When I go back home and head into the room that was once my bedroom and now my mother’s office, I’m usually filled with dread. Dread because I know the questions are coming: Tell me how to bookmark again? How do you move text from one document to the next? Will you change the printer ink? And then there are the books she buys in a sweet-but-pointless attempt at self-empowerment, or perhaps just to say, “see, I’m trying.” I hate those books, and most “Blogging for Dummies” tomes. Hate’s a strong word. But I’m never going to pick those books up.
Boing Boing maestro Mark Frauenfelder’s new book, Rule the Web, is not aimed at my mother, a woman who would not know 2.0 from Do.Oh. It’s aimed at people like me, and people who read SMITH–folks who aren’t deep geeks, but whose beings tingle with how the new technology has simplified, democratized, and energized media making. The book is also a crystal clean primer for answers to questions about the way we live now: How do I play MP3s through my stereo? Can I extend the range of my WiFi network? Are wire transfers an OK way to pay for something on eBay? (No, by the way.) And, the proverbial fan favorite: How do I start my own blog? (Funny aside: In one of his Mr. Know It All columns in Wired, Clive Thompson once advised encouraging your ma to start her own blog as a place to post all the urban myths she forwards to you and everyone she knows, thus stopping the flow of insane mom-mail.)
I’ve known Mark Frauenfelder, on and off, since the early days of bOING bOING in print, and there’s no one better at making technology fun, smart, and accessible (as just about everyone who knows him, which is just about everyone in tech, knows). Rule the Web is a book that will make your current online experience richer, sharper, and more productive—and crack open a few windows into new worlds. Maybe, eventually, my mom’s.
And: you can ask Mark a question on his Rule the Web blog.