[techbooks] REVIEW: "McGraw-Hill Illustrated Telecom Dictionary", Jade Clayt
- BKILTLDC.RVW 991213
"McGraw-Hill Illustrated Telecom Dictionary", Jade Clayton, 1998,
%A Jade Clayton
%C 300 Water Street, Whitby, Ontario L1N 9B6
%I McGraw-Hill Ryerson/Osborne
%O U$29.95 905-430-5000 800-565-5758 fax: 905-430-5020
%P 501 p.
%T "McGraw-Hill Illustrated Telecom Dictionary"
This isn't really a telecom dictionary. It's more of a telco
dictionary. If you want to find out about the inner workings of your
local telephone company, such as what type of bolts they use to fasten
wires to telephone poles, then this is the book for you. With over
300 images, you can find out all about strand clamps, body belts, mast
clamps, pole attachments, line wrenches, guy hooks, crimp tools, and
OK, it does get a little bit more technical than that. And, of
course, for those who don't get to spend their time stringing cable
it's interesting to see something about the hardware. But this
certainly cannot be considered an indispensible reference.
A specialized dictionary is not going to present the variety of
definitions of a term that Oxford does, but a number of the entries in
this text are extremely limited. Baffle refers only to speaker cones,
and ablation simply mentions burning CD-ROMs: both terms have other
uses in telecommunications alone. Some listings are so limited as to
be useless, such as the entry for BASIC. A number of definitions use
specialized terms, like bel and stinger, which are, themselves, not
defined in the book. Which brings up another point: I was surprised
at the number of fairly closely related telecom terms (like bel) that
did not appear anywhere in the work.
("Anywhere" is the most appropriate word to use. A significant number
of entries are out of any kind of order that I can determine. In some
cases one might think that some specialized sorting is being used, but
for the most part it just seems that the ordering was done manually,
and not very well.)
The reason that I say this is not a telecom dictionary is that telecom
usually deals with the more modern technical aspects of telephony, and
generally includes data communications as well. On the surface, this
book does cover those topics, but, upon examination, this is where the
text really falls down. Obviously Clayton is not at all comfortable
with computers and that level of technology: the definition of terms
like machine language is completely wrong. Well, not completely. The
author appears to have obtained some kind of instruction in computers,
but has seriously misunderstood. The discussion of error checking is
very confusing, and what I can understand of it is incorrect. A
number of ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
characters are defined in the book, but all of the binary and
hexadecimal representations are wrong because the author does not
understand the difference between most significant bits and least
significant bits (both terms being included in the listings). When we
get down to OC levels, the listings for OC-3, OC-12, OC-48, and OC-192
are *all* defined as being three times the bandwidth of a DS-3 line.
The inclusion of illustrations could be an asset to a dictionary. In
this case, though, the clearest pictures are, again, those of cabling
hardware. Images of racks full of electronic equipment really don't
explain anything. As for the simpler devices, there is no particular
difference between the picture of the gender changer and the picture
of the null modem adapter, and certainly nothing that would explain
what they do.
Overall, if your specific interest is in the phone company, this might
have what you want. It could be particularly suitable for telcos to
issue to new employees. For the rest of the telecom community,
though, there are other, better, sources, such as Newton's (cf.
BKNTTLDC.RVW), Petersen's (cf. BKDTTLDC.RVW), and even the US federal
government's (cf. BKGLTLTM.RVW).
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKILTLDC.RVW 991213
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