The world connection. (book reviews) Brian J. Murphy.
The World Connection (Howard W. Sams & Co., 142 pp., $9.95) is written by 16-year-old Timothy Orr Knight with more wit and perception than anyone his age has a right to display. He presents the material in a very organized manner and explains the nuts and bolts of telecommunications clearly and concisely.
Knight starts by discussing the benefits of telecommunications and the possibilities they open through bulletin boards, info utilities and person to person communications. In the second chapter he plunges into basic terminology, explaining it very simply and clearly.
He discusses the information utilities, CompuServe and The Source, in Chapter Three ("The Big Guys"), describing what you have to do (and pay) to subscribe and what the services offer. In the following section, he examines the delights of logging onto local bulletin board services. A sermon on the evils of home computer piracy and unauthorized access follows.
The hardware chapter is a very general overview of modems and terminals containing a "what to look for" section and reviewing a few units like the Novation CAT and D-CAT, Hayes Smartmodem, and Radio Shack Modem I and Modem II.
Knight makes comparisons of the units easy by numbering the advantages and disadvantages of each, setting them off from the text so they can be found easily. He does not use the same technique of presentation in his chapter on communications software. This section, which looks at such programs as VisiTerm, Smart-80, Modem 80, and Super> > Terminal, is, unfortunately, the weakest chapter in the book. Knight virtually ignores software for systems other than TRS-80 and devotes too little space to his criteria for judging software.
Overall, the book is a good introduction to telecommunications, but it is hardly as comprehensive as one would hope--even for an introduction to the subject. Its main strength is that it takes a non-technical approach, keeping the material accessible to the average reader.
Review Grade: B