Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Whether you're a computer whiz or a computer nerd, this tongue-in-cheek guide to computing by bestselling humorist Barry (Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys, etc.) has enough byte to keep you entertained. Designed to look like a user's manual, complete with section tabs and a mock glossary, it offers a wryly skeptical tour of the digital world with outrageously irreverent commentary on word-processing applications, software installation and use, Windows 95, Comdex trade shows, technical support services and much more. Computerphobes will instantly relate to Barry's spoof, which taps into the residual anxieties lurking even in computer sophisticates. (How to buy and set up a computer? "Step One: Get Valium.") Along with a brief history of computing from cave walls to virtual reality, Barry chats on the Internet, eavesdrops on a cybersex session and visits selected weird World Wide Web sites ("Proof that civilization is doomed.") Barry's nonstop humor is, perhaps necessarily, hit and miss, but he never loses sight of his big target and lets loose with enough volleys to remind us that, despite all the hype, a computer is just a machine "that operates on simple principles that can be easily understood by anybody with some common sense, a little imagination, and an IQ of 750." Major ad/promo. Author tour. (Oct.)
HUMOR This latest spoof by a best-selling author and popular syndicated humor columnist is a welcome antidote to the recent influx of technical jargon regarding computers and the Internet. In typical style, Barry pokes fun at everything imaginable: "Picture this scenario. ...Your 12-year-old child suddenly remembers that he has a report...due tomorrow. He needs to do some research, but the library is closed....Your cyber-savvy youngster simply...logs onto the Internet...and, in a matter of minutes, is exchanging pictures of naked women with youngsters all over North America." Although readers of Barry's past collections will often see the punchlines before they arrive, there is enough hilariously imaginative material hereparticularly a chart depicting emoticons, those annoying keyboard symbols that chat group users employ to suggest emotionto justify purchase in most public libraries.Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"
Read an Excerpt
Dave Barry in Cyberspace: A Word from Dave
You need to know right off the bat that I'm a total computer geek. I am pathetic. You've seen all those computer magazines with names like Data Dweeb and cover headlines like: Inside: Explicit Color Photographs of Big Hard Drives! and Wax Your Modem for Improved Speed!
No doubt you've asked yourself, "What kind of no-life loser actually reads these magazines?" I do! All the time! I read them in bed! I look at the pictures of new computer systems and become moderately aroused and say things like, "Whoa! Check out the 6X SCSI-2 CD-ROM drive on THAT baby!"
I could go on and on, listing the ways in which computers enrich our everyday lives. But I've made my point, which is that we live in the Computer Age, and you need to get with the program. You are standing in the airport terminal of life, and the jet plane of the 21st Century is about to take off. You must make a choice: Do you remain in the terminal, eating the stale vending-machine food of outmoded thinking? Or do you get on the plane and soar into the stratosphere of computerization, swept along by the jet stream of evolving technology, enjoying the in-flight snack of virtually unlimited information access, secure in the knowledge that if you encounter the turbulence of rapid change, you are holding, in this book, the barf bag of expert guidance.
That is the vision of tomorrow that I am offering you. Come, take my hand, and together let us explore this amazing new cyber-world. If you don't know anything about computers, have no fear: I'm not going to bombard you with a bunch of technical gobbledygook. I'm going topresent you with simple, practical, well-organized, easy-to-understand information, a lot of which I will make up as I go along. So let me just take a moment now to run this chapter through my computer's spell-checker, and then you and I can begin our fascinating journey into a brighter, better, and--above all--more productive future.