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REVIEW: "The Book of IRC", Alex Charalabidis

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKBOKIRC.RVW 20000228 The Book of IRC , Alex Charalabidis, 2000, 1-886411-29-8, U$24.95/C$36.50 %A Alex Charalabidis %C 555 De Haro Street, Suite 250,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 15, 2000
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      BKBOKIRC.RVW 20000228

      "The Book of IRC", Alex Charalabidis, 2000, 1-886411-29-8,
      %A Alex Charalabidis
      %C 555 De Haro Street, Suite 250, San Francisco, CA 94107
      %D 2000
      %G 1-886411-29-8
      %I No Starch Press
      %O U$24.95/C$36.50 415-863-9900 fax 415-863-9950 info@...
      %P 360 p.
      %T "The Book of IRC: The Ultimate Guide to Internet Relay Chat"

      As you can see from the subtitle, the author is quite certain that no
      hyperbolic claims for this book could be unjustified. Generally it is
      publishers who are to blame for book jacket hype, but this assurance,
      and even arrogance, carries on inside, as well.

      A chapter zero provides a brief and basic guide to computers and the
      net before chapter one gets into IRC (Internet Relay Chat) itself.
      Unfortunately, this introduction only gives a limited presentation of
      IRC, sticking strictly to social chat, and mentioning none of the
      related IRC technologies such as automated information services and
      file transfer. Starting with "safety" (a warning about online con men
      with no mention of malicious software), chapter two touches on a
      variety of topics, with a lack of organization that might be
      frustrating to newcomers. Minimalist reviews of Windows, UNIX, and
      Mac IRC clients appear in chapters three, four, and five. The mac
      material provides the best information, and the UNIX content might be
      troublesome for non-administrators. On the other hand, this is one
      place where the author is justified in claiming more comprehensive
      coverage than in other works: it is nice to see a range of systems

      Chapters six to ten provide somewhat more detail, delving into
      troubles and functions, channels and channel operations, various
      unrelated points, finding people, and channel operator tips.

      It is in chapter eleven that the book's claim to cover more of IRC
      than anyone else becomes more apparent. At this point the text starts
      to cover highly technical areas, in this case scripting.
      Unfortunately, it is unlikely that intermediate users of IRC will be
      able to use this material, since, aside from mentioning some canned
      scripts that are available, there is no tutorial content before the
      book jumps straight into advanced tips. A terse few pages on server
      operators is the content of chapter twelve. Scarcely longer is the
      material on Client to Client Protocol (CTCP) commands in chapter
      thirteen, Direct Client Connection (DCC) in fourteen, and server
      commands in fifteen.

      Then we are back to a grab bag of topics, with that description
      fitting chapter sixteen to a "T." Chapter seventeen looks at a wide
      variety of security topics, but not in any detail. There are limited
      particulars of running servers in chapter eighteen, a superficial
      coverage of "bots" in nineteen, and miscellaneous social points in
      twenty. Of the appendices, there is a brief list of nets in A, and
      some online resource pointers in D.

      While the book covers many technical areas omitted by others, this
      tome is definitely not for beginners. The structure is decidedly odd,
      and has glaring gaps, regardless of the avowal of comprehensive
      coverage. Despite its relative age, "The irc Survival Guide," by
      Stuart Harris (cf. BKIRCSVG.RVW), is still a much better introduction.
      Even Kathryn Toyer's "Learn Internet Relay Chat" (cf. BKLRNIRC.RVW)
      will get you into IRC faster than will this book. For technical
      experts who want some information about the deeper details of IRC this
      volume will be valuable, but still needs extensive work.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2000 BKBOKIRC.RVW 20000228

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      Some say life is the thing, but I prefer reading. - Ruth Rendell
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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