Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Book Review 


Internet Annoyances
A book review by Gary J. Byron

I have learned my computer skills the old fashioned way, by trial and mostly by error. I tend to stay with programs that work for me and rarely do I upgrade unless I really have to. That is why I still have Windows 98. So much so, I still run several DOS programs (remember those). Although I'm not anti-Microsoft, I tend to stay away from Microsoft products. Thus, I do not use Internet Explorer nor any flavour of Outlook. I will admit I do like Excel and use FrontPage 2000 as my web-page editor. I enjoy using Netscape because the nice thing about using an older browser is that there are very few of those annoying popups to worry about. Any website that this browser cannot handle, which is very few, doesn't need my business anyway.

I learned from hard experience not to mess with the Registry for it sometimes might bite you. This is one area that you should leave to an expert.

Since I only have a low speed rural country phone line and no access to the Internet at work, my forays onto the Internet are limited and usually very brief — mostly grab my e-mails and leave. So when I volunteered to do a review of this book, I thought I could learn some much needed tricks about using the Internet more efficiently.

In perusing the book, it became quite apparent that the author has focused the book on the use of Internet Explorer, Outlook and other Microsoft products with very few side-bars on other like products. The book is written for an American audience in mind and uses for its examples many services that are not available within Canada. It also assumes that the user has good knowledge of the internal workings and programming of their personal computer and is comfortable playing with the operating system's Registry.

Although published in 2005, I have the general feeling that most of the information was valid from a time around late 2003 or early 2004. This is a long time ago in computer world.

Although I had not the time to verify the links provided, most of the links lead to first-try-then-pay programs—another area that I tend to stay away from.

Now, there is the question of ethics in Chapter 1: Email and Spam Annoyances, on page 7. The author promotes the use of a spybot, but concedes that it probably will not work because of security protection that everybody should be running. Imagine your friends catching you using a spybot on them. Another more serious breach is in Chapter 3: Wireless Annoyances. The author talks about how to do "War Driving" in order to look for Hotspots and then the author gets very wishy-washy, in my opinion, on the legalities of using someone's open network that you might have found.

In summery; Did the book help me in using the Internet more efficiently? Sadly, it did not. For it was mainly focused on products and services that I do not use and promoted procedures that I would not try on my computer. It is a book that you might borrow from a library for a bit of good reading but not for laying out your hard earned money on.

Gary J Byron


Internet Annoyances
Available from O'Reilly Computer Books
1005 Gravenstein Highway North Sebastopol,
CA, USA 95472
Toll Free: 800-998-9938
Online:
http://www.oreilly.com

Cost (as of their fall 2005 catalogue):
$24.95 US + shipping/handling


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Ottawa Personal Computer Users Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

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