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Campus Computing Book Review

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  • Campus Computing Book Review

    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:
    Wendy Rickard, RICKARD@EDUCOM (BITNET) or RICKARD@EDUCOM.EDU (Internet).

    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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