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        Review: How to Buy a Computer (Australian) by John Pospisil
                            By:  Jason Compton 
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Published in May of this year, the book How To Buy a Computer was written
by John Pospisil, Amiga enthusiast.  John and I have been in touch for over
a year now, talking about the Amiga and its role in the Australian
marketplace.  That role can be seen, somewhat, through his book, published
by the Australian Consumers' Association, roughly analagous to the
organization behind the American Consumer Reports magazine.

John's book is for regular people who think they might want to buy a
computer.  The book is cleanly laid out into sections, which take you
through the questions "Do I really need and want a computer?", "What IS a
computer, anyway?", "What can I do with a computer?" and then gets into
Internet discussions and learning how to use a computer.  Finally, it gets
down to "Which computer should I buy?"

John had to fight to get what Amiga references he did into the book.  I
will say this for him: he, along with Storm Front Studios (former
publishers of Australia's last Amiga publication) got a lot of Amiga
screenshots into the book.  The problem is that John rarely gets them
credited to the Amiga, so they're just faceless screenshots of Term and
Imagine et al--enough so that WE realize what they are, but not enough so
that the unsuspecting reader actually gets the message.

When it boils down to the "what to buy" section, the Amiga is left out of
the hard-core comparison between the PC and Mac.  We get two pages,
complete with a mini-history lesson on the Amiga, overview of the OS and
Amiga advantages, and mini-reviews on the A1200 and A4000T.  The verdict on
the 1200 is that it's a good home machine, and the 4000T is blasted for its
price.  Its future prospects are given as nebulous...which I suppose means
John knows about as much as the rest of us. :)

While the book will be of little interest to Amiga users--even if you're
considering switching platforms, John's book is aimed at the first-time
buyer so you'll have the answers to most of his questions already, if not
all of them--it's good to see the Amiga get some mainstream recognition.
If I was the editor, I would of course have put a whole lot more Amiga
information in there.  On the other hand, the number of writers and editors
that wouldn't have seen clear to giving the Amiga as much exposure as this
book does is far greater, so I can't complain.  From a totally objective
standpoint, I think John did a competent job of really explaining the basic
differences between the platforms and allowing people to make their own
decisions--there is no "Windows 95 is the wave of the future, catch it now
or drown" rhetoric that's become so popular over the past year.

How To Buy a Computer is published by Choice Books
57 Carrington Rd.
Marrickville 2204
Australia
ISBN 0 947277 26 9