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[techbooks] REVIEW: "Windows 98 in a Nutshell", Tim O'Reilly/Troy Mott/Walte

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKW98NSH.RVW 991003 Windows 98 in a Nutshell , Tim O Reilly/Troy Mott/Walter Glenn, 1999, 1-56592-486-X, U$24.95/C$36.95 %A Tim O Reilly %A Troy Mott %A
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 19, 2000
      BKW98NSH.RVW 991003

      "Windows 98 in a Nutshell", Tim O'Reilly/Troy Mott/Walter Glenn, 1999,
      1-56592-486-X, U$24.95/C$36.95
      %A Tim O'Reilly
      %A Troy Mott
      %A Walter Glenn
      %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
      %D 1999
      %G 1-56592-486-X
      %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
      %O U$24.95/C$36.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
      %P 608 p.
      %S Nutshell Books
      %T "Windows 98 in a Nutshell"

      This book is, essentially, the second edition of "Windows 95 in a
      Nutshell" (cf. BKW95NSH.RVW). (With any other publisher, that
      progression could be taken pretty much for granted, but O'Reilly is a
      consistently surprising house.) As is usual with the Nutshell series,
      the volume has a strong claim to being the best reference available.
      (And, as with the first edition, it is coming out pretty much just in
      time for the following release of Windows.)

      Part one is general background. Chapter one presents the now familiar
      outline of objects and functions, but in a thorough and lucid manner.
      There is a list of features new to Win98 in chapter two, with some
      annotation as to what was worth the work and what wasn't. (The only
      real quarrel I have with the authors' evaluation is the lack of
      warning of possible recovery drawbacks with FAT32, one of which I ran
      into only last week.) There is an interesting, but not altogether
      successful, attempt to outline useful functions that Windows 98 has
      buried in non-intuitive menus, grouped under nine major categories in
      chapter three.

      Part two is the reference section, and the real guts of the book.
      Chapter four covers the Desktop interface and the most commonly used
      utilities available directly from it. The initial explanation is
      clear and readable for any level of user, but more advanced readers
      will find increasing levels of detail up to command line access to
      many functions with are otherwise buried deep in menus or hidden in
      unusual locations. (The discussion of the briefcase is still,
      unfortunately, disappointing.) The various functions of the Control
      Panel are described in chapter five. The standard graphical interface
      programs (most accessible via the Start Menu) are described in chapter
      six while DOS commands and command line utilities are in seven.
      Chapter eight lists a number of programs contained on the distribution
      CD-ROM but not copied to the machine in a normal installation.

      Part three looks at some limited system internals. I say limited only
      to distinguish it from a code level reference: this work has plenty to
      offer any level of reader. Chapter nine gives an overview of the Web
      integration in Win98. A Windows Script Host reference is provided in
      chapter ten. For the slightly less adventurous, chapter eleven
      describes batch file programming. The boot sequence and Windows
      Startup is covered in chapter twelve. The discussion of the Registry
      in chapter thirteen is informative but, given its limited size, can't
      be particularly useful. It does contain a vital warning about .REG
      files.

      Appendices list keyboard shortcuts, filename extensions, system
      directories and files, and special characters. The keyboard shortcuts
      now list the "Windows" key combinations, but still don't explain the
      "Ctrl-Esc" alternate if you don't have a "Win95" keyboard.

      The book is definitely informative, though not exhaustive. While most
      of those who have to support Win98 have already collected a set of
      resources to make up for Microsoft's lack of documentation, I highly
      recommend this text to anyone using the system. It provides both
      introduction and highly useful reference in one package.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998, 1999 BKW98NSH.RVW 991003

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done for
      me? - Groucho Marx
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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