From: "Rob Slade, Social Convener to the Net" 
Subject: "The Information Superhighway: Beyond the Internet" by Otte
Followup-To: alt.books.technical,misc.books.technical
Date: 28 Mar 1995 03:07:22 MET
Organization: University of Colorado at Boulder
Originator: brock@ucsub.Colorado.EDU

"The Information Superhighway: Beyond the Internet", Peter Otte, 1994, 1-56529-
825-X, U$19.99/C$26.99
%A   Peter Otte
%C   201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN   46290
%D   1994
%G   1-56529-825-X
%I   Que Corporation
%O   U$19.99/C$26.99 800-858-7674 317-581-3743
%P   241
%T   "The Information Superhighway: Beyond the Internet"
The "Information Superhighway" is a political and promotional catch phrase. The reality behind it is the National Information Infrastructure, the intent of which is to promote advantages to American business through advanced technology. A number of actions, promotions, bills, and proposals are said to be related to the NII; the most frequently cited is "The High-Performance Computing Act of 1991". (It is one of the ironies of this work that the author has chosen to make his home in Amsterdam.)

This book is an opinion piece, told by a professional "gee-whizzer", full of verbiage and vendor promotions, signifying nothing. The author introduces the book by suggesting that it is best read as nine magazine articles. It certainly doesn't have enough structure for a book: even the individual chapters are undisciplined and disorganized. In common with most of those who rhapsodize over the Information Superhighway, Otte has very little idea of what he wants it to be--just exciting, and high tech, seems to be enough.

For those who have any professional background in the broader field of information technology, there will be nothing of any interest here. Ah, but what of the poor "struggling masses"? There isn't much for them, here, either. Chapter four, on "Computing Tools", is an extremely simplistic introduction to PCs and peripherals. "Multimedia Online Services" is a flat-out advertisement for CompuServe, America OnLine and Prodigy. Errors abound, and it is *quite* clear that this author does *not* have a solid grasp of technology. The need for "repeaters" on long distance phone lines would be eliminated if they would just use EtherNet (maximum run length, five hundred metres). PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) are predicted to be shipping "in volume" by the time the book sees print. XCOPY is a backup program. Multimedia is hyped for eighteen pages--and then Mosaic is dismissed in half a paragraph, as a "front end" for the Internet, much like WinCIM for CompuServe. I could, very easily, go on.

No, I can't even recommend it for newbies. This presents a barely informed, distorted, and "blue sky" view of future technology.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1995   BKINFSUP.RVW   950224

Vancouver         | Slade's Law of Computer 
Institute for      |        Literacy:
Research into         |   - There is no such thing
User          |     as "computer illiteracy";
Security       Canada V7K 2G6           |     only illiteracy itself.

This page was last changed on Mar 30 1995, 14:34 by Comments and corrections welcome.