There should be an image here!Is This Thing On?: A Late Bloomer’s Computer Handbook is a reassuring, jargon-free, and totally straightforward nuts-and-bolts guide that introduces late bloomers, grandparents, technophobes, and the digitally challenged to all the wonders of using a computer, and will even have them using digital cameras and PDAs with ease.

Written for the reader who did not grow up with personal computers, this book updates and expands on Stokes’s previous title, It’s Never Too Late to Love a Computer. It covers everything you need to get wired: how to select, buy, and set up a computer; how to sign up for e-mail and Internet access, and how to use the World Wide Web. There’s information on peripherals — printers, scanners, wireless routers — and basic software, such as word processing programs. Plus, this new edition delves further into the online world to cover search engines and Web navigation, information on online banking, shopping, travel planning, and dating.

Is This Thing On? covers security issues, “netiquette,” instant messaging, and blogs, and there’s an entire chapter devoted to digital photos — transferring them from camera to computer and sending them as attachments. Abby Stokes — who has a gift for taking the terrified by the hand and teaching old dogs new tricks — branches out into other essential digital accoutrements: cell phones, iPods, and BlackBerries. A companion Web site offers a safe place to practice and keep learning. Appendices include recommended Web sites, a resource list, and more.