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Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary, 4th Edition

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A comprehensive dictionary for people who work with microcomputers but aren't computer professionals. Some 5,000 entries define both basic and more advanced terms, and include phonetic pronunciations where appropriate. Some definitions are accompanied by drawings, diagrams, or other graphics. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Computers--and the community of people that surrounds them--do an excellent job of generating jargon. They've created a world of RJ-11 jacks, Lempel Ziv compression, TACACS protocols, and data forks. Microsoft Computer Dictionary, Fourth Edition, explains all these terms and thousands more. It's a sort of miniencyclopedia of computing topics.

The dictionary focuses on providing beginning and intermediate computer users with a solid grounding in terms, technologies, and concepts related to productivity software, databases, and networks. Communications technologies--such as those related to mobile phones--get attention too. This latest edition of the dictionary includes a selection of terms related to the Year 2000 bug, though these terms are inexplicably isolated in a special appendix.

The Microsoft Computer Dictionary generally treats non-Microsoft technologies evenhandedly--the entries related to Sun Microsystems' Java language might even be construed as boosterish. However, a Microsoft slant sometimes appears, as in the coverage of palm-size PCs. There's no mention of 3Com's topselling Palm computers or its operating systems, though Windows CE is mentioned.

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