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Practical Internet is one of many, many net-devoted magazines on the market. I’m normally a WebUser reader, but have begun to find it a bit ‘beginner level’ for me and so went down to my local newsagent to look for one a bit more advanced and challenging. After flicking through several, I decided on Practical Internet – mainly because this edition (Dec 2001) contains a free CD with a whopping £1,362 of software on it. Published by Paragon (www.paragon.co.uk), the mag weighs in at a hefty 162 semi-glossy pages. Like all magazines it’s heavy on the advertising, but between the ads are some outstanding articles and tutorials from beginner to advanced level. The mag is split into sections, which are: News – all the latest on the web Backchat – including reader’s experiences and consumer problems Buyer’s Guide – this month’s is an extensive guide to ISPs Q & A – the Practical Internet team answer your queries Reviews – all the latest software and hardware Your Business – ecommerce advice Tutorials – 40 pages of step-by-step on a range or net-related activities As well as this there are special sections on fixing net errors, destroying net nasties, and a very good section for beginner-intermediate users containing 60 net time savers. This month’s tutorials are Web Browsing (getting the most our of IE6), Web Building (the advanced features of Windows XP), and Special Projects (an excellent guide to building a site using Dreamweaver 4 that is better written and explained than any book I’ve bought on the subject). There are also several well-written pages devoted to using the free CD. On the CD, to name but just a few, is IE6, Netscape 6.1 and Tiscali, plus SpeedConnect (which speeds up your modem for faster net access), Laplink Pro (which enables you to link up your home PCs), SoftBulk
Email (send the same mail to dozens of recipients at once), and the excellent Dazzler Deluxe 3.1, which lets you create great multimedia presentations for the web. I haven't tried Dazzler Deluxe yet, but a designer friend tells me it's brilliant. Practical Internet is quality journalism, written in an easy-to-understand and follow style, which neither confuses you nor talks to you as if you’re 4. The articles are interesting, in-depth and genuinely useful. All in all this is an extremely professional publication. It’s a real ‘meaty’ read with lots to learn and try out, which will keep you going until the next issue. At £4.99 it ain’t cheap, but you get a hell of a lot of quality stuff for your money. I will definitely be buying Practical Internet again and would recommend it to users of all levels who want to get the most out of the net for both business and pleasure. In a vastly overcrowded market, I think this magazine will stay the distance.
Practical Internet is one of the enormous and ever-growing number of internet user magazines springing up to cash-in on and feed the growing interest with all things net related in modern times. But with all that choice around what is it about this magazine which is different enough to warrant you spending your hard earned cash on it once oa month? Well, it depends upon what you use the internet for as to which of the magazines appeals to you the most. Practical Internet, has basically 4 main sections, devoted to general internet news(Infonation), Hints and tips on using the internet and internet software(Net Workshop), a testing and review section(On Test), and regular monthly features(Features) where the focus is placed upon certain aspects of the internet and covered in more depth. As well as these sections there are the obligatory letters and readers feedback pages and ISP guide on the back pages. The magazine itself costs a rather unfriendly £3.99 and is therefore not the best priced internet magazine on the market but if the content is good then it isn’t going to matter. For my purposes however, I find that the magazine is a little too interested in the quality of ISPs and offering advice on how to use different internet related products to be of much interest. I suppose the magazine does what its title suggests - offers practical advice on the internet and products related to it, and as such is not a particularly entertaining read but if thats what you are looking for then its the perfect choice. I also find that the concentration on different products etc. makes the magazine a little useless for my purposes unless I need information on that particular area of the internet - and I’m not willing to give up £3.99 a month on the off-chance that I may one day need some of the advice they give out...by which time it would no doubt be outdated anyway, with technology and especially the internet moving so fast. That said, if y
ou are 'new' to the internet, then there is some good advice to be found in here, although, most of it can be found elsewhere as well in more entertaining and more information packed net magazines. As a result, it is difficult to recommend this one at this price, in the face of far better competition. There simply isn’t enough useful information, enough(any?) entertaining features or anything really to justify your interest over its competitors. Its a fair magazine, but its not a GREAT magazine and hence the rating.
