REVIEW: "Computer Telephony Encyclopedia", Richard Grigonis
- BKCMTLEN.RVW 20010807
"Computer Telephony Encyclopedia", Richard Grigonis, 2000,
%A Richard Grigonis ctencyclopedia@...
%C 12 West 21 Street, New York, NY 10010
%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
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
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2001 BKCMTLEN.RVW 20010807
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