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The Way Things Work 2.0

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We gave it a B

A spin-off of David Macaulay’s 1988 best-selling book, The Way Things Work 2.0 succeeds as a multimedia conversion but doesn’t quite deliver on its title’s promise. Macaulay’s ingenious drawings, which show the inner workings of some 200 devices — from airliner wing to zipper — benefit from animation and sound effects. Click on a word and up comes a definition or a cross-reference. New to this release is video of Macaulay acting as (good idea) tour guide and (bad idea) inactivity warden — delivering such smug lines as ”This is interactive, so interact!” Also new is built-in navigation to an attractive website. One quibble: Some explanations seem rushed and incomplete. Perhaps a better title would be The Way Things Work, More or Less. B