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REVIEW: "Computer Telephony Encyclopedia", Richard Grigonis

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKCMTLEN.RVW 20010807 Computer Telephony Encyclopedia , Richard Grigonis, 2000, 1-57820-045-8, U$39.95 %A Richard Grigonis ctencyclopedia@cmp.com %C 12
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 25, 2001
      BKCMTLEN.RVW 20010807

      "Computer Telephony Encyclopedia", Richard Grigonis, 2000,
      1-57820-045-8, U$39.95
      %A Richard Grigonis ctencyclopedia@...
      %C 12 West 21 Street, New York, NY 10010
      %D 2000
      %G 1-57820-045-8
      %I CMP Media
      %O U$39.95 212-691-8215 1-800-LIBRARY fax 212-691-1191
      %P 563 p.
      %T "Computer Telephony Encyclopedia"

      Most of the time, the introduction talks something about the book, or
      possibly gives an overview of the topic. In this work, the preface
      tells us, at rather astonishing length, of the life of one Richard
      ("Zippy") Grigonis, particularly as it centres around his getting
      hired as writer and editor for "Computer Telephony" magazine. A
      significant fact in the life (and, presumably, budget) of this
      periodical was an annual trade show. These facts behind his
      employment may explain a good many aspects of this book.

      For example, a writer, faced with the constant need to fill space, may
      opt for certain shortcuts, particularly if one is also the editor.
      Opinions, debates, and information about products are all valid
      material for trade journals, but there must be a constant temptation
      to embrace the marketing side of the sources. The egos of corporate
      executives can provide a never-ending fount of quotes, and product
      placement (complete with space-filling pictures) can even help sell
      advertising (and booth) space. Eventually one can convince oneself
      that the elimination of technical information, detail, and analysis is
      irrelevant to the undertaking.

      This book has miscellaneous entries to do with computers and
      telephony, although relatively few really centre on computer/telephony
      integration. The material isn't very technical, and most of the space
      deals with the business and industry, in one form or another. The
      respective articles on the competing technologies of ActiveX and Java
      make some basic points, but profoundly fail to deal with the
      underlying concepts, in addition to being heavily biased in favour of
      Microsoft. The listings are padded out with attempts at humour, lots
      of interview style quotes, and a great many company or product
      references. The essay on CompactPCI, for example, contains one page
      of information on the bus itself, and twenty pages of a sort of
      catalogue. (In fact, the paper on computer telephony itself, even
      with product inclusions, is only two thirds as long, although it is
      backed up with a seventy page chart of CT boards.) It doesn't read
      like an encyclopedia: it reads like a compilation of superficial
      magazine articles.

      The topic of humour deserves some attention. Grigonis is obviously
      trying to emulate his employer and mentor, Harry Newton.
      Unfortunately, Grigonis lacks not only Newton's sense of the absurd,
      but also Newton's extensive knowledge of the technology. Therefore,
      while Newton knows whereof he makes fun, Grigonis is simply filling
      space, and distracting from the issue at hand.

      For all its faults, the book still may be useful to those seriously
      interested in computer telephony. Even with the high volume of filler
      material, five hundred pages of dense type still has to hold some
      information. The technology is poor, but the corporate and product
      data is reasonably broad, although it will date fast, in a rapidly
      changing industry.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2001 BKCMTLEN.RVW 20010807

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.
      - Lily Tomlin
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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