Book details of 'Newton's Telecom Dictionary 15 Ed'
|Title||Newton's Telecom Dictionary 15 Ed|
|Author(s)||Harry Newton, Ray Horak|
|Publisher||Telecom Books/Miller Freeman|
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Newton's Telecom Dictionary 15 Ed':
Reviewer amazon.com wrote:
The technology of long-distance voice and data communication incorporates millions of details. The business of selling that technology involves plenty more. Anyone hoping to navigate this jungle of facts and terminology had better keep a copy of Newton's Telecom Dictionary close at hand. It's the single best resource for quick explanations of diverse telecommunications technologies. While engaging in its loopiness, this book backs up its famous joviality with technical expertise that's unsurpassed by any other similarly comprehensive resource. Entries in this dictionary--many of them more closely resembling encyclopedia articles in their thoroughness--cover the hardware, protocols, and government regulations that define telecommunications systems worldwide. Whether you're interested in landline technologies, wireless standards, medium-neutral data protocols, or the systems that have developed to properly bill telecommunications users, Newton's Telecom Dictionary has the information you need. Once in a while, you'll find a careless error in these pages, such as the claim that Windows for Workgroups 3.11 is about to be made obsolete by Windows 95. These errors seem to reflect a bias among the members of Newton's team toward large-scale communications systems and away from consumer-oriented computer technology. Nonetheless, Newton's Telecom Dictionary earns its keep in a world where personal computers and communications appliances seem to be merging.
Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
You have to warm to a book that tells you, presumably in regard to the
ever increasing number of terms to cover in this field, "Will it ever
stop? No. And it's getting worse. But you should buy this soon-to-
be-obsolete book, anyway. We need your money for the 16th."
Whatever the faults in Newton's research and writing (and they do
exist), you have to say this for him: he's a goer. Now reissued
annually (with semi-annual "half editions") the dictionary keeps a
currency and range that no other such reference can match.
Newton asks for, and can use, help, because this is a massive work.
There are lots and lots of telecommunications terms, with a fair
preponderance of telephony and internet listings. Computer jargon
gets a fair amount of space, with MS-DOS related material getting the
lion's share. BOB refers to the late, unlamented, and Microsoft-
wishes-it-could-be-forgotten product, although there is now also a
reference to "BreakOut Box." "Virus" is in there, and it isn't bad.
(On the other hand, it hasn't gotten any better over the last three
editions.) Management is remembered with the "Osborne Effect" and
"Seagull Manager", and the description of "Digital Cash" is written by
someone with a firm grasp of reality. The numeric entries for 1791
through 1999 constitute a quick history of telecommunications. The
entry for "Call Waiting" refers to the trouble it may give to modems
and mentions both the *70 command and the setting of the S10 register.
Then there is telecommunications trivia, such as the part played by
radio in the saving of the Eiffel Tower, the contribution of the
telephone to the English language, and reflections on the Titanic
disaster and telecom-related biographies. (You can even learn some
erstwhile English terms.) There are useful tables, even within the
text such as the listing of North American Area Codes in both numeric
and place order.
Newton's serious attempt to include more material related to the
Internet is evident, but so is a lack of familiarity with some topics.
The usage of the double backslash (\) and double forward slash (//)
in the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) is reversed for NT and UNIX.
The storage information for cookies is still applicable only to the
The listings are quite current, including items such as "SATAN" (not
quite fairly), "Rimm Job", "cookie" (with the associated controversy)
and even "push" (without the controversy). However, a number of
recent concerns, such as the "ping of death" and "teardrop attack"
are not mentioned. The reader will find some esoteric technical
entries, like "Hydrogen Loss" and "Zener Diode".
While reviewing the book, I left it at a reception desk for fifteen
minutes. That was long enough for the staffer at the desk to inform
me, on my return, that the author was a pretty funny guy. Quite true.
A number of the definitions are fairly lighthearted, and Newton isn't
afraid to throw in subjective comments. A number of listings are
*completely* off the wall. What does "Apocalypse, Four Horsemen of"
have to do with communications? Or "Apologize", or "FORD" for that
matter? Apparently if you are a friend or relative of Newton, there
is grave danger that you will end up listed in here. Some of the
humorous content does have a closer technical connection, like
"Bogon", "Get a Life", and "Psychic ANI".
The book is not without flaws. I can still cut eight characters out
of the "Fox Message." I was surprised not to see an entry for
mailstorm. "Freeware" is listed (and correct), but shareware and
public domain share the same confused definition. (Indeed, the
definition of "Sysop" confuses freeware and public domain software.)
The author still doesn't understand that there is a valid technical
use of the term "granularity". (I *am* willing to forgive a lot to a
dictionary that gets "Hacker" right, but Newton loses points by
misusing the term under the entry for "SATAN.") Send a correction in
to Newton and he will make it, but it may take an edition or two. Or
three. Or four.
While extensive, the work is neither complete nor exhaustive. But
then, given the expansion of the field madly off in all directions it
could hardly be so. The book could use some discipline, not in
excluding the humour, but in including more extensive, or more
accurate, definitions in places. Weik's dictionary (see reviews
pays more attention to standards bodies, communications engineering,
and the influential contributions of the military. Petersen (see reviews
) has done more careful historical research. Shnier (see reviews
) is generally better in the computer listings. Still,
regardless of shortcomings, this is easily one of the best
telecommunications dictionaries available today, and, for breadth of
scope, probably *the* best.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1997
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