Secret disks

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:

File name

24 !Read me

24 Brochure

24 Cover

24 Chapter

24 Opening comments

24 Buyer’s guide

24 Chips

24 Disks

24 Screens

24 Printers

24 Other hardware

24 Software

24 IBM-compatibles

24 Apple

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 Communication

24 Internet

24 Fax

24 Local-area networks

24 Spreadsheets

24 Excel

24 1-2-3 & Quattro

24 Databases

24 Q&A File

24 Advanced databases

24 Tricky applications

24 Graphics

24 Desktop publishing

24 Multimedia

24 Accounting

24 Personal programs

24 Games

24 Artificial intelligence

24 Programming

24 Fun

24 Using variables

24 Helpful hints

24 Pretty output

24 Fancy calculations

24 Sub stuff

24 Style

24 Weird features

24 Versions of BASIC



24 C




24 Strange tongues

24 Assembler

24 Endnotes

24 Repairs

24 Our past

24 Your future

24 Numerical analysis

24 Index

24 Coupons

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 are blind and want a computer’s speech synthesizer to read the book out loud

experts who travel and want to put our words on the computer’s hard disk instead of toting the 2½-pound book

experts who write 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.

Format The 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 filenames If 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 access The 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.

Cost Like 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 disks Like 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 help For free help, phone me anytime at 617-666-2666. At your service, Russ Walter