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At least in the United States, the demographics of people who are just beginning to use the Internet have changed. The bulk of the new users are now either the very young, or older people who are more technically uncertain. As is generally the case with the youthful brain, the young people need a minimum of direction, most of which must be focused towards keeping them away from the bad stuff. However, the older people need assistance in the very basics, which is where books like this are invaluable.
In teaching a couple of sections of community education Internet classes for elders, two things became very clear. The people in the class really want to learn how to use the Internet and they are capable, but must be treated with more sensitivity than others. Ironically, the hardest problem is convincing them that the old adage about teaching old dogs new tricks does not apply to the Internet. With the proper approach, they can learn how to use it to solve their problems.
This book takes just the right approach in teaching people like them how to use the Internet. Using soft spoken tones and with just the right amount of humor without descending into cuteness, this book provides the helping hand that is needed to get beginners up and enjoying the fruits of the web. Many of the latest controversies are also dealt with, such as the flaps over Napster and the Instant Message (IM) wars. I often field questions about such topics when I teach beginners how to use the net. Most are regular followers of the news and take an interest in what is happening in the world.
The growth in the number of Internet users in North America is slowing down and the background of new users has changed to include more adults who are not computer literate. This creates a different market for beginning books and this one hits that market dead center. With the right approach and covering all the basics, this book will help insure that the Internet continues to expand and serve a broader based constituency.
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