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Monday, June 18, 2001
Book Reviews

Books that may help a novice...

‘Computers for Everyone’ by Alexis Leon and Mathews Leon, Leon Vikas Publication 433 pages Rs 200.

COMPUTERS for Everyone has been written keeping all those in mind, who want to learn the basics in computing and at the same time take advantage of the latest in technology. Written in a simple style, the book covers several topics from the basics to advance topics of computer science and information technology. For someone not very familiar with the computing world, the book talks about basics in the computing world, to issues like the Internet, World Wide Web (WWW), various computer peripherals and their use, virtual reality and so on.

The book gradually proceeds from simple topics like ‘Introduction to Computers’ to more practical aspects like ‘Buying and using a computer’. But by the time one reaches the 44th Chapter, Alexis Leon and Mathews Leon are discussing ‘Mobile Computing’. A useful book that not only explains the theoretical concepts about how computers work, functions of various components, role of memory, etc, but also deals with the various software available, operating systems including Windows Millennium edition, etc. Besides a chapter each is also devoted to Word Processing and Desktop Publishing.


Divided into eight parts, the book contains 44 chapters. The various parts of the book deal with an overview of computers, inside of a computer, buying and using a computer, computer software, security, Internet and Intranets, multimedia and virtual reality and computers in action. The most likable aspect of the book is that it can be read like a textbook and a reference at the same time. Written in simple style, it presents a clear and precise elucidation of concepts, making its reading equally enjoyable.

Not many textbook would include trackballs, joysticks, digitising tablets, digital cameras, bar code reader or even a microphone in the input device list as conventional books limit this to keyboard, mouse or a scanner at the most. The chapter on computer buyer’s guide discusses issues like How to buy a computer? What software would you require? How much RAM to buy, How large should your hard disk be?, What processor to buy?, which one would generally find in magazine articles rather than in a textbook. There is a complete and detailed explanation on the peripherals to buy and what these could help you do.

One very important aspect discussed in the book is "Ergonomics and best working practice’ that discusses the angle of the monitor screen, the viewing angle and the distance which should be maintained from the monitor, elbow angle, support to the lower back, seat pan height, knee angle, etc which is hard to find in most books and magazines. Besides the author also talks about the musco-skeletal disorders associated with computing and methods to prevent injury to the eyes, neck, shoulders, wrist, fingers, etc.

Understanding database management system is simple and quick with the help of ‘Computers for everyone’. It discusses the issue in detail including issues like quality of information, information processing, Why DBMS? Relational database management systems, relational data integrity, etc. It is only after explaining the concept of database management that the book goes onto software like the Microsoft Access 2000 that is used for data base management. In short, the book is a good alternative to a two-month beginners’ computer course at any teaching institute.

There is hardly any concept that the reader is not introduced to at the beginners level. Well-organised, the book gradually moves from simpler to more complex issues ending with electronic mail, with the objective of providing a practical step by step learning.

One of the writers Alexis Leon is a software consultant, researcher and full-time writer. He has written more than 25 books on topics including CICS, DB2, Oracle, Power Builder, Developer/2000, Mainframes, Year 2000 Solutions, Internet, Computer science and communication engineering, SQL, ERP, Business Computing, Software Configuration Management, E-business, Office 2000, etc . He holds a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering.

The co-author Mathews Leon is the Executive Director of L and L Consultancy Services a company specializing in Web Design and Development, Client /Server Computing, Groupware and Workflow Automation. He has written more than 10 books on various computing and management topics.

— Naveen S. Garewal


...telling him from where to start

‘A Beginner’s Guide to Computers’ by Alexis Leon & Mathews Leon , Vikas Leon Publication, Rs 100

FOR those who do not want to spend too much time and still wish to learn computers in a capsule form, ‘A beginners’ guide to Computers’ by Alexis Leon and Mathews Leon co-published by Leon Press and Vikas Publishing is a good alternative to ‘Computers for Everyone’. A reader-friendly hand-on book, it tells you where to start for day-to-day computing activity. The book will be of interest to all those learning to type a letter in Microsoft Word, do tabular calculations using Microsoft Access or even sending and receiving e-mails, browsing the net shopping online and even making presentation using PowerPoint. In short a good book to have if you are just starting.

There is a chapter each on every component of Microsoft 2000. Word, Excel, Power Point, Access all is well explained from a beginner’s point of view. In nine small chapters the authors have packed what one would learn in package course in about two months at an institute. Priced at Rs 100, the book is good value for money and a nice reading experience.


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