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[techbooks] REVIEW: "Data and Telecommunications Dictionary", Julie K. Peter

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKDTTLDC.RVW 990326 Data and Telecommunications Dictionary , Julie K. Petersen, 1999, 0-8493-9591-7, U$49.95 %A Julie K. Petersen abiogen@abiogenesis.com
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 1999
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      BKDTTLDC.RVW 990326

      "Data and Telecommunications Dictionary", Julie K. Petersen, 1999,
      0-8493-9591-7, U$49.95
      %A Julie K. Petersen abiogen@...
      %C 823 Debra St, Livermore, CA 94550
      %D 1999
      %G 0-8493-9591-7
      %I CRC Press/Auerbach Publications
      %O U$49.95 +1-800-950-1216 auerbach@... orders@...
      %P 820 p.
      %T "Data and Telecommunications Dictionary"

      Whichever other communications dictionary you have, you can make room
      for this one. In fact, it is so distinctive as to make comparison
      with other glossaries very difficult.

      Like Weik (cf. BKCMSTDC.RVW) and Shnier (cf. BKCMPDCT.RVW), a number
      of the entries are more encyclopedic than simply defining. The
      subject range is quite broad. Many fields of communications are
      covered, but there is also ample coverage of the computer domain and
      of scientific realms touching (sometimes quite tangentially) on
      communications. The strongest emphasis in this work is the historical
      background, giving information on a great deal of early development,
      as well as quick biographies of pioneers in the area.

      It is difficult to determine an area of professional specialization in
      this work. Telephony and radio get good overviews, but more in past
      development. Current technologies are not examined in great depth,
      although history is. A number of popular historical myths are
      corrected, although there are some assertions with which I'm not quite
      comfortable, and for which I would have liked to see specific
      references.

      Slang is included. At times this may lead to some dispute over the
      definitions which are, after all, rather informal. For example,
      cheapernet is defined as any inexpensive LAN technology, while I
      always heard it used referring specifically to the thinner (RG-58 and
      RG-62) version of coaxial cable that became popular for Ethernet (and,
      for a brief time, ARCnet). (And "spam" makes no mention of Vikings.)

      I was delighted at the number of entries for Canadian technology and
      inventors. (Not surprised, of course, but delighted.)

      The entries for "top level" national Internet domains seem to be a bit
      of a waste of space, especially since the domains are listed in
      Appendix D.

      Not all of the explanations are functionally complete. For example,
      Daniel Bernoulli is described as having done work with fluid dynamics,
      and Bernoulli's Theorem mentions the constant sum of the pressure
      head, velocity head, and height. The Bernoulli box is described as
      using technology pioneered by Bernoulli, but this material does not
      explain the use of a high speed air jet which maintains an air gap
      while keeping it vanishingly small. Since Bernoulli's bio also
      mentions electronics, some readers could be forgiven for assuming that
      this was his contribution to the Bernoulli drive, rather than the same
      principle that keeps planes in the air.

      I noted a slight, but general, weakness in regard to the UNIX
      operating system, and systems derived from it. (UNIX has, of course,
      a great many connections to modern networking, and particularly the
      Internet, so there are a number of related entries.) Explanations are
      not necessarily incorrect, but are often clumsy, in a manner very
      similar to those given by people not quite familiar with the
      technology.

      Virus is not defined: it isn't even included. The cookie monster
      program is characterized as a virus, when the program described was a
      completely non-reproducing prank which had to be initiated by a
      colleague (generally while you left the terminal unattended but logged
      on). (There was a Spanish "cookie" [galleta] virus, but it ran on
      MS-DOS rather than VMS.) A trojan horse is described only as a
      password collector. Worm is defined only as the Internet Worm, which
      is defined as a virus, and refers one to virus. Which is not defined
      ...

      Errors, additions, and corrections will be noted at
      http://www.abiogenesis.com/telecomdict/Docs/notes.html.

      CRC Press is not exactly common on bookstore shelves (and this cover
      isn't snappy), which is a great pity, because this book is written at
      the right level, and with the right scope, for the home market. Get
      this as a present for your favorite techie, and I can pretty much
      guarantee that they will not be disappointed. Old ham operators and
      telephone workers will be ecstatic. Professionals may or may not find
      it useful in their work, but they will most certainly find it
      fascinating reading, with a great many historical points and canned
      biographies. Despite the gaps, I hope a bunch of you buy it, because
      I am dying to see what the author can do with good sales and some
      feedback on topics to include.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKDTTLDC.RVW 990326

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
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      One virus, two virii, three viriii, four viriv ...
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade

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