Book details of 'Encyclopedia of Networking, Electronic Edition'
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Encyclopedia of Networking, Electronic Edition':
Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
Yes, it's an encyclopedia. The entry size is about the same as for
Shnier's "Dictionary of Communications and PC Hardware" (see reviews
) and larger than that of "Newton's Telecom Dictionary"
) which only means that I think Shnier got his title
wrong. But this is certainly of encyclopedic size.
Entries may be lengthy, but they are not technical. The level of
information would suit the needs of a manager who needed to know what
type of animal a cell relay was, but doesn't provide the detail
necessary to work with a particular topic, or to make informed
decisions for planning or purchasing. Corporate or political items
seem to be of greater interest than technical ones. You are almost as
likely to find an entry for a proprietary product as for a basic
standard (although the entries for products do tend to be shorter).
Reports are often incomplete in the practical areas: for example, the
description of finger is accurate, but the paragraph does not mention
that most sites have now shut finger service off. In the explanation
of firewalls we learn a lot more about pre-sixteenth century history
than the actual workings of proxy servers. Under hypermedia we hear
more about how Sheldon actually heard Ted Nelson speak one time than
about the details of Xanadu. (There is no entry for Xanadu.) The
author sometimes lets his imagination run away with him, as in the
case of a kidnapping detection device that would require the
implantation of a device with a GPS (Global Positioning System) *and*
a transmitter big enough to reach someone useful *and* a battery big
enough to power the whole thing, in your kid (see IP [Internet
In his attempt to make descriptions simplistic enough for managers,
Sheldon also seems to have become a bit cavalier with the facts. IRC
(Internet Relay Chat) users do not have to be on the same server,
although they do have to be on the same IRC network. An entry for
ActiveX generally accepts the Microsoft party line on security. It
may surprise pre-1980 users of Apples and PETs that Microsoft started
the personal computer revolution. For the sake of the reviewer's
blood pressure, we will draw a merciful veil of darkness over the
entry on viruses. The author makes no attempt to give the acronym
expansion for BNC connector. There is no entry for Kermit or for the
important V series standards.
The entry for PGP (Pretty Good Privacy, a widely used de facto
encryption standard) states that it is designed to integrate with
email clients and uses a graphical interface to ease the process of
encryption. In fact, while recently integration products have
appeared, and graphical versions of PGP itself, for a long time the
"command line only" interface was a stumbling block to its universal
acceptance. (That and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations,
The author makes a very tentative attempt to note the etiology of the
word "hacker" as a skilled technologist, but thereafter continues to
use the term in a negative way. Hacking, cracking, spoofing,
sniffing, and phreaking are conducted by "internal malicious users and
the underground community of pranksters, hardened criminals,
industrial spies, and international terrorists." Methinks Sheldon has
been reading too many thrillers.
AIX and AS/400 are listed under IBM AIX and IBM AS/400 but SNA
(Systems Network Architecture) and SAA (Systems Application
Architecture) are listed as themselves. DES (Data Encryption
Standard) has an entry, but is actually explained under cryptography.
Acronyms, even when not words, are ordered as if they were words,
rather than as collections of initial letters.
The end of each major article gives related entries, of course, but
often provides URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) for sites that might
have a bearing on the topic. The majority of these appear to be
company home pages.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998
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