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[techbooks] REVIEW: "The Internet Book", Douglas Comer

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKINTBOK.RVW 981025 The Internet Book , Douglas Comer, 1997, 0-13-890161-9 %A Douglas Comer dec@purdue.edu %C 113 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 21, 1998
      BKINTBOK.RVW 981025

      "The Internet Book", Douglas Comer, 1997, 0-13-890161-9
      %A Douglas Comer dec@...
      %C 113 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
      %D 1997
      %G 0-13-890161-9
      %I Prentice Hall
      %O (515) 284-6751 FAX (515) 284-2607
      %P 327 p.
      %T "The Internet Book: Everything You Need to Know About Computer
      Networking and How the Internet Works, second edition"

      It is difficult to find books which give some background to the
      Internet. Most guides assume that readers are either already
      thoroughly familiar with computer communications, or are uninterested.
      The history of the Internet often vaguely mentions military or
      government projects without giving much idea of the problems which
      needed solving. Given the growth in computer networking, a reference
      is needed which lies between non-explanations ("This computer is
      connected to that computer and they talk to each other") and the
      TCP/IP programming manuals.

      This book fills a lot of those gaps. After an initial introduction to
      the current state of the Internet, chapters two through six give a
      very simple introduction to data communications and the need therefor.
      Those who have any kind of technical communications background may
      find the explanations a touch simplistic. On the other hand, I have
      frequently found that, even among the computer elite,
      telecommunications is a specialty and mystery area. With such rapid
      Internet growth, and for those who need some level of explanation
      without getting beyond their technical depth, this is likely to be
      very useful. It's easily readable. (It's also accurate.) Chapters
      seven to ten explain the drive for, and growth of, the Internet
      including excellent explanations of "why". The basic underlying
      concepts of the Internet protocols are covered in chapters eleven to
      seventeen, before nine chapters describe the primary application level
      tools of the system. These sections are written at a conceptual
      level, dealing with what the various tools can do, rather than the
      minutiae of what button to push to get a specific program to do it.
      This approach ensures that the book will be relevant in all
      situations, and will not go out of date quickly. A concluding chapter
      ties it all together with a look at both the benefits and some of the
      problems of the vast "digital library."

      This is an important addition to the library of Internet references.
      I heartily recommend it to those involved in network training, both as
      a resource, and as insurance that you truly understand what you are
      teaching. To date, the primary source material for the study of the
      development of the Internet, aside from the RFCs (Requests For
      Comments) themselves, has been the "Internet System Handbook" (cf.
      BKINTSYS.RVW), but it tends to be written at a technical or academic
      level. For those at the non-technical level who are wondering what
      the heck the Internet is (and one of Comer's anecdotes points out the
      hilarious misconceptions that are abroad), and what it all means, this
      is your book.

      (Once again, I must declare a bias in regard to this book. I am
      mentioned in the acknowledgements, although my "contribution" to the
      book was simply to review an early draft of the first edition. An
      excerpt from my review of the first edition also appears in the cover
      blurbs. Nonetheless, I can honestly say that I have not found any
      other book that explains the concepts and principles behind the
      Internet as well as this one. With the passing of the years some of
      my "top four" Internet picks; "The Internet Navigator" [cf.
      BKINTNAV.RVW], "Finding it on the Internet" [cf. BKFNDINT.RVW], and
      "Zen and the Art of the Internet" [cf. BKZENINT.RVW]; have become,
      while still valuable, less immediately relevant. This text is still,
      and perhaps increasingly, important.)

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1994, 1998 BKINTBOK.RVW 981025

      rslade@... rslade@... robertslade@... p1@...
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