[techbooks] REVIEW: "Windows 98 in a Nutshell", Tim O'Reilly/Troy Mott/Walte
- BKW98NSH.RVW 991003
"Windows 98 in a Nutshell", Tim O'Reilly/Troy Mott/Walter Glenn, 1999,
%A Tim O'Reilly
%A Troy Mott
%A Walter Glenn
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%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
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
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
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