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Book Look: 'Is This Thing On?' takes technophobes by the hand

"Is This Thing On?" by Abby Stokes is a guide to the basics of using a computer for people who have never worked with computers before. Credit: Workman Publishing

NAME "Is This Thing On?" by Abby Stokes (Workman, 488 pp., $17.95)

WHAT Revised and updated edition of the book whose subtitle says it all: "A friendly guide to everything digital for newbies, technophobes, and the kicking and screaming."

WHAT'S HOT If you define yourself as a Luddite, but find you have a need or desire to move into the digital age, this book will help get you there. What you won't get: technical jargon that you won't understand or the assumption that you have ever touched a computer before. To wit, you'll even find directions on how to position your hand on a mouse. For "unavoidable" technical terms, such as USB, phishing and gigabyte, there is a glossary in case you forget what these things are after you've read about them. The book covers the basics, from what to look for when buying a computer, laptop, tablet or cellphone, and the differences between Windows and Macintosh, to more advanced subjects such as attaching a photo to an email; copying and pasting, and creating file folders. Chapters also cover Facebook, Twitter, blogs -- even online dating -- as well as streaming sites (such as Netflix) and wearable technology. An added perk to the book is Stokes' website, (you don't need to buy the book to use it), which, among other things, features video tutorials with links to printable instructions of the videos' contents. The book is also available for Kindle and other e-book readers, though if you can use those devices, your knowledge base may be beyond the book's scope.

WHAT'S NOT If you already know your way around a computer -- even a little -- this book may be too basic for you.

BOTTOM LINE A lot of information at a nominal price.

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