Here’s another great Internet teacher that’s suitable for all PC/Mac users who use the Internet. There’s loads of excellent content crammed into each monthly issue and a cover CD that’s got some useful programs on it. Throw in a separate book each month that teaches you about the main free full program on the CD and for a measly £3.99 you have money well spent! Like most magazines, PC or Internet related, Practical Internet is split into sections and the sections are then split into very in-depth sub-sections. I read the magazine from the front cover to the back cover …minus the adverts of course! There’s just so much useful information in the mag that it’s hard to put down once you start reading it. Fair enough, there’s always some information or articles that are no use to you but the vast majority is. Here’s a quickish rundown of some of the sections of Practical Internet: ON THE CD: this is where you get to find out about all the goodies that are on the CD of course. Normally there’s at least one full free program on the disc, but there’s 3 or four sometimes, but it just depends on what sort of fee the programs’ owners are looking for them. Of late, most of the free full programs have been web page editors and the likes, which lets you experiment with your site a bit more. You’ll also find the latest versions of the popular browsers and the latest plug-ins that you need to use the Net for a more comfortable browse. Check out the utilities too as there’s some crackers in there most of the time! THE GUIDE: this is Practical Internet’s excellent guide to the UK’s ISPs (Internet Service Providers). There’s a great league table of all the ISPs, their packages and prices. This allows you to easily compare ISPs and choose the one that should be right for you. I like this one because every month they publish the results from their
testers who basically test various ISPs for a month and produce their own report which gives you first hand information. This is a really handy feature in my eyes! The Guide also includes a Buyers’ Guide to Net hardware, which basically comes down to another ‘Toys for the Boys’ (and GIRLS!…no sexism here thankyou!). There’s some really wild products reviewed here, which can stretch your imagination (and your wallet!) with their prices and features. It’s always nice to dream though! NET WORKSHOP: this is broken into five separate sections that cater all Internet users. The sub categories are: BEGINNER TUTORIAL: which of course caters for the beginner to the Net who wants to learn about Internet programs and build their first website. This is always easy to understand and written in Plain English…no tech jargon here! INTERMEDIATE TUTORIAL: which is aimed at the middle section of us, who want to learn more about programs and website building. Again, it’s easy to understand and written in lovely Plain English. A bit more tech jargon here though, but explanations to match! ADVANCED TUTORIAL: which is aimed at the experts out there. This one can and does manage to teach an old dog new tricks, but watch for tech waffle! HOME IMPROVEMENT: which is aimed at all of us who’d like to improve our sites and knowledge of Internet programs. Who doesn’t need or want to learn more to enjoy the Net even more!? ADVICE SECTION: which is devoted to general questions about the Internet and software. There’s some very interesting questions here sometimes, plus the usual crawling letters, which make you laugh at ‘How low they can go’! The other part is devoted to questions about how to improve your website. Now this is where you can get some good tips for improving your site. Eitherway both sections are good for a read and a laugh. <
br> REGULARS: which is mainly everyone’s’ favourite bit. It has the Letters section…always good for a laugh! Some of the stories in the letters section will have you rolling about the floor with the mistakes that people make! Then again, we were all new to computers and the Internet at some stage or other! You will also find the monthly competition in this section. The competitions always have a lovely prize, which anyone would want! Other than the main sections that I have described, you will find other great bits and bobs that will give you a good read. These include the News section (correct at the time of going to print, but out of date now!), reviews of games, software, hardware and not forgetting the website reviews. So, in all there’s a lot of interesting stuff in Practical Internet Magazine each month, which makes it an essential read for a lot of people. There’s normally an average of about 140 pages in each issue which all go to make this a good value for money magazine! Check out a copy on the newsagents’ stand before you buy a copy, just incase you don’t like it! Thanks for reading my opinion!
Paragon have a habit of producing magazines that fail to catch the eye - but are gold mines of information. Practical Internet (PI) is no exception. Future Magazines have looks and content, Paragon magazines tend to have the later - but its worth every penny. Not content with the obligatory free coverdisk every month you will usually find a free paperback book aswell. The first book that I read from PI was about creating your own website in 24 hours. I think we have all seen books with outlandish promises for titles - except this book fullfilled the promise. Right from basic HTML through to Internet sources through to actually uploading to the web in step-by-step-anyone-can-follow-this instructions. The level of detail and clarity was superb - and typifies the monthly output from the team at PI. Every month they have an uncanny knack of doing a feature on something you have been meaning to look up, and answering all your questions. Try and look past that terrible editor photo they stick on the first page, this magazine is a must subscribe for the beginner *and* the intermediate Webmaster Wannabe. You will only have to buy one issue to see what I am saying is true, after that I would anticipate you taking advantage of the subscription offer. No, I don't work for Paragon - but I complain enough so now I am giving credit where credit is due. Hope that Helps.