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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More like a dictionary of common digital terms, but a good introduction for non-techies, 26 Feb 2012
By 
Mark Pack (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 50 Digital Ideas: You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know series) (Hardcover)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well presented, very accessible, 4 Mar 2013
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This review is from: 50 Digital Ideas: You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know series) (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 25 Feb 2013
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This review is from: 50 Digital Ideas: You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know series) (Hardcover)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars 50 Digital Ideas that can help us in the real world., 30 Mar 2014
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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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