Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 131 / JULY 1991 / PAGE 131

Complete Laptop Computer Guide. (book reviews)
by Peter Scisco

Some recent analytical surveys suggest that the laptop PC, the category of personal computers with the fastest-growing sales, will in a few years account for more than half of the computers sold in the United States. More and more people are looking to portables, laptops, and notebooks as their secondary, or even primary, machine. Students, writers, accountants, sales reps--anyone who needs portability and functionality needs a laptop. That person also needs a solid grounding in what the laptop computer can and can't do.

This book, by David H. Rothman, leads readers through the promise and peril of laptop use. The early pages are devoted to detailed descriptions of various laptop designs, with pros and cons clearly spelled out. Chapter 3 is devoted to software solutions for laptop users (who are always short of storage space, especially with less expensive models).

In light of Rothman's statement that laptops are superior to all other communication devices, it isn't surprising that several of the book's chapters are devoted to that idea. Here you'll find everything from a tour of online services to a primer on logging on, no matter how inhospitable or adversarial the terrain.

Throughout, the author maintains a good balance of fact and humor, which will help readers get more from these pages. Only a couple of biases mar an otherwise clear--if somewhat lighthearted--approach. Rothman hates mice and especially abhors graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Considering the movement toward such environments, Rothman could have served his readers better with solid information about using a laptop with a GUI, rather than dismissing them outrighht. These faults] are outweighted, however, by the book's overall usefulness.