Logging Off recently flipped through some of the tech-related books that have crossed its desk in the last few weeks. Here’s our take on some of the more quirky geek literature out there available for your perusal.
What the heck is e-mail?
Does getting something called “e-mail” in a mysterious place called your “inbox” give you the jitters? Do intrusive “new message” pop-up screens make you cry?
No need to sweat anymore before hitting Send – Christina Cavanagh, management communications instructor at the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business, has published a book for the e-mail ignorant, entitled Managing your e-mail: Thinking outside the inbox.
The first chapter, “E-mail’s quirks and wonders,” rends the veil of secrecy around how e-mail “makes us work differently.” In Chapter 3, “Using e-mail judiciously,” readers are comforted with the conclusion that it’s still o.k. to pick up the phone. What a relief!
Even more comprehensive is Chapter 4, “The inbox.” Don’t go there unless you’re truly prepared to learn how to “manage your inbox like a pro.” We’re serious.
If you’re really worried about e-mail missteps, avoid reading the book until you check out Cavanagh’s Web site; click on the Managing your E-mail button and scroll down the page till you get to the section “How to Read Managing Your E-Mail.” Read thoroughly. If you can’t figure out how to do that, you’re completely hopeless.
Turning the other cheek to spam
A cartoon character whose mission is to be victorious over computer problems comes to life in Are we allowed to spam them back?
This illustrated book features Computious – a young female character authors Marie Meade and Joseph Vranich have dubbed “the impish sage of the computer age.” Computious is not to be confused with the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 B.C.), even though the authors said the girl and the sage have much in common: neither of them would ever strike at the high-tech world in a mean-spirited way by becoming a hacker or spammer, despite computer frustrations.
Computious shares astute observations on computer design, Internet romance, online shopping, and other digital-era phenomena with her human and animal friends. The authors said the book is intended for people who are annoyed by junk e-mail, displeased by computer crashes, or who enjoy poking fun at the online world.
Rebooting your sense of humour
Even the geekiest geeks get frazzled by technology now and then or, even worse, discover that their cynicism is starting to wane.
For these folks and others who faces a computer on a regular basis (or knows someone who does), The Best of the Joy of Tech by Nitrozac and Snaggy, creators of GeekCulture.com, a high-tech humor website and online community for geeks and geek wannabes, offers a fresh and funny look at the geek world and a chance to restore their sense of humour along the way.
The book’s comics make fun of the latest cultural and technological trends, including those mired deep within the recesses of the IT world. From geeks to corporate giants to the funny world of Macintosh culture, nothing is sacred – the book’s comics include a cast of characters ranging from Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to aliens, curvaceous female geeks, and a strange guy in a black suit.
The book also features an introduction and a foreword penned by Mac-centric tech columnist David Pogue and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, respectively.