The Internet Companion

So somehow you managed to miss the Internet boat. You've got the computer and a basic idea of how to connect, but as for surfing the Web, you can hardly get past the Microsoft homepage.

Vanessa and Glen Waller's new book can offer a starting point. Specifically aimed at the generation of older Australians who have grown up without computers as part of their everyday lives, The Internet Companion offers a basic introduction to the Internet including setting up your computer, getting connected, sending e-mails, searching the Web and joining newsgroups.

With step-by-step instructions and explanations, backed up with reinforcing practical exercises and Australian examples, even the most computer shy person can begin to explore the World Wide Web.

While the guide briefly touches on some basic computer skills, including using the mouse and connecting to the Internet, the focus is on using e-mail, exploring the Web - including working online and offline - saving Internet files and Web sites and interacting with other Internet users through chat rooms. As a beginner's guide, the book only seeks to teach readers the basics and lacks comprehensive information on more complex issues such as creating your own Web site.

Unfortunately there is limited troubleshooting advice and problem solving, but there are useful tips and suggestions on a range of topics, including computer skills, choosing an Internet service provider, safe online shopping and privacy concerns.

Although The Internet Companion may not transform you into the techno-geek you aspire to become, it provides an excellent starting point for users with no prior experience or knowledge and a comprehensive review of Web basics for surfers struggling to master the cyber world.

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Luisa Bustos

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