Andrews-Jean, Non-Fiction, Reference, technology, Text Book

#141 A+ Guide to Managing & Maintaining Your PC by Jean Andrews

Summary:

If you haven’t guessed already, my real job is not this website. My real job is working with computers and being an IT person. I am currently studying to get my A+ certification. No, it doesn’t mean I am a really good student; I don’t know why they called it that.

Anyways, this is actually the second time I have read this book. The first time I read it I was getting my IT degree and now I am reading it again. It’s not exactly riveting, but it is one of the better IT books I have ran across. The thing is, this book brand new is over seventy dollars. That is an insane price for a book. Ok, we all know that text-book companies and colleges have students by the…well, by the something, when it comes to text-book prices. I actually remember paying $150.00 for a text-book for one of my classes in my first degree. Oh, that was awful. It’s hard to watch that much of your money being put down on a single book. If you have to have this book for a class there is a solution.

See this book? Yes, I know it’s not called the same thing. Do you see the author’s name? Yes, that’s right these two books are written by the same person, Jean Andrews. You may be thinking, “So what?” Well, the ‘so what’ is that these two books aren’t actually different books. They’re the same thing! Guess what? This book, is WAY cheaper than the first book I showed you. Awesome right?

So if you must have the first book, you could probably get away with buying the much cheaper book. I kid you not, it has the same exact information. I have pictures to prove it.

Currently, I have in my possession both of these books. The first book is actually mine. I didn’t have to pay for it because the school I got my IT degree from has this awesome book grant for people associated with the military.

See this picture over to the left? That is a selection from the more expensive book. It’s in color and it has these nifty little tabs that tell you what information is going to be on what test. That is pretty good information.

Maybe you would think this book is actually worth seventy dollars. I mean, it does include a disc in the back. That disc, by the way, is Jean Andrews herself showing you how to install motherboards and RAM. She’s an interesting person. You don’t get many women in IT. I am not trying to be sexist, I am just stating the truth.

Now, I know I already told you these two books were exactly the same thing and that I had proof. Here’s my proof. This is a selection from the other book, the cheaper one. Are you having deja vu? You should be. It’s exactly the same thing.  It’s just in black and white.

So basically it costs over forty dollars more to put color in this book and slap a hard cover on it. Oh, yeah, and to also change the name of the book.

IT students everywhere..BUY THE CHEAPER BOOK!

Ok, enough of my comparison and semi-rant about text-book prices. Let’s actually get to the book review.

This is a huge book. Anything that is going to be on the A+ essentials exam and several other A+ exams is in this book. Jean Andrews is a little long-winded. She can keep going and going and going when it comes to writing about computers.

The chapters are broken down into logical segments. There are chapters about operating systems, chapters about peripheral devices and chapters about managing users on the PC. Jean Andrews does it all!

Both of these books come with a disc, brand new anyways. That disc is Jean Andrews showing you how to do various things with computers. No, unfortunately she doesn’t show you how to do hilarious pranks or hack other computers, she just shows you how to do various maintenance items. No matter what Jean Andrews is doing at the end of whatever it is she says, “And that’s how you__________.” Whatever she has done is inserted in the blank. She says it EVERY SINGLE TIME. I kind of think it’s funny. I can just imagine her providing other ‘how to’ videos. And that’s how you skin a squirrel. And that’s how you roast a turkey. And that’s how you become the dictator of a third world country. The list goes on.

It may label me as a super nerd to notice this at all, but whatever.

If you are taking a course I think this book is a very good resource.

What I liked: Even though I kind of denounced the price of my book earlier, I do like the colors. I think color in a textbook makes it easier to find what you are looking for. We don’t see in black and white after all. I also like the little tabs that tell you what will be where. That way you don’t have to read something that isn’t going to apply. Unfortunately, most of the book applies to the A+ exam.

I liked all the pictures and diagrams. They are very helpful.

What I didn’t like: Apparently, as an IT person, I am expected to know what every piece of technology for the past thirty years looks like. Well that is fine and dandy except there are not examples of all of those technologies in this book. If I have to recognize things by sight I better have some pictures to look at.

This book is huge. Gigantic. Colossal. I kind of wish I had like a cliffnotes version of it instead. I think that would make it easier to understand.

Overall, I like the book, but not enough to actually pay for it. If you have to choose one or the other, pick the cheaper one. You won’t regret having some extra money in your pocket. By the way, there was some company offering the first book for 15 dollars in the e-book format. I would seriously find that. Fifteen dollars is even cheaper than the twenty something Amazon charges for the A+ 2006 book.

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McKeen-James D., Non-Fiction, Reference, Smith-Heather A., technology, Text Book

# 33 IT Strategy in Action by James D. McKeen and Heather A. Smith

Summary:
This is, of course, a textbook. I wouldn’t read this if I didn’t have to. First of all I found it more on the business side rather than on the IT side. It wasn’t really about IT, it was about business with the word IT shoved in every so often.

The picture on the front has a racially diverse group apparently in a meeting. There is a gigantic phone, a calculator and a very old MAC lap top on the table. It’s an IT book, it’s probably been updated a couple of times since it was originally published, why does it have an outdated MAC book on front?

Anyways, this text was not conducive to actually being a classroom text. Meaning, the layout was terrible. There is no glossary, none at all. There aren’t any bold words to tell you if those words are important or not. That is usually how it works with textbooks. Bold words=important. After a lot of the chapters there were these little mini-cases that didn’t really serve any purpose. It’s a textbook that was trying to do more, but didn’t do more in the right way.

What I liked: Although, it had 19 chapters, it was rather short for a textbook. The chapters were short in length and the book was also short in height. Smaller pages and smaller chapters are always a good thing.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t a glossary. Come on, no glossary?! Who writes a textbook and leaves out the glossary? If there is some abbreviation used in the chapter than I forgot what it means or I don’t know what it means I want to be able to look in the glossary and find out what it is. Also, many words are not listed in the index. I am not talking about they left out the words ‘it’, ‘the,’ and ‘what’, but they left out words and concepts that were pretty important to the text. It was literally a coin toss about whether a certain word you would like to look up would be in the index. The design sucked. This textbook used exactly two colors of ink, black and blue. There weren’t any other colors to highlight anything or make charts, just black and blue. If there was a chart or a table, it was black, or blue. No attention calling colors. The worst textbooks are black and white, but the next worse textbooks are black, white, and one color only. No images either. The only image in the entire book is on the cover. So, yea. pretty boring.

Fuller-Mark A., George-Joey F., Non-Fiction, Reference, technology, Text Book, Valacich-Joseph S.

#6 Information Systems Project Management: A Process and Team Approach by Mark A. Fuller, Joseph S. Valacich, and Joey F. George

Summary:

This was a schoolbook. Yes, I read the entire 12 chapters of droning on about project management. I am currently completing an IT degree and this is my next to last class text.   I am still going to review it.

This book is 12 chapters all about managing projects. It mentions a lot of project proposal, cost benefits, work breakdown structure, and Microsoft Project.

I have to say, the book was actually informative, but at times could get very very repetitive. The authors could have shortened this text by quite a bit if the repetition of ideas was cut out.

I just don’t have much to say about this.

What I liked: It was informative. I needed to read it for my class. The book did not contain any grammar or spelling errors.

What I didn’t like: The text became very repetitive in parts. Microsoft Project was implemented and promoted in the text and I don’t like that. I don’t like the idea of authors forcing professors and students to use a certain software to complete a class. Thumbs down on that one.