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NONFICTION : THE COMPUTER PHONE BOOK GUIDE TO USING ONLINE SYSTEMS by Mike Cane (Plume/New American Library: $14.95; paperback). : THE COMPUTER PHONE BOOK DIRECTORY OF ONLINE SYSTEMS by Mike Cane (Plume/New American Library: $18.95; paperback).

August 17, 1986|Richard O'Reilly

Using a personal computer to access an electronic data base or a hobbyist's dial-up bulletin board service can be an intimidating experience.

Strange jargon confronts you; the right codes and symbols and abbreviations must be used or you fail, and, because the commercial services charge according to how long you are signed on, there is a very real and potentially expensive penalty for your lack of experience.

This two-volume second edition of The Computer Phone Book, first published in 1983, takes away much of the mystery.

The Guide explains how to use a dozen nationally available electronic data bases such as CompuServe, The Source, and Dow Jones News/Retrieval Service, plus the most popular types of local bulletin board systems you're likely to encounter. This is the volume to start with if you're a beginner. The Directory, Volume 2, tells you what you'll find and how to find it on 30 nationally available (usually with a local call) commercial electronic data base systems and more than 600 local, and mostly free, bulletin board systems.

You'll spend a lot more than the price of the book in long distance calls if you try to explore these bulletin boards, so you'll probably save money by doing some reading first.

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