REVIEW: "The Book of IRC", Alex Charalabidis
- 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
%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
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