One nice thing about this book is that it’s large and yellow. Not only do you know you’re getting your money’s worth, but you’ll easily be able to find it among the clutter on your desk (if your desk is anything like mine).
Christina Tynan-Wood is a technical how-to writer who has a blog –
www.geekgirlfriends.com. She has won awards and had articles published in major mags. In this book, she attempts to cover a very (pardon the pun) broad field – computer technology for women – for you even if you’re not female, or for the woman in your life. Don’t worry – if you give it to your non-geeky girlfriend, she may not thank you immediately, but eventually she'll show you that she appreciates the thought as well as the present. It’s very girl-friendly without being at all matronizing in its viewpoint. No one who reads it will feel talked down to, no matter how
au fait she may feel with the subject matter. And the man in your life (who may be you) will sneak a peek and find out a thing or two. You don’t have to admit it, though.
One of the clear-out-the-mental-clutter features that I like (or you could call it a “cut the crap” feature) is a little sidebar “column” in which hypothetically confused chicks write to the Geek Goddess about their worst fears: what can I do about my teen who gets hate mail from a schoolmate on the Internet? What’s the deal with the static on my online phone connection? How do I keep from getting carried away bidding on eBay? And where can I find those risqué emoticons?
On almost every page there is a page - that is, a b&w reproduction of a computer screen from Vista or Windows XP showing you how to set up a list, connect your wi-fi, or just get started with your new homepage. Being a book for women, and subtitled “Practical Advice for Using a Computer with Smarts and Style,” the text not only walks you through the basics but delves into realms of sophisticated knowledge such as how to recognize a bargain when shopping the web and how to block your kid from accessing porn sites. There are warnings about phishing and adware, and how to recognize both. There is a lot of helpful information about picking an online phone service – and even tips on looking for a potential mate using the Internet.
You will learn how to play with Picasa (for photos), Sim City (interactive games), and even how to find adult female-friendly porn (Sugar DVD). The one thing I found missing from the book was Paypal – it’s nearly indispensible for online shopping and I have found it also a crucial part of my own online business, so the oversight struck me as surprising. Apart from that one deficit, the book is a good reference and a great gift for your less geekily gifted sisters, moms, and even Granny.