRESS (6777377) fax: 206-936-7329
%P 541 p. + CD-ROM
%T "Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary, fourth edition"
I suppose I have to give a point to a dictionary that starts out with
"$0.02 \mi` too sents'\ *see* my two cents." On the other hand, a
book that gives you the pronunciation for ".." (dot-dot) is maybe
pushing it a bit. (They've given up on "1024x768.")
About the only Microsoft propaganda I could find was a negative entry:
"blue screen" only talks about film matting effects, with no mention
of the infamous BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). (Lest someone object
that BSOD is slang, what do you call "$0.02," "BRB" (Be Right Back),
"TANSTAAFL" (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch), "YHBT" (You
Have Been Trolled), and the Macintosh "chimes of doom?") Well, OK,
the "Windows,", "Windows 95," and "Windows NT" entries were kinda
preachy. And there is, of course, still no entry for "WINE."
The range of the dictionary is extensive, covering desktop computing,
departmental and larger systems, networking, data communications,
graphics, data base management, electronics, and a whole host of other
topics. (Security isn't one.) There are some excellent explanatory
listings, such as those for boolean algebra and bubble sort, which
also use graphics very effectively.
"Kermit" is not maligned as being slow, although "Lynx" is still
relegated to the UNIX platform. There are some definite defects:
"cascade connection" sends you to "pipe," which has nothing to say
I was intrigued by the dismissal of the possibility of email viruses,
in the entry for "Good Times virus," given that Microsoft is
responsible for technology that has made Melissa and Explore.Zip
possible. Yes, of course I checked "virus." It wasn't any good.
"Worm," as is oddly often the case for most computer dictionaries, is
Very little has been changed since the third edition. In fact, of all
the problems I noted in the earlier review (which has, of course, been
submitted to Microsoft Press), only three are addressed or corrected
in this edition. Internet country codes have been collected into an
appendix, rather than being scattered throughout the book (although
"major geographic domain" is not the entry I would have looked for
first). Some additional material has been included: there is now an
entry for Windows 2000. However, this edition does promise quarterly
updates on http://mspress.microsoft.com/mspress/products/1031/.
Although words like "ultimate" and "authoritative" on book jackets are
red flags to a reviewer, I must admit that I am very favourably
impressed with this work. It is reasonably comprehensive and careful,
with reliable explanations in a wide range of areas. I would have
little hesitation in recommending it to any general computer user who
wants a large and useful reference.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKMSCMDC.RVW 990723
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