Adam: You know, Bill, we should mention that Internet Explorer Kit for Macintosh (Hayden Books, ISBN# 1-56830-089-1) is now out and probably even in bookstores.
Bill: That was less than subtle, Adam. I think TidBITS readers are too clever for that. They’ll realize just what we’re doing.
Adam: Sigh, I think we used to be better at disguising the blatant plug.
Bill: Such is life. Why don’t you tell the nice readers what the book is about, then?
Adam: OK. When Bill and I thought about writing a book, we realized that what the world needs (and what we wanted to write) was a book that answered the burning question, "So what do you do on the Internet, anyway?"
Bill: And we wanted pretty much everybody to be able to understand the answer. I’ve always had trouble explaining it to people like my grandparents, for instance, so we had them in mind while writing it. This is not a technical book – it’s a book for people who are interested in the Internet.
Adam: Needless to say, we both spend a lot of time on the nets, but we don’t think about it – the Internet is just a different environment to us, much like your house and office are different environments. You do different things in each, and you probably even act differently.
Bill: You’d never see me throttling myself with a tie at home, for instance.
Adam: Especially with that nasty Jurassic Park tie.
Bill: I happen to like that tie. As ties go.
Adam: I’m sure you do.
Bill: Anyway, the big problem with telling people what you can do on the Internet is that it’s impossible to guess what they might want to do.
Adam: So we decided to concentrate on what we do, but rather than just tell you about it in the book, we actually did much of it and showed you what was happening. Before we wrote about Internet Relay Chat and MUDs, we logged on and talked to people in some different IRC channels and on FurryMUCK, a popular social MUD. And then, rather than write about what we did there, we heavily edited the logs of our sessions and included them so you can really see what went on. We even interviewed a number of Internet celebrities, ranging from Adam Curry of MTV and John Norstad of Disinfectant and NewsWatcher fame to the inimitable Emily Postnews and the White House (through their autoResponder).
Bill: Unfortunately, Hayden wouldn’t let us call it "Bill and Adam Do the Internet." But they did let us write it entirely in dialog, just like this.
Adam: And they let us include Slugs!, a cartoon drawn by our friend Dominic White <[email protected]>. Dominic put one cartoon up on a local Gopher server – more should follow in future weeks.
Bill: Just so we’re up front about this – Internet Explorer Kit is not a technical book.
Adam: Bill, you said that already. They can read.
Bill: Sorry – I just wanted to emphasize it. We don’t tell you how to do much of anything in Internet Explorer Kit – that’s not the point of this book. The point is to sit down in a comfortable chair and enjoy the book while getting a feel for what life is like on the Internet.
Adam: But for those of you who do like the gritty details, look at the screenshots and you’ll find a remarkable number of pointers to interesting FTP sites, Gopher servers, and Web sites. We also included a disk (hermetically affixed to the back cover with a child-resistant seal – I used a large knife on my copy) with some of our favorite MacTCP-based Internet tools, Anarchie, Finger, TurboGopher, MacWAIS, and the clever MacWeather.
Bill: I should also mention the folder labeled "Don’t Read These Files! ;-)"
Adam: Why? They’re not supposed to read the files in there, no matter how funny they may be.
Bill. Oh, that’s true. Forget I mentioned it, people.
Adam: Enough of this – I think they get the idea. If you’d like order a copy of Internet Explorer Kit via email or phone with a 20 percent discount off the $29.95 list price (magic code: IEK), send email to <[email protected]> for ordering instructions. If you think we’re raving lunatics and want nothing to do with us, that’s fine too, we won’t waste any more of your time.
Bill: Oh, and shouldn’t you tell them your little secret?
Adam: Do I have to?
Adam: OK, also out is Internet Starter Kit for Windows (Hayden Books, ISBN# 1-56830-094-8), which is very similar to my Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh, except that some friends of mine translated it for Windows. So if you’re non-denominational in your Internet access habits, I hope you’ll find the book helpful. It comes with software too, a fully-functional but stripped-down version of the $400 Chameleon, Eudora 1.4, WinVN, and WinSock Gopher. You can also get 20 percent off the $29.95 price of this book by ordering directly (magic code ISKW) – send email to <[email protected]> for information.
Hayden Books — 800/428-5331 — 317/581-3535