Reviews

September 11, 1998

WIRED UP: Young People and the Electronic Media Edited by Sue Howard, published by UCL Press, pp. 194, Pounds 13.95 ISBN 1 85728 805 X,

This book is less wired than the title sounds: most of its focus is on television, with some computer games thrown in. The closest the book gets to being wired is the telephone. For the moment, however, these are the media that have most impact on most kids. This is certainly true of the Australian and New Zealand kids whose experiences are documented in these studies: the kids are sophisticated in their understanding of the differences between media and reality, learn literacy from their interest in computer games, and use the telephone as a logical extension of adult-free zones.

Managing Your Software Project: a Student's Guide by Ian W. Ricketts, published by Springer Verlag, Pounds 9.95, pp. 117, ISBN 3 540 76046 6

Undergraduate and graduate students face the same problem that Microsoft does when trying to develop a piece of software: how to manage the project so the software arrives on time and is thoroughly documented. The problem is that students frequently have no experience of project management. This book, with chapters on planning, organising, research and writing reports, aims to fill the gap. Don't trust Ricketts on Internet research, however: he even gets Altavista's Web address wrong.

A Network Orange: Logic and Responsibility in the Computer Age by Richard Crandall and Marvin Levich, published by Copernicus (Springer Verlag), pp.146, Pounds 19.00, ISBN 0 387 94647 0.

Somewhere in the middle of the cycle of hype and anti-hype is a small but growing band of books that try to critique technology without despising it. A collaboration between an Apple scientist and a Reed College philosopher, this book examines questions of machine versus human consciousness, the limits of technology, education, multimedia, virtual reality, and future technologies such as nanotechnology. The "network orange" is a reference to the richly-connected information network, as different from biological vascular networks as apples are from oranges.

DSM-IV Internet Companion by M. Robert Morrison and Robert F. Stamps, published by Norton, $30.00, pp. 223, ISBN 0 393 70267 7

A complete guide to more than 1,500 Web sites specialising in areas of mental illness from Alzheimer's to stuttering, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to sleep disorders. The big problem is the lack of an index, so that unless you understand how DSM-IV (the bible of mental health professionals) is keyed, you will have difficulty finding anything. Most people would do better learning techniques to use the main Web search engines more effectively.

Wendy Grossman

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