Quick! What's the difference between a Type II and a Type III PCMCIA card? And what exactly is the 10BASE2 Ethernet standard, anyway? If questions like those make you dread technology purchases, check out the second edition of The Office Equipment Adviser, by John Derrick (What to Buy for Business, Santa Barbara, Calif., 1994, $19.95). The 600-plus-page tome, released in August, contains clear, straightforward overviews of a variety of small-business office-equipment markets, from personal computers to phone systems to postage meters. (Applications software isn't covered.) Derrick, who is also the editor of the periodical What to Buy for Business, stops short of detailed product reviews in the book. However, each of the 14 chapters contains an information-packed market description, usually followed by evaluations of vendors.
One caveat: in fast-changing technology fields, books like this almost immediately become out-of-date. (Derrick offers book buyers a discount on next year's edition.) So remember that the information can be only a starting point for purchase decisions. An unfortunate case in point: Derrick largely ignores CD-ROM options in his computer chapter.* * *
What to Buy for Business Inc. can be reached at 800-247-2185 or P.O. Box 22857, Santa Barbara, CA 93121-2857. (Add $3 for shipping if you order the book direct.) The company's more detailed guides to specific office technologies cost $23 each, plus $3 for shipping, or $121 for a 10-issue annual subscription.* * *