Book Bytes
MyMac Magazine #37

Sams’ Teach Yourself the Internet
in 24 Hours, Second Edition
by Ned Snell Publishing
ISBN 1-57521-393-1, 380 pages
$19.99 U.S., $28.95 Canada, £17.95 U.K.

This book is the third volume I have seen in the Teach Yourself XYZ in 24 Hours series, and they all impress me positively. Readers are offered “24 Easy Lessons: Finish each lesson in one hour or less!” The first lesson is “What is the Internet and What Can You Do There?” and the final one covers “Moving Toward Web Integration,” with 22 topics covered in-between, structured within six major parts, plus a Troubleshooting appendix.

Every chapter utilizes a combination of explanation, summary, Q&A, quiz, and activity, enhanced with screen shots, charts, and loads of boxed sidebar tips. The writing is clear and informative, aimed at intelligent readers.

I have begun suggesting this 24 Hour book series to my few Macintosh students and clients, and they agree that this method is effective. It’s not enough to park such a book in your bookcase! You must actually read the darn thing, and work through the exercises. If readers already know the material in any given chapter, they can jump around, but I tend to plow through tutorial-style books from front to back.

Let’s take potluck, and turn to chapter… “Hour 10: Searching for Information.” On page 150 we learn how to phrase a simple search, using the AltaVista search engine (, followed by “Phrasing a Serious Search” and “To Do: Try a Power Search.” Typically, the author progresses from basic to advanced material, and the reader can enjoy the ride by working through the exercises.

The Internet is complicated and time-consuming. Personally, I learn something new every day or two. Consider Sams’ Teach Yourself the Internet in 24 Hours, Second Edition as a valuable learning companion (rather than a reference work), and use it accordingly. RECOMMENDED.


Two New Dummies Books
Illustrated Computer Dictionary for Dummies,
Third Edition
by Dan Gookin and Sandra Hardin Gookin

Dummies Press
ISBN 0-7645-0143-7, 326 pages
$19.99 U.S., $26.99 Canada, £18.99 U.K.

I spend a considerable amount of time every month studying glossaries in the various books to be reviewed, and rarely am I satisfied with the quantity or quality of the glossary items. The title Illustrated Computer Dictionary promised an entire book full of accurate, informative, lively terms and descriptions, “as enlightening as it is practical and fun,” with:

• More than 2,000 Entries with Dozens of Illustrations

• Filled with Facts and Practical Tips

• Includes Handy Guides to Pronunciation and Usage.

Here is a typical term:


So far so good. Newcomers will then turn to the words: server, Internet, and Web; and learn that a server is a “master computer” that controls a network, the Internet is a collection of networked computers all over the world, and the Web is…

Many of you readers already know most of this stuff, but not everyone does. As an experienced computer person, I was initially annoyed by the many attempts at cute humor which are typical of most Dummies books. The Illustrated Computer Dictionary is growing on me. It’s not visually exciting, but it is accurate and informative.

Therefore, I RECOMMEND Illustrated Computer Dictionary for Dummies, Third Edition for, libraries, schools, or situations where definitions of basic terminology are needed on a regular basis. Personally, I will use this book occasionally, when my more “serious” glossaries let me down.

Microsoft Outlook for Dummies
by Bill Dyszel

Dummies Press
ISBN 0-7645-0080-5, 364 pages
$19.99 U.S., $26.99 Canada, £18.99 U.K.

Not being an “early adopter,” I have no personal familiarity with Microsoft Outlook, either in its Office 97 version (Windows only) or its new “Express” identity, as part of Office 98 for both Mac and Win. This Dummies book covers the Windows application that was “the most exciting new part of Microsoft Office 97.”

I chose to review Microsoft Outlook for Dummies hoping it would help me understand Office 98’s Outlook Express, and it does. I’m impressed both with Outlook and with this book’s patient, thorough approach to learning and using the software. I don’t feel qualified to recommend the book for you loyal My Mac Magazine readers, but next time you are in a bookstore, look through Microsoft Outlook for Dummies to see if it’s appropriate for you.

When another book becomes available that covers Outlook for Macintosh, I will provide a more thorough evaluation. Please let me know if you see one, and I will request it for review.


Book Bytes Hits a Brick Wall

What the fudge is wrong with Microsoft? Will somebody please explain it to me? Why does this successful company do a few things so darn well, and do most things so inconsistently?

I was planning to review four books on Microsoft Internet Explorer 4, but I have decided to wait, for two reasons:

• all these books were published before MIE4 for Macintosh was released,


• as Jason Snell explains in the May, 1998 issue of Macworld, “Explorer 4.0 still offers plenty of disappointments,” so “stick with your old browser and hope that Microsoft rights the wrongs of Explorer 4.0 in its next release.”

I predict that for Macintosh users MIE4 will not dominate Netscape Communicator 4. Does Microsoft care? Probably not, since MIE4 has statistically overtaken Netscape on all new Windows computer purchasers. Macintoshers prefer Netscape, in spite of the many fine features in Explorer 3 and 4.

Here are the four books, with a very brief description. Each one has much to recommend it, once you accept that they all are based on the Windows platform. When I feel the wind change, I will provide complete Mac/Explorer 4 book reviews. I hope you agree, and understand.


Internet Explorer 4 Bible
by Christopher Negus

IDG Books Worldwide
ISBN 0-7645-3042-9, 598 pages
$34.99 U.S., $48.99 Canada, £33.99 U.K.

Massive, thorough, well-written, and loaded with illustrations.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 “6-in-1”
by Heather Williamson, Joe Habraken,
Julia Kelly, and Joe Kraynak

Que Corporation
ISBN 0-7897-1109-5, 476 pages
$29.99 U.S., $42.95 Canada, 27.49 U.K.

Clearly written and presented, with plenty of graphics.

Teach Yourself Microsoft Internet Explorer
in 24 Hours
by Noel Estabrook Publishing
ISBN 1-57521-233-1, 383 pages
$19.99 U.S., $28.95 Canada, 17.95 U.K.

As I have mentioned previously, this “24 Hours” series is a consistent winner, and this book is priced very reasonably.

Using Microsoft Internet Explorer 4,
Special Edition
by Jim O’Donnell and Eric Ladd

Que Corporation
ISBN 0-7897-1046-3, 667 pages
$29.99 U.S., $42.95 Canada, 27.49 U.K.

A heavyweight in every category, with fine writing and tons of screen shots.


Thanks for reading, and keep in touch.


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