Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary
US $16.99, CAN $25.99
No plot, no tips, no tricks, and no pics: Are these the ingredients of the worst book ever? Well, they would be if it weren’t a dictionary. Fortunately I am reviewing a dictionary, Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary to be precise. What you have here is your basic dictionary: Words and acronyms in bold followed by the definition the whole shebang flows down two columns per page. The difference is the focus, Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary focuses solely on Computers so the reference won’t be much use to scrabble players looking for a two-letter word that starts with Q (answer “qa”, it’s legit, trust me).
Reviewing a dictionary is difficult. The obvious things to do is read a bevy of definitions and see if they are understandable or if they send the reader off to another dictionary to figure out what Bryan Pfaffenberger is trying to say. Having read more definitions than I care to enumerate I can honestly say they are pretty easy to follow. None of the definitions left me wondering what I had just read actually meant so that’s gotta count for something.
The other test I devised for Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary was one I hoped would test Bryan Pfaffenberger’s completeness. I began to think of random computer terms. I would shout one aloud and flip the pages of Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary to see if my word of the moment had stumped Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary. DDR? It’s in there, SLIP? Ditto, foo? Covered. Try as I might there was no computer related word/term/acronym I could come up with to successfully stump Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary (though qa was not included). My failure to stump Bryan Pfaffenberger may have more to do with my meager vocabulary than the robustness of Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary so take my experiment for what it’s worth.
Now I am entering dangerous territory, valuing the book. One of the keys to rating any kind of reference book is the value component. At only seventeen dollars Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary is fairly inexpensive but if you have the Internet it’s fairly unnecessary. You can look up just about any term (well, probably every term) found in Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary and get the same info from the net. I suppose that Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary might be useful if you find yourself reading computer manuals or editing computer oriented articles and didn’t want to make the short Google jaunt but, personally speaking, I can’t imagine actually needing this book (I am obviously the exception to the rule, the book is in it’s ninth edition). Still, if you find yourself in a situation where you need a hard copy dictionary Webster’s New World Computer Dictionary won’t let you down.
MacMice Rating: 3 out of 5