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Silicon Snake Oil

Second Thoughts on the Information Highway

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Paperback published by Anchor (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
In Silicon Snake Oil, Clifford Stoll, the best-selling author of The Cuckoo's Egg and one of the pioneers of the Internet, turns his attention to the much-heralded information highway, revealing that it is not all it's cracked up to be.  Yes, the Internet provides access to plenty of services, but useful information is virtually impossible to find and difficult to access. Is being on-line truly useful? "Few aspects of daily life require computers...They're irrelevant to cooking, driving, visiting, negotiating, eating, hiking, dancing, speaking, and gossiping. You don't need a computer to...recite a poem or say a prayer." Computers can't, Stoll claims, provide a richer or better life.

A cautionary tale about today's media darling, Silicon Snake Oil has sparked intense debate across the country about the merits--and foibles--of what's been touted as the entranceway to our future.
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In Silicon Snake Oil, Clifford Stoll, the best-selling author of The Cuckoo's Egg and one of the pioneers of the Internet, turns his attention to the much-heralded information highway, revealing that it is not all it's cracked up to be.  Yes, the Internet provides access to plenty of services, but useful information is virtually impossible to find and difficult to access. Is being on-line truly useful? "Few aspects of daily life require computers...They're irrelevant to cooking, driving, visiting, negotiating, eating, hiking, dancing, speaking, and gossiping. You don't need a computer to...recite a poem or say a prayer." Computers can't, Stoll claims, provide a richer or better life.

A cautionary tale about today's media darling, Silicon Snake Oil has sparked intense debate across the country about the merits--and foibles--of what's been touted as the entranceway to our future.
Product Details
Paperback (256 pages)
Published: March 1, 1996
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Anchor
ISBN: 9780385419949
Other books byClifford Stoll
  • Write to the Point

    Write to the Point
    And Feel Better about Your Writing
    Write to the Point is the best available guide to effective writing of non-fiction. "Have something to say, and say what you mean to say as simply as you can." Those are Bill Stott's most important points, and for all those readers who know that this simple advice may be difficult to follow, he offers encouragement on such topics as: how to find something to say; the basics of organization, how to avoid sexist language; how much is enough; plagiarism; and basic grammar.

    CUCKOO'S EGG

    CUCKOO'S EGG

    High-Tech Heretic

    High-Tech Heretic
    Reflections of a Computer Contrarian
    The cry for and against computers in the classroom is a topic of concern to parents, educators, and communities everywhere. Now, from a Silicon Valley hero and bestselling technology writer comes a pointed critique of the hype surrounding computers and their real benefits, especially in education. In High-Tech Heretic, Clifford Stoll questions the relentless drumbeat for "computer literacy" by educators and the computer industry, particularly since most people just use computers for word processing and games--and computers become outmoded or obsolete much sooner than new textbooks or a good teacher. As one who loves computers as much as he disdains the inflated promises made on their behalf, Stoll offers a commonsense look at how we can make a technological world better suited for people, instead of making people better suited to using machines.

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