To write and edit the 24th edition of The Secret Guide to Computers, we used Microsoft Word 7 (which runs under Windows 95). We created these 68 files:
24 !Read me
24 Opening comments
24 Buyer’s guide
24 Other hardware
24 Alternative computers
24 Operating systems
24 Windows 95
24 Windows 3.1 & 3.11
24 Mac system
24 Word processing
24 Microsoft Word
24 Ami Pro
24 Q&A Write
24 Word Perfect
24 Local-area networks
24 1-2-3 & Quattro
24 Q&A File
24 Advanced databases
24 Tricky applications
24 Desktop publishing
24 Personal programs
24 Artificial intelligence
24 Using variables
24 Helpful hints
24 Pretty output
24 Fancy calculations
24 Sub stuff
24 Weird features
24 Versions of BASIC
24 Strange tongues
24 Our past
24 Your future
24 Numerical analysis
We’re willing to copy those 68 files onto floppy disks and ship them to you.
That list shows the files in the order you would read them.
The first file (called "24 !Read me") contains the one-page memo you’re reading now.
The next file (called "24 Brochure") contains the brochure advertising the book.
The next file (called "24 Cover") contains the book’s cover (the front cover, back cover, and spine).
The next file (called "24 Chapter") is a blank template on which all the chapters are based.
The remaining 64 files are the book’s 64 chapters.
Actually each filename ends in ".doc". For example, the first file is actually called "24 !Read me.doc". Windows 95 usually doesn’t show you the ".doc".
Are the disks useful?Although we make those disks available to you, the typical beginner won’t find the disks useful, because:
The disks do not contain headlines, graphics, and special symbols (which we created without a computer).
The disks do not contain the word processor, fonts, printer drivers, and macros needed to reproduce our book.
If you’re a beginner, don’t bother getting the disks: get just the book printed on paper.
If you already bought the disks and don’t find them useful, return them: swap them for a book printed on paper.To do that, erase any copies you made of the disk’s contents, mail the disks back to us (they fit in an ordinary business-letter-size envelope), and scribble this note: "I didn’t find the disks useful. Swap these disks for a book printed on paper."
The disks are useful to three kinds of computer experts:
experts who areblind and want a computer’s speech synthesizer to read the book out loud
experts whotravel and want to put our words on the computer’s hard disk instead of toting the 2½-pound book
experts whowrite about computers and want to insert passages from The Secret Guide to Computers into other books, manuals, handouts, Web sites, newsgroups, and bulletin boards; copying our writing is okay if you follow the "free reprint" method explained on page 9 of the book
To find a computer topic quickly, do NOT try searching through the 68 files.You’ll find info faster by using the index at the back of the printed book.
The printed book contains 10 typographical errors, which are corrected on disk.
FormatThe disks come in two versions. To order the disks, you must tell us which version you want: choose "Microsoft Word 7" or "ASCII".
The Microsoft Word 7 version is the best.That’s the version you should probably choose. That version will make the text look fairly readable on the screen if you own Microsoft Word 6, 7, or 97. If you own a different word-processing program instead, your word-processing program can probably convert from Microsoft Word 7.
The ASCII version is unpleasant to read, since it contains no info about how the words should be spaced and which fonts they should be printed in.
The ASCII version totally ignores (and contains no info about) centering, margins, tab stops, columns, indentations at the beginning of paragraphs, boldfacing, and italics. If you try reading the ASCII version, you’ll have a hard time reading words near the screen’s right edge: for example, a word such as "frog" might have the "fr" near the screen’s right edge and the "og" on the line below. You’ll also have a hard time figuring out where each paragraph begins: in ASCII, the paragraph’s first line is not indented and does not have any blank space above.
Get the ASCII version just if you’re deprived of owning a word-processing program that can convert from Microsoft Word.
We ship you the files on 3½-inch disks(1.44M, IBM format).
If you choose the "Microsoft Word 7" version, the files contain a total of 4½ megabytes and come on 4 disks.
If you choose the ASCII version, the files contain a total of 3 megabytes and come on 3 disks.
Altered filenamesIf you choose the ASCII version, each filename begins with "A24" instead of "24" and ends in ".txt" instead of ".doc".
If you’re not using Windows 95, each filename is abridged.
The abridged name of "24 !Read me.doc" is "24!REA~1.DOC"; its ASCII version is "A24!RE~1.TXT".
The abridged name of "24 Brochure.doc" is "24BROC~1.DOC"; its ASCII version is "A24BRO~1.TXT".
How to accessThe files are in alphabetical order. To use them, copy them all to your hard disk.
In my computer, I’ve put all 68 files into the "My Documents" folder, because that’s the folder where Microsoft Word 7 expects to find all documents. In your computer, put the 68 files into any folder (subdirectory) you wish. Since all those files have a name beginning with "24", they’re easy to distinguish from other files.
CostLike the book, the set of disks costs $15. You get a 20% discount for ordering 2 sets of disks, 40% for ordering 4 sets, 60% for ordering 60 sets, and 67% for ordering 666 sets.
You can combine disk orders with book orders. For example, if you order 1 book plus 1 set of disks, we'll give you a 20% discount on the whole order (since you ordered 2).
Copying the disksLike the book, the disks are copyrighted by Russ Walter. To copy the disks for your friends, just follow the rules explained in the "free reprints" section of page 9 of the printed book. Notice that one rule requires you to phone Russ first at 617-666-2666. Then make as many copies as you wish, give or sell the copies to anyone, and don’t pay us a cent!
Free helpFor free help, phone me anytime at 617-666-2666. At your service, Russ Walter