[techbooks] REVIEW: "The Internet Complete Reference", Harley Hahn
- BKINCORF.RVW 981024
"The Internet Complete Reference", Harley Hahn, 1996, 0-07-882138-X,
%A Harley Hahn
%C 300 Water Street, Whitby, Ontario, L1N 9B6
%C 2600 Tenth St., Berkeley, CA 94710
%O U$32.95/C$47.95, 905-430-5000/800-227-0900/800-2MCGRAW
%P 802 p.
%T "The Internet Complete Reference, second edition"
You have to warm to the enthusiasm of a book which says that the
Internet is more impressive than the pyramids, more beautiful than
Michelangelo's "David" and more important than the inventions of the
industrial revolution. In the first paragraph of the Introduction.
Those of us who are barraged with calls for "point-and-click-
everything" can be equally heartened by the statement that the
Internet is not for dummies, though not only for nerds: "It is for
those people who are willing to think and to learn."
Having said that, this guide is particularly suited to the new user
unsure of what to use the Internet for. The material is of limited
technical depth, and is delivered with humour which lightens the tone.
Unfortunately, this edition has started down the slippery slope of
sarcasm that has limited other works.
Topics covered in the book include a conceptual background to the
Internet, an overview of applications, as well as the hardware,
software, and service requirements for connecting to the net. In
this, and in later chapters discussing specific applications, the
author recommends some study of the UNIX operating system and its
tools. In this day of graphical interfaces it may be felt that UNIX
is redundant, but an understanding of the system can go a long way to
explaining seeming oddities in net behaviour. As well, many people
still access the net through community based systems that rely on text
based tools such as pine and lynx.
Discussion of mail involves email addressing (with perhaps a little
too much coverage of sending mail to other networks), email concepts,
and the pine mail agent. (Oddly, the chapter on mailing lists comes
near the end of the book.) The World Wide Web has chapters on
background, graphical browsing, advanced topics, and lynx. There are
solid explanations of Usenet, gopher, ftp, telnet, talk, IRC (Internet
Relay Chat), and MUDs (Multiple User Domains).
Those who know what they want from the Internet may wish to look at
more specific and detailed works. Too, this volume does tend to
emphasize Unix and the Unix applications. (Hahn does not neglect
chances to promote his other books, particularly those on UNIX.)
Still, this primer does cover much ground that a lot of the newer
Internet guides neglect.
Worth considering for the beginning browser.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1994, 1998 BKINCORF.RVW 981024
rslade@... rslade@... robertslade@... p1@...
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