First Monday

First Monday Reviews

New Twists on Internet Information: new books
Specialization seems to be the best way of describing both Internet resources and tools. Some software tools will help you markup files and documents with just a modicum of HTML experience. New sites and servers provide every possible tidbit of news, trivia, and data. No longer will a given site try to be everything for everybody; instead, the focus seems to be on providing the best and most highly distilled kinds of information. For Internet users, these possibilities mean even more time and effort searching for just the right program or fact. These books will help you locate that right byte or assist you in developing yet another window on an important topic or interest. Ultimately, there is nothing like the right book to help in your virtual expeditions for information, to support you as a digital architect of a new site. - ejv

Thomas C. Fox
Catholicism on the Web
New York: MIS Press, 1997.
468 p., paper ISBN 1-55828-516-4
Price $US16.95

According to an article in the December 16, 1996 issue of Time, "The Internet is exploding, and the church has got to be there," says Sister Judith Zoebelein, the Vatican's Web sister. "The Holy Father wanted it." Well, I am sure that the Holy Father will want to have this book as part of his library. "Catholicism on the Web" surveys 500 Web sites that have special relevance for Catholics (and non-Catholics as well). The Pope recognized early on the role that telecommunications could play in spreading the word, calling it the "new evangelism." This book contains 18 chapters on topics such as "Religious Orders," "People," "Teachings," "Education," "Spirituality," and "Art and Meditation." Included in each chapter are a wide range of sites such as the God Squad, a site with links to items of interest for those in prison ministry, the World Wide Study Bible, and Father Bucko's Mighty Home Page. Each site is well annotated and while some of the cited links did not work, most did. As the author states in his preface "The Catholic Web, like the wider World Wide Web, is a moving target." What I found most interesting about this book was the new ways that Catholics are finding to express their ideas and practice their faith. This book is worth a look for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. - Monica Ertel, Apple Computer, Inc.

James E. Gaskin
Corporate Politics and the Internet
Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Prentice Hall PTR, 1997.
452 p., paper. ISBN 0-136-51803-6
Price $US24.95

Most corporations, even those filled to the brim with digital hep cats, cannot turn on the Internet dime. James Gaskin provides a noble service to the corporate community, especially to those organizations who imagine themselves as cutting-edge, in outlining some of the snares and pitfalls with this most hectic electronic milieu. Twenty chapters treat intellectual property, Internet addiction and other personnel issues, security, and politics. You might imagine that some of these issues would make for dull reading, but Gaskin is entertaining and informative throughout. On copyright infringement, the author states simply that "...Fortune 500 CEOs don't share prison showers with Bubba the Tattooed Biker." For those wrestling with corporate acceptable use policies, electronic mail monitoring, networked sexual harassment, and training, this book will be a lifesaver. The text is supplemented with illustrations, and just the right number of Internet locales to find more details. A great book, it is highly recommended to systems managers (and their bosses), personnel officers, and nearly anyone else in the unenviable position of corralling the corporate Intranet and Internet. - ejv

Brent Heslop and Gus Venditto
Webheads Guide to Netscape: Using, Authoring, Programming
New York: Random House, 1997.
563 p., paper. ISBN 0-679-76892-0
Price $US30.00

Netscape, to some, is the Internet. The virtual sun rises, and sets to many with Netscape and its view of the World Wide Web. According to this book, Netscape is the electronic equivalent of a Swiss army knife. The authors start you with a breath-taking introduction to Navigator (flush your cache!) and then provide you with the essentials of electronic mail with Netscape Mail. Subsequent chapters treat plug-ins, SmartMarks, CoolTalk, and HTML editing. With these skills, it is an easy jump to Perl and common gateway interfaces (one of the most detailed chapters in the book), JavaScript, and VRML. There's plenty of useful and exciting information in this book's pages; with it, even Internet curmudgeons will find something refreshing and new. - ejv

Maria Langer
PageMill 2 for the Macintosh
Berkeley, Calif.: Peachpit Press, 1997.
233 p., paper. ISBN 0-201-69402-6
Price $US16.95

In Peachpit Press' Visual QuickStart Guide series, this book is designed for the HTML impatient and the Web deprived, ready to take on the Internet with PageMill and their Macs. Plenty of illustrations and easy-to-read text make this book highly functional. Twelve chapters and four appendices take you from HTML zero to frames, forms, and attributes. The first third of the text helps you understand the essentials while the middle third gives you just the right answers to help with tables, images, and links. The last part of the book tackles the more dicey aspects of forms and frames, supplemented by appendices on PageMill's menus, keys, and other components. The layout arranges text in columns along the outside half of each page, with illustrations and examples filling the inner half. Plenty of tips help along the way. For those using Adobe PageMill and their Macintoshes as their HTML and Web workstations, this book will answer many questions, getting you up to speed with ease.- ejv

Jeannie Novak and Pete Markiewicz
Creating Internet Entertainment: A Complete Guide for Web Developers and Entertainment Professionals
New York: Wiley, 1997.
454 p., paper, with CD-ROM. ISBN 0-471-16073-3
Price $US39.95
Updates to this book:

URLs seem to be popping up all over the place, attached to television commercials, movie promotions, and musical compact discs. Internet users exploit the medium to keep up with their favorite programs, artists, and productions. Novak and Markiewicz explain that this sort of use of the Internet demands a certain level of electronic sophistication; in the course of this book, they suggest how you can create a spectacular site, giving you plenty of advice and examples. In five parts, the book opens by explaining this new environment and its meaning for the entertainment biz. The second section describes how you can construct an effective server; no, you won't find code here or technical minutiae, just commonsense. Once your server is up, the third section explains how you should monitor and publicize your site, revising as necessary. The last two sections review successful sites and look at some potential developments for the Internet in the near future. Planning to promote your band? Advertise your new movie? If you're going to use the Internet, you'll need this book.- ejv

Brad Wieners and David Pescovitz
Reality Check
San Francisco: HardWired, 1996.
161 p., paper. ISBN 1-888-86903-8
Price $US16.95

The Internet, futuristic and avant-garde, seems to beg virtual savants to predict the future. Will the Internet become just a sauropodous medium in a decade? When will there ever be a market for the orgasmatron? Will I have to really wait until 2023 for a tricoder? In the form of a timetable stretching to 2255, this boisterous book predicts exactly when house-cleaning robots, holophones, and Martian colonies will appear. It also predicts as "unlikely" that the jetpacks will ever become popular for personal transport and that interactive television will never appear in every home. Fun and designed as only the Wired crowd would dare, this book is an excellent and safe stimulant, when HTML tags begin to float before your eyes, when you decide that the all Internet search engines are oxymoronic. For those who take pleasure in anticipating the future, "Reality Check" is a delicious escape. - ejv


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