*Fully revised updated edition. first edition was strong seller – over 30,000 sold. *Ties into the booming A+ Certification market. A+ technicians specialize in PC hardware troubleshooting. *Follows success of Pocket Reference Series by Bigelow, which has sold over 70,000 copies. *Handy format – designed for technicians, in a convenient, portable, pocket-sized edition. *Leading author – Bigelow’s last three books have sold well over 250,000 copies.
I don’t know where the folks at Osborne buy their clothes, but on my planet a pocket is only slightly larger than a hand. I can put my wallet in my pocket. I can carry three or so Zip disks. But I’ve tried and tried, and I just can’t jam in all 600+ pages of Bigelow’s PC Technician’s Troubleshooting Pocket Reference into any pocket I have. The thing is an inch and a half thick–definitely not pocket-sized. It’s satchel-sized. It’s put-it-under-the-tire-to-keep-the-trailer-from-rolling-downhill-sized.
Form factors aside, Bigelow’s book lives up to its title; it’s all troubleshooting information. Wonderful! This book assuredly was not meant to be read front to back. It works like this: start with a problem, and then look up the solution. Bigelow divided the book into sections for various parts of the PC or devices that are connected to it. You look up the device, read about it, heed some general maintenance wisdom, and then peruse the various “symptoms” and cures. Very nice, and just about the best information on troubleshooting that I’ve seen.
There are two problems. The first (again) is the book’s size. Simply put, it’s not a pocket-sized book. Osborne should forget that aspect, and publish the book in a size that easily lies flat. Trust me, the information is valuable enough to sell the book; don’t get cute with the size. The second is that I’d like to see the symptoms summarized before they’re presented. That would make finding specific information easier, and I wouldn’t have to thumb through several dozen symptoms/solutions before finding what I want.
On the key subject of disk partitioning, this book fits the bill–but only in troubleshooting partitioning problems. On that subject, Bigelow does a fine job, and even suggests third-party solutions. In fact, the book does contain many third-party solutions, as well as advice on what to do in Windows for troubleshooting.
This book is not for everyone. Most of the introduction is aimed at computer technicians or troubleshooting professionals. But at $19.99 it’s a good investment. At the very least, it’ll make you the hero on your block, when it comes to troubleshooting PCs. –Dan Gookin