Review: The User Friendly Guide to Internet & Computer Terms is an easy to read reference book for the beginning computer user. It contains a section explaining common computer terms, several chapters pertaining to the Internet (shopping, investing, fraud, web sites, searching), some information about computers (components explained, shortcuts, some tips and tricks, extensions), and more.
While the book contains a lot of information, it does not follow a line that requires it to be read from start to end. Some sections are simply reference material, e.g. computer terms, acronyms, to be referred to as needed, some sections can be explored in random order, e.g. tips and tricks, web sites, some sections can be read a chapter at a time, e.g. Internet guides.Throughout the book the author purposely used basic, non-threatening, and non-technical language to explain. Clearly this book is aimed at the computer newbie, no matter what age.
Both the look as well as the content of the book beg for comparison with the Complete Idiot’s Guide series of books. There is a difference, however. The Complete Idiot’s Guide series usually attacks a specific topic and tries to carefully introduce the user to a new aspect of computing, explain the concept, then slowly but steadily teach the basics to give the reader a good foundation and understanding.
The User-Friendly Guide To Internet And Computer Terms, however, is not quite as goal-oriented. The main problem is that the author often sacrifices detail for brevity and ease of reading. As a result, chapters on topics like computer shopping, history of the Internet, online investing, etc. turned out rather brief and lacking some relevant information. Other chapters with important information that any new computer user needs to know like computer security are missing altogether. This lack of information is balanced by the presence of more chat acronyms and emoticons than you could ever possibly use, not to mention remember.
Another problem that is of course not the author’s fault is the speed at which information in the computer and Internet field becomes outdated. A lot of the info in the book will be outdated soon, if it isn’t already. The author’s effort of providing a good entry-level guide for the new computer user should be applauded, but the book gives the impression of an aimless stroll through the park of everything computer related, not always sure when to stay on the path and when to go exploring.
The book still contains lots of interesting and useful information. And any aspiring computer user will enjoy and benefit from this information. While a most of it only scratches the surface, it hopefully reveals enough of what’s underneath to awake the reader’s curiosity and cause him to explore more.
Should you buy this book? Depends. If you are still at the very beginning of your computer experience, are looking for a place to start, and prefer paper to the monitor, this book will do the job. But you can help save some trees and download the book for free from their web site at http://www.userfriendlybooks.com/books/cit.pdf. If you’re the curious kind and want to learn more about the topics covered than the book could ever offer, you will enjoy the following web sites: