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REVIEW: "Windows XP Hacks", Preston Gralla

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKWNXPHK.RVW 20031120 Windows XP Hacks , Preston Gralla, 2003, 0-596-00511-3, U$24.95/C$38.95 %A Preston Gralla preston@gralla.com %C 103 Morris Street,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 22, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      BKWNXPHK.RVW 20031120

      "Windows XP Hacks", Preston Gralla, 2003, 0-596-00511-3,
      U$24.95/C$38.95
      %A Preston Gralla preston@...
      %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
      %D 2003
      %G 0-596-00511-3
      %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
      %O U$24.95/C$38.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596005113/robsladesinterne
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596005113/robsladesinte-21
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596005113/robsladesin03-20
      %P 280 p.
      %T "Windows XP Hacks"

      Chapter one covers startup and shutdown options for the system. The
      material is not always careful about actual names and procedures,
      which may make use of the hacks difficult. Much of the content is
      presented without a great deal of thought or analysis. For example,
      clearing the page file gets mentioned, but not the fact that most
      machines nowadays will have 256 megabytes of main memory or above,
      and, at that level, users can probably improve both security and
      performance by shutting virtual memory off: it simply should not be
      necessary in most situations. The advice to check out services.msc
      for disabling services is good, but not much additional assistance is
      provided. The discussion of the user interface, in chapter two, has
      odd and careless duplications of material, such as hiding desktop
      icons (on page 27), deleting desktop icons (on page 28), and yet again
      in hack #13 on page 44. A great many of the hacks require or
      advertise shareware. The Briefcase gets the usual inadequate
      explanation and there is almost no mention of the extensive
      customization that can be performed on Windows Explorer, in chapter
      three. (And, yes, you *can* put access to the command line on the
      desktop: it's simple.)

      Chapter four provides pretty basic information on the Web (and a very
      poor explanation of cookies). Networking, in chapter five, is random
      and disorganized. There are good tips, but some give just enough
      information to be dangerous. A few items that would be extremely
      useful (like how to have multiple LAN setups for laptops with netsh)
      are not discussed. Chapter six retails pedestrian anti-spam advice
      and shows how to look at headers, but not how to interpret what you
      see. The content on the Registry, in chapter seven, is good, but the
      level of information is not consistent throughout. Chapter eight is
      supposed to be about basic utilities, such as backup and
      defragmentation, but why is instant messaging considered basic? Other
      than replacements for Microsoft Office, chapter nine's material on
      applications offers little of use. Multimedia, in chapter ten, is
      mostly about copying CDs. Chapter eleven's coverage of system
      performance is probably going to be confusing to the average reader,
      and is of questionable utility. Hardware tuning shareware and some
      suggestions for connecting two computers on the cheap makes up chapter
      twelve.

      There is a good deal of interesting and useful content in the book,
      but the quality is inconsistent. This is a random collection of tips
      that is going to have something for pretty much everyone, but also
      probably will not answer the question you want.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2003 BKWNXPHK.RVW 20031120


      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre
      business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable
      obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
      Fennyman: So what do we do?
      Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
      Fennyman: How?
      Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.
      - Shakespeare in Love (1998)
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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