After a few months of my work, and another month of work by Hayden Books, the third edition of my book, Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh, is available (ISBN 1-56830-197-9). Bookstores may still have the second edition on their shelves, but they can order the third edition for you. I recommend you get the third edition, unless you’re only buying the book to pick up a copy of MacTCP, at which point the cheapest method is to find a remaindered version of the first edition, which has sold for as low as $2.19.
On the whole, the basic book is similar to the second edition. It still contains plenty of background information on what the Internet is, where it came from, how the various services work and how you might use them, and that sort of thing. I still cover the main commercial services in terms of Internet access, and still concentrate on the MacTCP-based methods of getting on the Internet. My chapters on MacTCP still have more information than any other source I’ve seen, and my troubleshooting chapter still contains tons of good tips (although it’s grown longer to accommodate everything I’ve learned since last year). The disk still contains MacTCP and MacPPP and the main applications you need to get started on the Internet.
So, what’s changed? I’ve added two new chapters, one on choosing an Internet connection, which compares the different methods of connecting to the Internet and explains the many variables involved in choosing an Internet provider. Tonya actually wrote the second new chapter, which covers how to create your own home page on the Web using Macintosh tools. It’s not a boring reference or a mind-numbing tutorial, but is a nice mix of the two that I think people new to the Web and HTML will like. Tonya is also basing a Mac-oriented book called Create Your Own Home Page on that chapter; her book is essentially done and should be out in a few months.
Aside from those two new chapters, I reduced the size of the book significantly, roughly from 1,000 pages to 750. Frankly, the book was just too big (everyone was surprised when the second edition came out that large) and with skyrocketing paper costs, the page count had to come down. To that end, I cut the newsgroup and resource lists in the appendix, created a concise capsule review format for less-used programs that weren’t quite worthy of a full discussion, and – horrors! – chopped out information that just didn’t belong any more. The entire discussion of how to use Unix is gone (let’s face it, this is a Mac book, and I’m no Unix guru), and I removed, under a certain amount of duress from my editor, the entire UUCP chapter as well. I still feel that the UUCP information is useful, though, so I’ll make it available to readers who want it electronically (see below for one method).
The contents of the disk stayed pretty much the same, although I removed MacWAIS and TurboGopher and added StuffIt Expander and Internet Config. The full list, then is, MacTCP 2.0.6, MacPPP 2.0.1, Internet Config 1.1, InterSLIP 1.0.1, Anarchie 1.5, Eudora 1.5.1, MacWeb 1.00A3.2, and StuffIt Expander 3.5.2. I know Anarchie and Eudora have been revved since I finalized the disk, but I still have a folder of bookmarks that always point at the latest versions of the essential Internet programs. MacWeb now points at a page that provides links to what I feel are the most important sites on the Web for a Macintosh user, including things like Yahoo, WebCrawler, Apple, and Info-Mac mirrors. The software updates page and modem strings page are still available from the home page as well, and anyone is welcome to visit it.
Oh, and one last thing. At the last moment, Hayden decided to increase the price to $35 from $30 to account for the paper costs. Sorry about that. My editor relayed a telling quote from his previous job at General Motors, "Sure, we lose money on each car, but we make up for it in volume."
Should you buy this version if you’ve got an earlier one? That’s up to you, but I can help you decide. You can now read the entire book, screenshots and all, on the Web. It’s got even more information than the paper version, since the UUCP chapter made it back in. Bill Dickson, my co-author on Internet Explorer Kit for Macintosh, and his friend Rob Furr converted the files that went to production into HTML (it was a little more complicated than that, but suffice it to say that Nisus Writer did the majority of the text munging, and they manipulated all the graphics in Photoshop). They did use some Netscape-specific tags, so it looks best in Netscape, but should work fine in MacWeb or Mosaic. If you use Netscape, use the first URL below. With anything else, jump directly to the second one.
I hope you find the online version useful, with all its hot URLs and email addresses and newsgroup names. I suspect most people will find that the online version is a useful adjunct to the paper version, since you can’t very well read about troubleshooting online if you’re having trouble, but typing in URLs when following along with Tonya’s HTML instructions is going to be a real pain.
In the past, Hayden offered a discount to people who purchased the book via email. They’re no longer doing that, but if you purchase the book via the Web, they’ll ship in the United States via FedEx for free, which is worth a good bit considering the weight of the book.
Shipping costs for international customers are unfortunately relatively high, as is common, so you might wish to look at the list of technical bookstores on the Internet and compare shipping costs.
Of course, you can also purchase the book through normal bookstores and other channels, like the telephone, if you prefer those methods. Or, you can just read it online for free. Your choice, and no matter how you read the book, I hope you enjoy it.
Oh, and for those Mac users who need to use the Internet via a Windows machine, the entire second edition of Internet Starter Kit for Windows will also be available online soon (if it isn’t already). Check the Hayden home page for a link there when it happens.
Macmillan Computer Publishing — 800/428-5331 — 317/361-5400
317/364-7190 (fax) — <[email protected]>