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The elements of computing style : 200+ tips for busy knowledge workers
Spinellis D., CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, SC, 2014. 166 pp.  Type: Book (978-1-500972-09-7)
Date Reviewed: Apr 7 2015

This is an interesting book. A cursory examination suggests it is for novice computer users, but a closer look reveals otherwise.

The author took the time to note, catalog, and organize over 200 tips for people who work with computers. In some respects, the book resembles a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document. Such a comparison is misleading. The book is much better organized and allows the reader to search for a tip quickly.

This book has 19 chapters. Each chapter has a common theme and is typically broken down into topics. The chapters cover topics like work habits, searching the web, web tips and tricks, handling email, security, privacy, and system administration. Someone can easily read the book in two hours, but reading the book in two hours can be misleading. This is a reference book and the tips that may not seem relevant today may be quite relevant at a later time.

For example, the chapter on work habits can be used as a sanity check on some procedures that you might follow. In my case, it confirmed that my reliance on printing out a document so it can be proofread later is a good procedure to follow. It is a good way to find errors that you might otherwise miss.

Such a short book cannot be completely comprehensive. For example, the book has two chapters that cover email communication and etiquette, but there is no comparable chapter that covers face-to-face interaction. More formalized face-to-face interactions (for example, meetings) are not covered either.

Overall, this is the kind of book that you would be reluctant to loan to another person.

In writing this review, I used the following tips: leave work unfinished (Tip 2.2, page 8); keep multiple work queues (Tip 2.3, page 8)--I read this book while commuting and wrote the review when I had some uninterrupted time; I did not wait until the last minute (Tip 2.5, page 12); I used version control (Tip 2.8, page 14) and Save As (Tip 2.9, page 15) to store my review changes; I spell checked (Tip 2.11, page 17) and made my corrections on paper (Tip 2.12, page 18); and finally, my initial review was written on a laptop with an inexpensive docking station (Tip 18.2, page 139).

More reviews about this item: Amazon

Reviewer:  W. E. Mihalo Review #: CR143311 (1507-0577)
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