Getting on-line. (book reviews) Brian J. Murphy.
Getting On-Line (Prentice-Hall Inc., 306 pp., $14.95 paper, $21.95 hardcover) by M. David Stone is the best-written of the primers I've seen. Stone's presentation is the most organized of any of these books, and his writing is uniformly accessible for even the most non-technical readers.
Stone uses his hardware chapters to expound the basics of "smart" and "dumb" terminals, using specific systems sparingly as examples. He also demonstrates how specific software packages configure micros as smart and dumb terminals.
The software section ends with five mini software reviews, exhaustively examining the capabilities of representative packages and detailing the advantages of each. this is followed by a listing of 41 terminal programs accompanied by brief descriptions and the addresses of the makers.
Next, Stone turns back to hardware, first describing how the RS-232 interface is used to connect with a modem. Then he offers capsule descriptions of five popular terminals and 30 computers.
The hardware section ends with mini-profiles of five modems. Stone discusses the features of a few of these units in great detail. He then offers a directory of 85 different modems, with information on price, format, baud rate, and RS-232 connectability.
The rest of the volume discusses the use of information utilities, on-line reference databases, and other accessible services.
Getting On-Line has my recommendation. It is clear, un-padded, attractively presented, well-organized, and exhaustive in almost every category. Of the six books reviewed here, it is my choice for my own personal reference library.
Review Grade: A