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"jlsolber" RSS Feed (Champaign, IL United States)

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Black & Decker RO600K Sandstorm 3-in-1 Sander
Black & Decker RO600K Sandstorm 3-in-1 Sander

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wish I'd have bought something else . . ., June 16, 2002
This was my first electric sander, so I can't compare performance, but I agree with the other reviewers who point out that it doesn't collect dust the way it's supposed to. Despite others' enthusiasm for the hook and loop feature, it didn't turn out to be all it was cracked up to be. If you're doing a bigger project (I was sanding down the wood trim on a window I had stripped) the paper wears out pretty quickly, and they're not exactly cheap. It's better than sanding by hand, but I wish I'd [pulled] it up and spent a little more to get a Bosch or something like that.

Language and the Internet
Language and the Internet
by David Crystal
Edition: Hardcover
53 used & new from $0.60

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars needs to be retitled "Internet for Dummies", February 14, 2002
I'm a graduate student with a focus in computer technologies and writing, so I approached this book with an attitude of "what can I learn about language and the Internet?" The answer, unfortunately, was: not much. If you're at all familiar with the Internet and use email regularly, most of Crystal's book will just be covering a lot that you already know. Crystal gives the impression of having just discovered the Internet--e.g., he voices frustration at the number of non-relevant hits from a search on a word like 'depression', something that most of us have figured out strategies to deal with (and which he, as a linguist, might find interesting). Some of the solutions he suggests to the search-engine problem are already out or in beta, yet he doesn't show any familiarity with such developments.
Crystal admits up front that his aims with this book are modest -- basically, he wants to ask whether the Internet has affected language and language use. Um, well, yeah it has.
But he never answers the question that my undergraduate English professor made us ask of all of our paper theses--So what? Why/how do these changes matter? What larger significance do they have? As a linguist, Crystal isn't perhaps so interested in social or political commentary, but never was there such a disembodied look at language. It's as though because the words appear on a screen, we don't need to think about the social, political, or economic pressures that influence these "language communities" he's looking at. He admits that market forces are driving which languages get to be used in the "global village" but then acts as if that fact is of little consequence.
Crystal's method is best described as descriptive--but he doesn't have much to describe, as his sample for analysis includes his own email as well as that of his two children. And as far as I can tell, he doesn't attempt to tie in these changes to any kind of linguistic theory (with the exception of his use of Grice to explain the cooperative nature of conversation). I'm also struck by the lack of evidence that he's read in this area at all--no citation of Sherry Turkle, for example, whose work would have been informative for the whole chapter he spends on MUDs.
If you know next to nothing about Internet-related communication (email, web pages, MUDs) then this book would be a good introduction for you (hence the title of this post). Viewed as an very introductionary text, I'd probably give this a slightly higher rating, because it is clearly written.

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