Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
A book review by Gary J.
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
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
Although I had not the time to verify the links provided,
most of the links lead to first-try-then-pay
programsanother 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
O'Reilly Computer Books
1005 Gravenstein Highway North Sebastopol,
CA, USA 95472
Toll Free: 800-998-9938
Cost (as of their fall
$24.95 US + shipping/handling
Click here to view the
full OPCUG website with frames.
Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews do not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.
comments or suggestions to the .