REVIEW: "Windows XP Hacks", Preston Gralla
- BKWNXPHK.RVW 20031120
"Windows XP Hacks", Preston Gralla, 2003, 0-596-00511-3,
%A Preston Gralla preston@...
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$24.95/C$38.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
%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
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.
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