This guide assumes that the reader has a reasonable knowledge of computers and now wants to enhance his or her capabilities. Separate chapters cover popular services, the database supermarkets, services for individual professions, convenience services (home banking, travel services), electronic mail, and fun services. Appendices cover hardware, software, bulletin board services, and the value-added telecommunications networks.
A wealth of information has been packed into these pages. For each supermarket service, the authors provide a list of databases available, rate options, and contact address and telephone number. Descriptions and prices are kept fairly general, so that they will not date too quickly; some descriptions are so brief that they merely tantalize.
Parameters of the telecommunications (duplex setting, parity type) are generally given. A separate chapter groups the same sources by professional user.
Tom Keiffer is an engineer who became a software developer and consultant in Minneapolis, while Terry Hansen is a science writer. The combination of technical expertise and writing facility make this a particularly lucid and informative guide.
Appendices contain brief product descriptions (for modems and software packages), including hardware compatibility, bulk rates, and a few evaluative comments. One caution here: The authors have an interest in a package called Connect!
This guide offers especially comprehensive coverage of telecommunications, despite the steep price. It will be useful for the beginner, as well as for the experienced user who wants additional connections.