Samantha S. Ollinger on 15 Sep 2004 01:12:03 -0000

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[PLUG] Review: Online! by John C. Dvorak and Chris Pirillo

Below is my review of one of the books I borrowed from Jeff

"Online! The book" is written by John C. Dvorak and Chris Pirillo with
Wendy Taylor. The back cover promises to teach the reader how to
"trash that spam", "download faster and smarter", protect "against
today's toughest viruses and hackers", "blog the world", "find the web
community [the reader] has been looking for", "make the most of
peer-to-peer networks" and more.

Before I got the book, I imagined the book may teach me a few things I
didn't know about and perhaps be a book I could recommend to my
friends who were computer wary but wanted to become more savvy about
various internet protocols. I also imagined that the book would
highlight some websites that would prove to be more useful to me.

I wondered how the book would be written. Seeing as there are a
variety of choices in simply choosing an operating system, the
additional step of choosing a web browser that would give one's computer
the distinction of being "internet ready", I thought would be pretty
hard to write about.

The book's introduction begins as follows:
	"This book is about everything you ever wanted to know about
	 going online and were afraid to ask. Unlike other books
	 of this type, we go overboard and cover everything we can think
	 of: from getting your first modem or DSL connection to selling
	 something using online and email marketing tricks. The book
	 is, simply put, about everything that has anything to do with
	 going online, presented in the most comprehensive manner we can."
So I was excited. I imagined this would be a good book to present to
people who were going to purchase their first computer. Even if only
to send email and become rich off of Ebay.

The book started out well, with a good explanation of various internet
protocols written in layman's terms. I learned about two websites that
I hadn't known about previously: and 	contains a huge number of member submitted recipes and contains a 	searchable database of various file extensions.

However in the chapter entitled "Hardware Basics", there was, what can
politely be referred to as a rant on operating systems. There was a
section on Windows including a listing of the common complaints "most
often from Linux devotees" and a Windows timeline.

Online! does do a fair job of introducing new users to various
internet protocols like usenet, IRC and the World Wide Web.

The book also discussed in detail many favorite websites like and

I think the book does a good job of exposing people to various aspects
of the World Wide Web such as browser plugins, the open-source
movement, spam (along with a decent explanation of what it is), and
blogging. The amount of technical details described is also

However, my biggest complaint was the Windows-centric attitude of the
authors. I thought that the authors should have paid equal attention
to the Apple world and provided links to documentation for potential
Linux users in order to have made this book perfect.
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