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Global Mobile: Connecting without Walls, Wires or Borders

Published in 2005; Fred Johnson (Author); Peachpit Press (Publisher);

The following review first appeared in Issue 2, 2005 of The Picture Professional, the quarterly magazine of the American Society of Picture Professionals, ASPP is a community of image experts committed to sharing our experience and knowledge throughout the industry.

Review by Ethan G. Salwen / ASPP:

I was sitting on the toilet in my hotel in Asunción, Paraguay, when I sent the email message agreeing to review this book. It wasn't that I was multitasking. It was just that in my particular room I could only pick up the hotel's Wi-Fi signal within a two foot range of the toilet. Go figure.

You won't find that tidbit of wireless technology connection wisdom in Fred Johnson's Global Mobile: Connecting without Walls, Wires or Borders. However, Johnson covers just about everything else you need to know to stay connected when traveling outside your office, whether you're strolling down the street for coffee or jetting off to Asia for an extended business trip. Johnson covers the use of cell phones and computers independently, as well as strategies for using the two in conjunction with each other.

Writing in an approachable, chatty voice, and addressing even the most basic issues-like how to make international calls and what different international plug adapters look like- Johnson has clearly geared his guide for head-scratching techno novices: those of us who only want to know as much as we need to get connected, and no more. But like any good teacher, Johnson explains enough of the "whys" to ensure that the "hows" make sense. So intermediate users with a need for a good reference guide will also find Global Mobile valuable. However, the book is too basic for advanced users, and technology-competent users with just a question or two would do as well to simply consult product instruction manuals, the Web, or a knowledgeable colleague.

For such a slim book, Global Mobile touches on an impressive range of topics, from the difference between an Ethernet cable and a standard phone jack to connecting a computer to the Internet via a cell phone using Blue Tooth technology. Global Mobile is not a shopping guide, and you won't find specific product descriptions or recommendations. However, Johnson provides resources where you can. In fact, one of the book's greatest assets is the author's inclusion of numerous information links, from websites for looking up Wi-Fi-friendly airports to good stores for buying travel gear.

Global Mobile is stuffed full of easily digestible charts and sidebars. One chart lists commonly used shorthand for text messaging (apparently "omg plz rtfm" means "Oh, my god, please read the flippin' manual"), while another lists the voltages used in even the smallest countries. Sidebars include information on buying SIM cards for internationally enabled cell phones, as well as prices and stores for buying portable Wi-Fi transmitters. Global Mobile is both Mac and PC friendly, containing step-bystep instructions (with illustrations) for working in both systems.

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