Top critical review
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A good history lesson (for North Americans)
on 24 October 2002
Want to know what computer you should have bought in the eighties? Then buy this book.
Apparently, if you need to do complex calculations with numbers you should be looking at a computer with 64K! (Although 24K is adequate for games!).
Other such gems go on about the recent replacement to disc-film cameras and the talk of camcorders with revolutionary mini TV screens in the viewfinder.
The sections of the book that can not be dated, like how to force a cat to take a worming pill might be useful to some people, but you would always be wondering "maybe someone thought of a better way of doing that by now" or "isn't doing that to a cat illegal these days?"
This book is very American, and many sections just aren't relevant to an English audience. If I ever find myself in a situation where I am about to buy a condo I'll need this book! And exactly how many peanuts do I need to make peanut butter? The book says two cups - is that a tea cup or an egg cup? Unfortunately I haven't found the section on converting American weights and measures to metric!
Some sections appear to have been written by people who obviously knew little about their subject matter. Poking two wires with a bulb on the end into a potentially live electricity socket may have been an acceptable method of checking you took the right fuse out in eighties USA but I somehow doubt it. What's the point in switching off the mains so that you can work safely if you are going to shove a roughly crafted mains tester in just to double check? You might as well test it with your tongue.
If the book wasn't so amusing to read I would have sent it straight back. Somehow though, I don't think comedy was on the minds of the numerous "authors" that wrote this stocking filler. Nor, obviously, was any intention of updating it.
Bottom line - if you need something to fill the magazine rack in the toilet buy this book. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother!