View Full Version : Campus Computing Book Review

Herman J. Woltring
02-09-1991, 08:25 PM
The following book review was announced in CCNEWS today, and retrieved

Book review of "Campus Computing," by Laura Muzzi (book written
by Helmut Kobler, Lyceum Publishing, Berkeley, CA, 1990). Reprinted
from EDUCOM Review, Winter 1990, Volume 25, Number 4. Contact:

Campus Computing is an everything-you-need-to-know-but-were-afraid-to-ask
book about computers for college students. One of the major strengths of
this handy book is that the author, Helmut Kobler, a college student at
the University of California, Berkeley, never forgets his audience.

The book's subtitle, "How to Use Computers to Study Smarter, Earn
Cash, and Even Improve Your Social Life at College," is no joke!
Kobler begins by discussing--his tone is very conversational--how
computers are used in various disciplines. He gives valuable
information on where to find computers that can be used on and off
campus and how to locate low-cost or no-cost classes to boost your
computer literacy. He effectively expands the reader's computer
horizons by describing available resources that most college students
don't know about or use, such as electronic mail and Usenet
newsgroups, which are just two ways to improve your social life and
engage in academic discourse. If the reader does become a proficient
computer user, Kobler explains how to turn a profit by finding part-
time jobs during school and full-time jobs after graduation. And how
does one find them? Why, by simply looking through some online job

Although it was difficult to choose the highlights in Campus
Computing, I recommend three sections that I believe college
students (or anyone writing a research paper or buying a computer)
will find indispensable. First, "Quick and Easy Electronic Research"
covers electronic library catalogs; indexes and abstracts using a CD-
ROM disk drive; and national commercial research databases to turn
to if your campus does not have its own electronic research

Buried at the end of the book is my second choice, a chapter that
most college students will call a godsend. In "Publishing Great
Papers," Kobler describes features of word processors that will take
the drudgery out of writing a paper. Most of us know about spell-
checkers and footnotes, but most college students might not know
that their word processor could create an index and a table of
contents. Kobler has saved students the time and trouble of leafing
through a word processing manual to find the capabilities of a word
processor specifically suited to publishing papers, but he encourages
his readers to read word processor manuals to learn the intricacies of
a program anyway. Every good paper should appear clean-cut. With
this in mind, Kobler discusses printers and fonts and offers advice
about common printer/font problems.

The third section, "Which College Computer to Buy," is refreshing.
Kobler does not make a sales pitch, but, rather, he examines the
important questions a college student should consider when looking
for a computer: What computers are used on your campus? What
computers are used in your discipline? How much can you afford to
spend? What features do you need? He does not try to sell color
monitors and 80-megabyte hard drives to someone who wants to do
only word processing.

Kobler also discusses bytes, memory, and expansion slots in the
simplest terms, and the reader will learn about them before they
have time to worry that they won't understand. He gives a good
rundown of the various models of Macintosh and IBM PC and
compatible computers, and, even though he favors the Mac, he's
honest about its negative points and the positive aspects of owning
a PC.

Overall, Campus Computing is an excellent resource guide that gives
brief, simple explanations about hardware, operating systems, e-mail,
word processors, you name it. Although it is written specifically
for college students, I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking
for quick (and humorous!) answers about computers and their
capabilities. Congratulations to Helmut Kobler, a college student
who has really done his homework!

Laura Muzzi is working toward her master's degree in literature at
the American University, where she holds a fellowship in academic

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