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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 February 2012
The title of Tom Chatfield's book is really rather a misnomer as this is not so much a book about important ideas as a dictionary defining 50 digital terms you're likely to have heard of but may not know that much about.

One of the "ideas" for example is email. The mini-history of email is interesting and well-written, but it's not the sort of grand idea the book title might make you expect.

By presenting a potted history of how email (and the other 49 subjects) evolved, the book provides detail which all but the most knowledgeable reader will find new and interesting.

I suspect the book will appeal most to those who regularly use the internet but do not know much about the technology. What is a "server" which you sometimes see an error about not responding? Why is Babel Fish the name of a translation service? Isn't free software just stuff you don't pay for? These are the sorts of questions to which the book provides the reader with answers.

If those are questions you already know all about, the chances are the book will feel like a lot of reading for not much new knowledge. But if those questions are of interest and make you wonder about things you've heard of, yet not really thought about, then the book is for you.
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on 30 March 2014
What does digital age have in common with tomatoes? Well, the pomodoro (Italian for tomato) technique sets a particular time frame for a problem, after which we evaluate whether it is worth giving it another go. I think this is how we should approach this book. If you are a digital dummy, I recommend you to read it all and ask your kids if you don’t understand. Tom Chatfield (the author) uses stories from the computing history, quotations of internet icons (if you don’t know Steve Jobs you should really read this book) and comprehensive language to show how the virtual world works.
If your are proficient with the latest gadgets, this book might, nevertheless, open up new chapters on your kindle. It is up to you whether you reset the timer – in the shape of a ‘pomodoro’ and go more into detail with the ideas that are of your personal interests. Many of them can facilitate our everyday lives, cloud computing, e-books, wireless, mashups, social networks; or they can help our business – online advertising, sharing, free software movement, and social networks.
The ideas are separated into seven sections. Fundamentals – what was www?, Towards the digital present – which formats are compatible with most of the computers? The Dark Side - Which applications are dangerous to our privacy? Pleasure and leisure – how to make an original piece of online art? Business and government – how to make money from advertising? Transformative trends - Which pictures you can embed in your blog freely? Shaping a digital future – would you go in person or sent your avatar?
In 50 digital ideas you really need to know you find all the basic information that you need to know in the modern world. They provide you with sophomore background when you want to study any of them more in detail – which I recommend, because as outlined in the last chapter, there is a constant update of information.
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on 4 March 2013
An up-to-date, easily-digested bite-sized approach to ICT. If you can't follow a topic after reading one of the 4-page articles, drop it and try something else. A brilliant approach for a wide range of readers. Highly commended.
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on 25 February 2013
Pretty informative reference book, but not very in-depth. Almost a "for-dummies" or teenage book. Questionable typographic decisions by the designers...
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on 16 March 2015
Very useful both as a read and and as a reference book.Does not give much help in using them but doesw at least enable you to have some idea about what is being referred to. Recommended for non-techies like me
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on 25 August 2014
The title of this book is totally misleading. This book tells you nothing about digital technology ideas. The title of this book should rather be something like "50 Internet and Online Ideas You Really Need To Know". The author is clearly misunderstanding the concept and origin of the word "digital". All I read in this book is how great it is to spend 12 hours a day playing stupid online games or waste your life posting nonsense on Facebook. Every idiot these days has a Facebook account. So what? I don't and I am proud of it. If you really want to know something useful about digital technology, computing and its core principles, read any technical literature on the subject, and stay away from the proponents of "social networking" which has nothing to do with digital technology in the first place.
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on 5 May 2015
Fabulous
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