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Book details of 'Special Edition Using the Internet'

Cover of Special Edition Using the Internet
TitleSpecial Edition Using the Internet
Author(s)Jerry Honeycutt
PublishedJanuary 1998
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Special Edition Using the Internet':

Reviewer wrote:
Rather than providing a quick update to his second edition of Using the Internet, Honeycutt has responded to the rapid changes online with a total rewrite and the addition of new material. He has deleted a lot of how-to information on software and functions that are no longer popular or relevant to the daily life of most users. Instead he emphasizes many elements of the Internet that the average user, especially a beginner, is most likely to use. Honeycutt combines that with coverage of emerging Internet capabilities, which explains why his book has grown from about 300 pages to almost 700.As in previous editions, Using the Internet starts out with a short history of the Net and how it works, although the old section on "netiquette" no longer follows and is sorely missed. Honeycutt then explains how to connect to the Net using the major online services or an independent Internet service provider (ISP). He focuses on Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Communicator as he discusses browsing the Web, using e-mail, participating in mailing lists and newsgroups, downloading files, using real-time chat, and more. But he doesn't overlook the popular and useful add-on and client programs that make online life easier.Honeycutt helps you apply what you've learned by showing you how to perform Web searches, participate in multiplayer games, use push technology to your advantage, and easily put your own home page on the World Wide Web. The search section is particularly informative and should be helpful to Net novices. The book concludes with two no-nonsense (and opinionated) chapters on Net security for yourself and for your children. Appendices include lists of ISPs.The book includes information on how to use what Honeycutt calls the more "obscure" capabilities, such as FTP, Gopher, and WAIS. While most users will never need these utilities, it's good that Honeycutt recognizes that they can be lifesavers if you depend on the Net for research. Even in its expanded form, this is not a comprehensive guide to the Net--the section on Web-page creation gives you only a taste of what is possible--but it remains a good way for beginners to get their feet wet without feeling overloaded with information. --Elizabeth Lewis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
This book has less to do with using the Internet, than with using specific Internet applications. The content is generally appropriate for a novice user level, but it does have gaps in coverage. Chapter one is a brief history of the Internet. However, even in that short space, knowledgeable readers will find some errors. Chapter two proceeds with a description of how the Internet works. The chapter is quite short and skips a lot, but this material does a lot better in terms of accuracy, although sometimes it may be misleading. For example, it is probably true that the best match for modems is to have two of the same brand and model, but there are such things as standards. Part two deals with getting connected to the net. The look at commercial online services in chapter three may be a bit dicey given the massive changes currently taking place. However, it does give you valuable tips, such as the fact that AOL and Compuserve use proprietary mail servers, and you cannot use the more commonly used mail clients. Chapter four's instructions for connecting via an ISP (Internet Service Provider) does give instructions for all of Windows 3.1, Windows 95, and Windows NT 4.0, but the directions do have some gaps. (These seem to be the guidelines Microsoft gives you, and I have first hand experience in the frustrations they can cause.) Since installation of either Netscape Communicator or Internet Explorer 4 is pretty easy, chapter five is as well. A caveat, though: the chapter does not mention the security problems rampant in IE 4, nor does it tell you how to get rid of it, once installed and "integrated." Troubleshooting a modem, however, is quite different. The content in chapter six is sometimes too simple, and sometimes too complex, to be of help to the average user. Chapter seven, on upgrading the speed of your Internet connection, is probably even trickier. At the moment this advice can probably be reduced to "see your supplier." Part three concentrates on the Web. As with installation of the browsers, so exploring the Web is supposedly easy, and chapter eight is likely up to the task. Chapter nine gives a quick once over of Internet Explorer, and some of the more useful features. Again, though, the text does not mention security issues, particularly with ActiveX controls. Chapter ten introduces channels in Internet Explorer. Netscape Navigator and Netcaster get the same treatment in chapters eleven and twelve. Chapter thirteen compares some Web search agents which collect pages for offline reading. This seems a bit out of order with the coverage of online search engines in chapter fourteen. Chapter fourteen also contains some miscellaneous site and service suggestions. Part four moves into mail and news. Chapter fifteen is a general introduction to the concepts. Unfortunately, it seems to be more interested in cute acronyms than useful information like how to use mail servers. Chapter sixteen's brief look at Microsoft Outlook Express is also more interested in formatting than in informing the reader that most correspondents will only find it annoying. The coverage of Netscape Messenger and Collabra in chapter seventeen is slightly more detailed, but Free Agent, in eighteen, and Eudora, in nineteen, are fairly terse again. The information on file attachments in chapter twenty is better than the "point and click" discussion I have come to expect, but it does boil down to "use WinZIP." Honeycutt also seems to have confused the MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) mail format with the base64 encoding method. Chapter twenty-one's details on mailing lists are short, but cover the topic, including netiquette, quite adequately. Part five refers to the old standbys of ftp, telnet, gopher, and WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) as "obscure." Chapter twenty two does a very good job on ftp, covering the browser interface, specific ftp clients, and even the command line interface. Chapter twenty three does all right with telnet and gopher, but is definitely short on WAIS. Part six's definition of "interactive" seems to relate to "fun" since it covers chat, multimedia, and games. Oddly, however, there is no mention of MUDs (Multiple User Domains), the chat games. In fact, all of the chapters in this section seem to be missing something. "Chatting on the Internet" (twenty four) covers Netscape Chat and Microsoft Comichat as well as the ubiquitous mIRC, but doesn't mention the different IRC networks. Internet telephony still requires some hardware considerations, and chapter twenty five isn't long enough to cover it. Chapter twenty six looks at only two of the many streaming media products. The games chapter is good, but definitely can't cover everything. Creating your own Web site, in part seven, is, of course, not concerned with sites as much as pages. Chapter twenty eight is a brief but basic guide to HTML (HyperText Markup Language), but it does at least use a workable form, rather than relying on CGI (Common Gateway Interface) programming that doesn't exist for the reader. Chapters twenty nine and thirty create pages with Composer and Frontpage. The coverage of channel creation in chapter thirty one is hard to follow because of the lack of basic explanation first. Part eight concludes the book with an attempt to make the Internet safe. Chapter thirty two presents a lot of misinformation about viruses, and almost no help. The material on "securing" your Web browser, in chapter thirty three, do *not* address the security issue fully, discussing only certificates and the common access denying programs that parents generally use in a probably futile attempt to keep their kids off porn sites. The book, overall, is primarily concerned with specific programs. Microsoft and Netscape are the leading contenders, with Microsoft having a decided edge. Once you know how to use the applications, there is still much to learn about using the net, and this latter information is in rather short supply. The content of the book is enough to get newcomers started, and may have some items of interest to intermediate users as well. However, as far as the dust jacket advertisement of the book as "Comprehensive. Authoritative. Recommended." I really couldn't endorse any of the three. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998

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