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Windows Netbooks: The Path to Low Cost Computing

 

Author: James Floyd Kelly

Publisher: Apress

ISBN: 978-1-4302-2399-3

My usual three criteria for judging a book are:

  • Is it technically accurate?
  • Does deliver the material it claims to deliver?
  • Is worth the cost of purchase and the time I spend reading it?

I came to this book more intrigued than anything.  I’d not really considered using a netbook – they are too small to do what I want. Right?  So I wanted to learn more and find out if my ideas were right.

At 202 pages this isn’t a massive book and the ratio of screen shots to text is pretty high so it is a fairly quick read.

The book contains 12 chapters and three appendices:

  • 1 The Netbook
  • 2 Netbook Hardware Option
  • 3 Netbook Maintenance
  • 4 Netbook Software Options
  • 5 Netbook and Google Docs
  • 6 Netbook and Malware Protection
  • 7 Netbook Web Browsers
  • 8 Netbook Email
  • 9 Netbook Calendar
  • 10 Netbooks and OpenOffice.org
  • 11 Windows 7 and Netbooks
  • 12 Finding Great Netbook Apps
  • A Netbook manufacturers
  • B Upgrading a Netbook to Windows 7
  • C additional Netbook Apps to consider

Chapter 1 opens the discussion with a review of exactly what a netbook is and why they are so useful. A jog through the main hardware components and a look at how they can influence your purchasing decisions completes the chapter. Chapter 2 follows straight on with a look at the extras you may want – USB hub, pen drive, external CD\DVD, mouse, keyboard etc. Chapter 3 gives a few hints on the watering (not literally) and feeding of netbooks.

By chapter 4 we’re looking at software.  A computer’s great but you can’t do anything without software. Open Source and Cloud computing get the most space here – especially openoffice.

Chapters 5, 8 and 9 are straight advertising copy for Google Docs, Google Mail and Google Calendar respectively.  Ok so as the author you love these but there are alternatives and in some cases much better alternatives.

Chapter 6 covers Malware with so good information on free AV products. The section on SpyBot is overdone.  If your netbook runs Windows 7 it has Windows Defender – works for me.

The brower is next with chapter 7 mainly given over to a discussion of Firefox. Chapter 10 returns to OpenOffice but agian doesn’t mention alternatives.

In chapter 11 we look at windows 7 on netbooks – good recommendation to get one with it installed. A check at a PC retailer today showed most have it installed. The book was published in October 2009 and is already showing its age.

Chapter 12’s discussion on applications spends too long explaining how to search the Internet. The bit at the end on online software repositories was worth waiting for. I also tried Attack of the Buggles (page 182) the book was almost worth it for that alone!

The appendices do what they say with Appendix C being an extension of chapter 12.

So in summary what do I think of the book:

  • technically it is accurate but on the light side.  Don’t look here for an in-depth discussion of the technologies. I’d give it 7/10
  • does it deliver on the material – yes. After reading this you would have a good idea of waht a netbook can do and if its for you - - 8/10
  • is it worth buying and reading. Not sure if I’d be totally happy if I’d bought it but it was worth the read. – 8/10

Overall, it made me think about netbooks and their place in the scheme of things – I might actually be getting one soon as I can see so uses for one – especially now I can get Windows 7 on one. - - 8/10

I think the book will suffer because of the rapid changes in this area of technology. Another edition in 12 months wouldn’t go amiss – if it was an ebook it would be quicker to update.

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