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The Internet For Dummies:
Even if you're not a dummy, the sixth edition of The Internet for Dummies is one of the best user's guides to the Internet now available. Many so-called Internet books are nothing more than printed collections of Web addresses, but John Levine, Carol Baroudi, and Margaret Levine Young recognize that deciding to use the Internet involves financial commitments and computer-hardware decisions as much as it does looking at neat pictures. That said, don't expect to set up your own e-commerce site with this book, and don't expect to find step-by-step instructions for starting your computer. But do expect to get some good advice about picking an ISP (Internet Service Provider), protecting your privacy (and your kids), and connecting with Windows or a Mac. The authors also do an exceptional job of explaining such terms as PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) and what it is for, and they even talk about the old Unix shell account (with a Lynx text browser) for those not getting a PPP account. You'll find tips for optimizing your browser for speed, building your first Web page, managing e-mail, subscribing to mailing lists, and, yes, shopping. What is most impressive, however, is the balanced approach the authors take in evaluating Web sites (they do give some Web addresses), online services, and browser software. They offer the pros and cons and let you sort it out. They also include their own Web address so you can look for updates to the book and check on their latest favorites. --Patrick O'Kelley [via]