REVIEW: "Principles of Modern Communications Technology", A. Michael Noll
- BKPMDCMT.RVW 20010523
"Principles of Modern Communications Technology", A. Michael Noll,
2001, 1-58053-284-5, U$65.00
%A A. Michael Noll
%C 685 Canton St., Norwood, MA 02062
%I Artech House/Horizon
%O U$65.00 800-225-9977 fax: +1-617-769-6334 artech@...
%P 296 p.
%T "Principles of Modern Communications Technology"
While Noll does not touch on all forms of communications, the breadth
of scope in this book is wider than most. Four parts of the book
examine audio (generally music or broadcast), video, telephony, and
computers (emphasizing text data). The coverage is not intended to be
deep: this work is for the non-technician, and is intended to provide
a general overview and communications technology literacy.
Chapter one is a surprisingly brief review of the anatomy of the ear.
In the abstract one can understand the need to deal with the human
side of acoustics, but the text doesn't touch on neurology,
psychology, or even the mechanics of changing pressure waves in the
air into nerve impulses. A history of the phonograph, concentrating
on biographical details of Thomas Edison, occupies chapter two. A
start on the physical characteristics of sound, in chapter three,
turns into a quick look at musical instruments and architectural
acoustics. Chapter four starts into physics again, but turns into a
confusion of Fourier analysis and spectrograms. After the earlier
very brief chapters, chapter five's explanation of electricity is
surprisingly complete. Unfortunately, the subsequent discussion of
electronics, in chapter six, is a grab bag of topics. Digital
sampling and compact disks finish off the section in chapter seven.
Part two follows a somewhat similar pattern, in relation to video.
Chapter eight does a good job of explaining the anatomy of the eye,
the psychophysics of vision, and colour theory. Television basics are
outlined in chapter nine. Chapter ten looks at modulation theory,
but appears disjointed, as does the discussion of radio, cable, and
satellite broadcasting in chapter eleven. The description of colour
television, in chapter twelve, is full of details, but isn't very
clear. Chapter thirteen is another grab bag.
Chapter fourteen takes a quick look at human anatomy in regard to
speech, but also looks at mechanical speaking machines. The telephone
is explained in chapter fifteen, while sixteen provides much less
detail on telephone networks. Transmission technologies are covered
in chapter seventeen, switches are listed in eighteen, and various
other topics mentioned in nineteen.
Chapter twenty gives a history of writing. More history is involved
with the telegraph, in chapter twenty one, and the computer, in twenty
two. Standard overviews of computer hardware and software follow in
twenty three and four. A miscellany of data communications topics are
mentioned in chapter twenty five.
Unfortunately, while the book is very easy to read, the structure
appears almost random. Overall, it seems to be a collection of very
superficial magazine articles. While the reader is presented with a
number of interesting facts, concepts are not as evident. Therefore a
familiarity with the technology might appear, but literacy will likely
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2001 BKPMDCMT.RVW 20010523
====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
At any given time, one third of the world's population is asleep.
That means two thirds are awake and causing problems.
http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade