Computer underground Digest Sun 21 Feb, 1999 Volume 11 : Issue 11 ISSN 1004-042X Editor: Jim Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org) News Editor: Gordon Meyer (email@example.com) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Copy ediler: Etaion Shrdlu, Jr. Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Cu Digest Homepage: http://www.soci.niu.edu/~cudigest CONTENTS, #11.11 (Sun, 21 Feb, 1999) File 1--REVIEW: "Top Secret Intranet", Fredrick Thomas Martin File 2--REVIEW: "Upgrading and Repairing PCs", Scott Mueller/Craig Zacke File 3--REVIEW: "I Love the Internet But I want My Privacy Too", Chris P File 4--REVIEW: "Stopping Spam", Alan Schwartz/Simson Garfinkel File 5--REVIEW: "HTML: The Definitive Guide", C. Musciano/Bill Kenned File 6--REVIEW: "Fighting Computer Crime", Donn B. Parker File 7--REVIEW: "A History of Modern Computing", Paul E. Ceruzzi File 8--REVIEW: "Naked In Cyberspace", Carole A. Lane File 9--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 10 Jan, 1999) CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 08:37:04 -0800 From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor"
Subject: File 1--REVIEW: "Top Secret Intranet", Fredrick Thomas Martin BKTPSCIN.RVW 990117 "Top Secret Intranet", Fredrick Thomas Martin, 1999, 0-13-080898-9, U$34.99/C$49.95 %A Fredrick Thomas Martin %C One Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 %D 1999 %G 0-13-080898-9 %I Prentice Hall %O U$34.99/C$49.95 800-576-3800, 416-293-3621 %P 380 p. %S Charles F. Goldfarb Series on Open Information Management %T "Top Secret Intranet" Does anyone else think it is ironic that this book is part of a series on *open* information management? No, I didn't think so. Part one is an introduction to Intelink, the intranet connecting the thirteen various agencies involved in the US intelligence community. Chapter one is a very superficial overview of some basics: who are the departments, packet networks, layered protocols, and so forth. The description of Intelink as a combination of groupware, data warehouse, and help desk, based on "commercial, off-the-shelf" (COTS) technology with Internet and Web protocols, in chapter two, should come as no big surprise. Part two looks at the implementation (well, a rather high level design, anyway) of Intelink. Chapter three reviews the various government standards used as reference materials for the system, which boil down to open (known) standards except for the secret stuff, for which we get acronyms. There is a quick look at electronic intruders, encryption, and security policy in chapter four. Various security practices used in the system are mentioned in chapter five, but even fairly innocuous details are lacking. For example, "strong authentication" is discussed in terms of certificates and smartcards, but a challenge/response system that does not send passwords over the net, such as Kerberos, is not, except in the (coded?) word "token." Almost all of chapter six, describing tools and functions, will be immediately familiar to regular Internet users. Chapter seven takes a return look at standards. The case studies in chapter eight all seem to lean very heavily on SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) for some reason. Part three is editorial in nature. Chapter nine stresses the importance of information. (Its centerpiece, a look at statements from some of the Disney Fellows from the Imagineering division is somewhat paradoxically loose with the facts.) The book closes with an analysis of intelligence service "agility," using technology as an answer to everything except interdepartmental rivalries. Probably the most interesting aspect of the book is the existence of Intelink at all, and the fact that it uses COTS components and open standard protocols. (Of course, since it was defence money that seeded the development of the Internet in the first place, one could see Intelink simply as a belated recognition of the usefulness of the product.) For those into the details of the US government's more secretive services there is some mildly interesting information in the book. For those charged with building secure intranets there is some good pep talk material, but little assistance. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKTPSCIN.RVW 990117 ====================== firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Find virus, book info http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm Mirrored at http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/rms.htm Linked to bookstore at http://www97.pair.com/robslade/ Comp Sec Weekly: http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/computer_security Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses, 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER) ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 08:31:37 -0800 From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" Subject: File 2--REVIEW: "Upgrading and Repairing PCs", Scott Mueller/Craig Zacke BKUPRPPC.RVW 981120 "Upgrading and Repairing PCs", Scott Mueller/Craig Zacker, 1998, 0-7897-1636-4, U$54.99/C$78.95/UK#51.49 %A Scott Mueller firstname.lastname@example.org %A Craig Zacker email@example.com %C 201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290 %D 1998 %G 0-7897-1636-4 %I Macmillan Computer Publishing (MCP) %O U$54.99/C$78.95/UK#51.49 800-858-7674 317-581-3743 firstname.lastname@example.org %P 1531 p. + CD-ROM %T "Upgrading and Repairing PCs" There are all kinds of computer help, repair, maintenance, troubleshooting, and upgrading books on the market. A great many try to give you a quick overview of what you need to know. With the personal computer market expanding it's options on a pretty much daily basis, though, generally what you need is more in the line of an encyclopedia. *Your* particular problem tends to be the one left out. This book, however, leaves very little out. Chapter one is a short history of the PC since the first IBM PC in 1981, or actually slightly before. The defining characteristics, and components, of a PC are given in chapter two, including a very realistic overview of the market and major players. Microprocessor information is given in chapter three. However, this chapter is unlike any I have ever seen in another repair or troubleshooting book. There are tables and lists of detailed processor specifications, including the most important for any upgrader--the socket sizes and specifications. The chapter proceeds through conceptual material first and then in turn through all kinds of individual processors, so at first run it can be a bit confusing. The motherboard is covered in chapter four, with form factors, chipsets, the BIOS, interface connectors, and bus sockets. The various types and functions of memory, with attention to practical as well as theoretical details, are described in chapter five. Chapter six gets into the area that possibly causes the most trouble, and therefore has the greatest potential for usefulness, in PC hardware: power supplies, the NVRAM (better known as CMOS) battery, and even UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems. Keyboards and mice are covered in significant detail in chapter seven. Display hardware is outlined in chapter eight, with information on both monitors and adapters. I was slightly disappointed in the lack of detail on audio devices in chapter nine, but only in comparison with the prior material. The content was easily equal to any other general upgrade guide. Chapter ten provides useful specifics on I/O ports, dealing with serial and parallel ports, port replacement technologies, and storage interfaces. Magnetic storage, in chapter twelve, gives very solid information on characteristics, formatting, and installation of drives, and covers tapes and cartridge media as well as the usual floppy and hard drives. Both CD-ROM and DVD systems are covered in depth in chapter thirteen. Chapter fourteen's review of printers is a decent enough overview of the technology, but not as detailed or useful as other sections. There are some interesting points about portable computers in chapter fifteen, but, again, this is not one of the better sections. Chapter sixteen looks at building a system, and, while there is some duplication of material covered in earlier chapters, there is a good deal of new content as well. Diagnostics, testing, and maintenance provides a lot of very practical advice, although the sequence of topics in chapter seventeen can be jumpy at times. (Given the scope of the rest of the book, the dismissal of viruses in a single paragraph is disappointing: and unfortunately consistent with what I have seen in all too many computer retail and repair shops.) The review of software troubleshooting must be, of necessity, limited, but chapter eighteen also demonstrates a much greater comfort with MS-DOS than later Windows systems, and doesn't mention others such as Linux. File systems and data recovery fare much the same in chapter nineteen. Chapter twenty seems to be something of a historical artifact, covering some rather oddball IBM systems up to the XT 286. (Of course, if you have one of these, this chapter is a goldmine.) Some general, but very useful, advice on documenting your system finishes off the book in chapter twenty one. Appendices list a variety of information, probably the most useful being a catalogue of vendor contacts. The entries are quite detailed, although I note a US- centric bias: a number of non-US companies are listed by their American sales office. I can say with assurance that none of the books on upgrading or repair of personal computers has had the scope of this one. This is not simply due to the size, although that certainly helps. The material is readable and clear, and there is very little fluff. Certainly some sections are not quite up to the overall standard, but for the central unit itself, the book is without peer. I can readily agree with the rather effusive book jacket comments: they are not, as I first thought, mere hype. For anyone involved in computer maintenance and repair, be it in a retail or technical support role, this reference has immense value. And for serious hobbyist users, it can provide a great deal of interest, as well as definite help when you need it. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998 BKUPRPPC.RVW 981120 ====================== email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Find virus, book info http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm Mirrored at http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/rms.htm Linked to bookstore at http://www97.pair.com/robslade/ Comp Sec Weekly: http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/computer_security Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses, 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER) ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 08:31:39 -0800 From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" Subject: File 3--REVIEW: "I Love the Internet But I want My Privacy Too", Chris P BKILIWMP.RVW 990110 "I Love the Internet But I want My Privacy Too", Chris Peterson, 1998, 0-7615-1436-8, U$16.95/C$25.00 %A Chris Peterson email@example.com %C 3875 Atherton Road, Rocklin, CA 95765-3716 %D 1998 %G 0-7615-1436-8 %I Prima Publishing %O U$16.95/C$25.00 800-632-8676 916-632-4400 fax: 916-632-1232 %O firstname.lastname@example.org www.primapublishing.com %P 226 p. %T "I Love the Internet But I want My Privacy Too" My wife is the office Information Wizard. Not holding a technical job, she has her finger on the pulse of what goes on and who needs to know about it. She constantly amazes not only her co-workers, but also friends and family, by her ability, given only a name, to get into contact with a person or company within mere minutes. She uses that secret and arcane source of data known to its initiates only as-- the phonebook. Very funny, you say. Well, I have a serious point to make. Three of them, actually. The first is that there is a great deal of publicly available information about you. The second is that most people do not know how to effectively use such information, and so are easily startled by someone who does. Did you know that, given your address, I can find your name and phone number? No, I don't have to use the Internet. I go to the library and look in the "Criss-Cross" directory. Which brings me to my third point: the net is not the be- all and end-all snooping tool. Chapter one rambles over a variety of topics, seemingly concentrating on the fact that some people would like information about you, and that information is available on the Web. Proprietary, and thus not public, databases are discussed in chapter two. Chapter three talks about the information you may trail through cyberspace without knowing it. However, the material has a rather suspect technical background. Besides getting the number of IP addresses wrong, the text confuses chat rooms and Usenet newsgroups, and has a description of cookies that fails at several points. In addition, the "privacy profile" exercise uses a site that has a function dealt with by another site in an unrelated domain. No mention is made of the dangers inherent in this practice. Some stories about information gathering by employers starts out chapter four, but it moves on to a miscellaneous collection of instances of personal harassment and other unpleasantness. Medical information, unrelated to the Internet, is reviewed in chapter five. Chapters six and seven both look at children on the net. The material on pornography is definitely overhyped, to the point of decrying the loss of the Communications Decency Act, but the examination of commercial abuse of children's trust is rather good. A couple of drawbacks of blocking software is mentioned, though not the hidden agendas that some have. Chapter eight looks at some technologies that assist in maintaining privacy, such as anonimizing sites and encryption. The explanations contain a large number of small errors, and ultimately don't do much ot help non-specialists understand the issues. Some US regulations regarding privacy are discussed in chapter nine, although most is unrelated to the net. An Internet extension to the US Social Service Administration is reviewed in chapter ten. More US work on regulations is mentioned in chapter eleven. While the book does discuss a number of issues of privacy related to the Internet, it does so in a ragged and often disorganized manner. Much of the content of the book has nothing to do with the Internet, and some of the material is only just short of hysteria, with little attempt at balance. Technical discussions are either missing or incorrect, and this lack of background degrades the value of the book as a whole. Overall, the level is that of a general magazine article, and is unlikely to be of significant use to the Internet using public. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKILIWMP.RVW 9901101 Free electronic distribution permitted ====================== email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Find virus, book info http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm Mirrored at http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/rms.htm Linked to bookstore at http://www97.pair.com/robslade/ Comp Sec Weekly: http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/computer_security Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses, 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER) ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 11:44:23 -0800 From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" To: email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: File 4--REVIEW: "Stopping Spam", Alan Schwartz/Simson Garfinkel BKSTPSPM.RVW 981030 "Stopping Spam", Alan Schwartz/Simson Garfinkel, 1998, 1-56592-388-X, U$19.95/C$29.95 %A Alan Schwartz email@example.com %A Simson Garfinkel firstname.lastname@example.org %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472 %D 1998 %G 1-56592-388-X %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. %O U$19.95/C$29.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 email@example.com %P 208 p. %T "Stopping Spam" Eternal vigilance is the price of junk free email. Therefore, readers expecting to find a quick fix for spam in this book are possibly going to be disappointed. Those who persevere, however, will find much useful material that is both interesting, and valuable in the fight against unsolicited and commercial mass mail bombing. Chapter one details the problem with a definition of spam, the functionally differing types of spam, the different intention of spam (including reputation attacks), and the reasons why spam should be combatted, rather than merely tolerated and deleted. A historical background to the situation is provided in chapter two. This includes mention of viral programs (plus a repetition of the myth that CHRISTMA EXEC caused a mass shutdown of VNET). the primary emphasis, though, is on the Green Card Lawyers, Cyberpromotions, and others of that ilk. (A warning against vigilante actions is also germane.) The current position is described very briefly in chapter three. Groups of spammers and spamming tools are noted. (Perhaps the authors do not want to give anyone ideas, but the technology section is very terse indeed.) In closing, a nightmare future spam scenario is provided. Chapter four provides a solid technical background for further discussion of spam, covering mail agents and the mail and news protocols. A number of steps that the average computer user can take are listed in chapter five. The range from hiding your identity or preventing address "harvesting" (not all the suggestions are convenient), to the more active detecting of spammers behind spoofing techniques, and reporting to authorities. Similar advice for newsgroups is given in chapter six, emphasizing specific programs like NoCeM. Chapter seven moves into larger areas of responsibility with advice on both policy and practical configuration settings to reduce both incoming and outgoing spam. The larger net community is addressed in chapter eight. An appendix lists a wide variety of resources, but the annotations may not always give you the complete picture. For example, the Spam Media Tracker Web site is listed, but at a relatively old address. This, of course, happens all the time on the net, but it is stranger that there is no mention of the spam-news mailing list, the original (and ongoing) source for the site. It would, or course, be prohibitive to identify all international agencies dealing with spam. However, do note that only US government offices are noted as departments to report to. While understandable, the tone of moral outrage that colours the initial chapters may not be as helpful as a calmer precis. As the book hits its stride, though, it provides a good deal of helpful and useful information. All ISPs (Internet Service Providers), corporate network administrators, and net help desks should have a copy of this reference handy. Any serious Internet user will also find it well worth the price. As the authors put it, in slightly different words, the only thing necessary for the triumph of spammers is that good users do nothing. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998 BKSTPSPM.RVW 981030 ====================== firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Find virus, book info http://victoria.tc.ca/int-grps/techrev/rms.html Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses, 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER) ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 08:12:41 -0800 From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" Subject: File 5--REVIEW: "HTML: The Definitive Guide", C. Musciano/Bill Kenned BKHTMLDG.RVW 981115 "HTML: The Definitive Guide", Chuck Musciano/Bill Kennedy, 1998, 1-56592-492-4, U$32.95/C$46.95 %A Chuck Musciano firstname.lastname@example.org %A Bill Kennedy email@example.com %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472 %D 1998 %G 1-56592-492-4 %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. %O U$32.95/C$46.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 firstname.lastname@example.org %P 608 p. %T "HTML: The Definitive Guide", 3rd edition If you are serious about designing documents and Web pages with HTML (HyperText Markup Language) then you *must* have this book. First of all, it *is* definitive. Many books, though much longer, don't begin to match the depth of this current work. Musciano and Kennedy cover the standard HTML up to 4.0, and, more importantly, include the non-standard extensions of Netscape and Internet Explorer. The basics, text, rules, multimedia, links, lists, forms, tables, frames and more are all thoroughly covered, point by point and attribute by attribute. There is even the SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) DTD (Document Type Definition) for HTML 4.0. (This must be definitive: it's the definition of the language.) Second, it *is* a guide, and a very good one. Lemay's "Web Publishing With HTML" (cf. BKWPHTML.RVW) still holds an edge as the most approachable beginner's introduction to Web page creation, but Musciano and Kennedy can easily welcome the newcomer as well. The structure is logical and the explanations are crystal clear. In spite of all this, the book contains even more. Web design is not given a separate section, but seamlessly permeates every section of the book. Readers are constantly reminded that while extensions may be fun, not everyone in the world has the same browser. Alternative methods are suggested for non-standard effects and functions. Shortcuts, suitable to only one browser or server, are recommended against in order to ensure the utmost compatibility with all systems. The authors no longer have coverage of CGI (Common Gateway Interface) programming, but they do explain the use of email to collect form data, which is much more useful for maintainers of small Web sites without access to extensive server functions. All this, and readable, too. The content is straightforward and lucid. While you might not read this book for laughs, it is not the tome to choose to put yourself to sleep at night, either. I can recommend this book, without reservation, to anyone who wants to learn HTML programming and use. It is, still, the definitive guide and the only one I find I need to keep on my shelf. (The fact that my review has been misquoted on the back cover of the last two editions of this book has had no influence at all on this review.) copyright Robert M. Slade, 1996, 1997, 1998 BKHTMLDG.RVW 981115 ====================== email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Find virus, book info http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm Mirrored at http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/rms.htm Linked to bookstore at http://www97.pair.com/robslade/ Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses, 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER) ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 12:19:41 -0800 From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" Subject: File 6--REVIEW: "Fighting Computer Crime", Donn B. Parker BKFICMCR.RVW 981106 "Fighting Computer Crime", Donn B. Parker, 1998, 0-471-16378-3, U$34.99/C$49.50 %A Donn B. Parker email@example.com %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8 %D 1998 %G 0-471-16378-3 %I John Wiley & Sons, Inc. %O U$34.99/C$49.50 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448 firstname.lastname@example.org %P 512 p. %T "Fighting Computer Crime: A New Framework for Protecting Information" Parker feels that too much of the data security field concentrates on technical answers to the problems of reliability, integrity, and availability of data, and doesn't pay sufficient attention to those people who are deliberately out to read, steal, or ruin your information and systems. Personally, I find it rather ironic that he defines "crimoids," in chapter one, as minor events promoted to much higher significance by the media, and public misperceptions. In the non-specialist realm, more people spend more time worrying about "hackers" than ever back up their drives. (I am reminded of a friend; an intelligent and educated person who started his career programming large and sophisticated information systems and who has now risen to the executive ranks; who has for years refused to get a modem for his home computer. In spite of his frequently expressed desire for access to the Internet, and my repeated assurances that with his current computer and operating system there is no hidden danger, he remains convinced that the mere attachment of a modem to his machine will allow someone to break into his computer and damage it.) Who, then, is this book written for? The author does not say, but what he does say in the preface seems to indicate that he is not writing for those whose business cards make reference to security. (I have neither argument nor inclination to dispute Parker's assertion that security "professionals" do not really deserve the designation.) But if this text is aimed at the general public, chapter one's emphasis on the dangers and lack of protection would seem more inclined to incite further panic, rather than a realistic and measured response. Chapter two is an interesting and useful examination of an often unasked question in the field: what is the nature of the information we are supposedly securing? There are valuable side points, such as both the danger and the opportunity in the security arena presented by the Year 2000 problem. At the same time, I have to note that an erroneous description of the Cascade virus is an example of Parker's asserting points that are just beyond the available facts, and, for me anyway, has an unfortunate effect on the trustworthiness of the work as a whole. The review of cybercrime, in chapter three, has more reference to journalism and other forms of fiction than to reality, but I have to agree with everything said there. Computer misuse and abuse is discussed in chapter four. (As if to make up for chapter two, the section on viruses is very good.) Network misuse is covered in chapter five, and although I still have trouble believing in the reality of salami attacks (Parker's sole example is said to have resulted in a conviction, but no citation is given) I am a bit more willing to accept his broader definition. Chapter six is extremely strong in portraying a realistic and broadly based analysis of characteristics of computer criminals. A similarly informed and balanced approach distinguishes chapter seven, regarding hacker culture, but there is also a universally condemnatory tone that is not wholly justified by the facts as presented. Chapter eight is a very helpful first step for those wanting to deal in the art of computer security. Chapter nine reviews the deficiencies in most current security practices, noting overprotection in some areas while ignoring loopholes in others, and a flowery jargon that serves mostly to hide the fact that security people just don't feel very comfortable with what is going on. However, Parker's new model of security, in chapter ten, while it is very clear and useful, does not extend recent work in, say, electronic commerce. On the one hand, this congruence does support the model, but on the other, one can't really say it is too novel. The popular, but demonstrably incomplete, risk assessment study is de-emphasized in favour of a more difficult, but more realistic, baseline security standard in chapter eleven. Details on how to conduct such a study are very helpfully given in chapter twelve, although the benchmark chart is going to be much harder to come by than is made clear in the text. Chapter thirteen provides a practical and useful set of criteria for determining control objectives. A number of security tactics are detailed in chapter fourteen. Chapter fifteen takes the larger strategic view. (I was delighted to see the inclusion of a section on corporate ethics in this chapter. Recently I contracted to produce a security document for an educational institution, and was told to take the section on ethics out.) Management of security, in chapter sixteen, includes provisions for training, policy, and other factors. Chapter seventeen finishes off with a look to the future. The material, while thought- provoking, is possibly more likely to generate arguments than solutions. Parker's stance on security in general definitely puts him in the camp of the professional paranoids. However, absent the first and last chapters, there is a lot of good, solid knowledge here to help educate any security practitioner. The material in the second half of the book is just as valuable to the security process as the more technical works such as "Practical UNIX and Internet Security" (cf. BKPRUISC.RVW) by Spafford and Garfinkel, albeit in quite a different way. An informed security policy is every bit as important as a good set of "access" controls. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998 BKFICMCR.RVW 981106 ====================== email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Find virus, book info http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm Mirrored at http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/rms.htm Linked to bookstore at http://www97.pair.com/robslade/ Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses, 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER) ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 08:35:41 -0800 From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" To: email@example.com Subject: File 7--REVIEW: "A History of Modern Computing", Paul E. Ceruzzi BKHSMDCM.RVW 981107 "A History of Modern Computing", Paul E. Ceruzzi, 1998, 0-262-03255-4, U$35.00 %A Paul E. Ceruzzi firstname.lastname@example.org %C 55 Hayward Street, Cambridge, MA 02142-1399 %D 1998 %G 0-262-03255-4 %I MIT Press %O U$35.00 800-356-0343 email@example.com www-mitpress.mit.edu %P 398 p. %T "A History of Modern Computing" In the introduction, Ceruzzi sets forth a fairly ambitious scope for the book. Hardware, software, politics, and even major companies like IBM are to be explored. The book concentrates on the United States because of its dominant position in the industry, but does explore significant movements by other powers. (The movements have to be *very* significant, and the exploration is relatively minimal.) The text is not to be a mere catalogue of machines, but will examine meaning and historical moment. (This is evident even in the introduction, where we are told that American dominance of technical commerce is due to the relationship of the US government, and particularly military, to the computer business.) Chapter one looks at the initial movements of the computer in the realm of commerce. The author has made serious attempts to make this more than a listing of machines, with references to meetings and transfer of ideas between designers. There are also mentions of those who tend to be ignored in the popular histories. One example is the note that the first commercial use of UNIVAC came three years after the Lyon's Electronic Office, which is covered in more detail in "LEO: The First Business Computer" (cf. BKLEOFBC.RVW). Still it is hard to say that this does much to extend histories that are already available. The determining characteristic of chapter two appears to be advances in storage technology, both in the move through core to transistors for main memory (and processing) and the disk drive. The chapter is, however, somewhat unfocussed, at one point detailing companies, at another discussing aspects of architecture, and in another listing products. Chapter three covers a lot of ground in its look at software, dealing with compilers and languages, operating systems, intellectual property, and antitrust "unbundling" attempts, all up to the late 1960s. The rise of the minicomputer, documented in chapter four, starts with a long series of instances of mainframe use. Indeed, it is not so much about minis as about DEC, and takes an interesting look at changes in business and technical "culture." Business and market forces in the sixties and early seventies are the main focus of chapter five. Most of chapter six reviews the development and production of semiconductor circuits over the same period, but there is also a brief discussion of the beginnings of computer science education. Chapter seven documents the early days of personal computers, of whatever size, through the seventies. A mix of business startups (and closures) and some significant developments makes up chapter eight. Chapter nine is supposed to concentrate on the eighties and nineties, but the technologies it emphasizes; UNIX, LANs, and the Internet; all had their roots in the late sixties. A brief look at future directions concludes in chapter ten. While interesting and instructive, the work is hardly exhaustive. For example, while in current business terms the importance of the Altair, and the impetus it gave to Microsoft, cannot be disputed, when looking at personal computing as a whole the significance of Apple Corporation is beyond question, yet the Apple ][ and the Macintosh seem to be viewed as mere extensions of existing technology. Ceruzzi has provided an accurate and very balanced review of the past fifty years of computing, as well as good analysis and interesting stories, but nothing much beyond that. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998 BKHSMDCM.RVW 981107 ====================== firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Find virus, book info http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm Mirrored at http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/rms.htm Linked to bookstore at http://www97.pair.com/robslade/ Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses, 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER) ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 08:24:00 -0800 From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" Subject: File 8--REVIEW: "Naked In Cyberspace", Carole A. Lane BKNKDCSP.RVW 981122 "Naked In Cyberspace", Carole A. Lane, 1997, 0-910965-17-X, U$29.95 %A Carole A. Lane %C 462 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897-2126 %D 1997 %G 0-910965-17-X %I Pemberton Press Books/Online Inc. %O U$29.95 800-248-8466 203-761-1466 fax: 203-761-1444 %O firstname.lastname@example.org www.onlineinc.com/pempress %P 544 p. %T "Naked In Cyberspace: How to Find Personal Information Online" Oh, go and stand over in the corner with Senator Exon. Those reading the title (and the promotional reviews in many magazines) might be forgiven for thinking this was an examination of the state of privacy or personal information online. Those who get to the subtitle will probably think that this will tell you how to find personal information on the net. The second group will be a lot closer than the first, but won't really be correct either. Part one is a kind of general introduction to the topic: basically it seems to be a kind of promotional brochure. Chapter one states that information can be valuable (surprise), that information can be accessed in various ways via computers (double surprise), and gives a kind of randomized table of contents for the book. One point to be made is that the text seems to hold "cyberspace" and "online" as synonymous with "involves a computer," since chapter two starts talking about searching databases by emphasizing the importance of the speed of your computer. It goes on to talk about CD-ROMs, give a minimalist description of boolean logic, pass briefly over the fact that computer databases may contain mistakes (many estimates suggest that a quarter to a third of all such records are in error), and finishes by extolling the virtues of information brokers. The author is obviously not comfortable with searching for information on the Internet: we are told of all kinds of trivial information (nothing important) that can be found on the net, but never how, in chapter three. Chapter four suggests that you can find information about people from proprietary databases, and finishes with a hard-hitting, in-depth investigation of Ross Perot--using the information found on his promotional Web site! The obligation to talk about privacy is given a token nod in chapter five, which primarily emphasizes the fact that information obtainable via computer could be obtained other ways so don't gimme no grief about this book, OK? Part two looks at what you might use record searching for. Chapter six looks at finding people, but almost as soon as it starts it admits that the options in this category are too many, and that it can only give you a random, and extremely limited, sampling. Pre-employment screening is discussed in chapter seven, but almost none of it relates to computer accessible records at all. Recruiting is limited to searching online (and usually commercial) resume banks in chapter eight. The job related newsgroups aren't mentioned at all, and there is no talk of using topical searches to find specialist skills. Tenant screening is limited to credit referencing (which it doesn't tell you how to do) in chapter nine. Chapter ten lists some proprietary databases where you might be able to find out about assets, and has a much longer section dealing with assets that you won't be able to find. "Competitive Intelligence" (aka "industrial espionage"?) again has nothing to say about computers (and very little to say at all) in chapter eleven. (Appropriate number, don't you think?) There are some proprietary databases, and even some publicly available resources, in chapter twelve for finding experts in different fields, although, again, only a tiny sample. How to find rich people to hit up for charity is minuscule in chapter thirteen. The review of private investigation doesn't give you any resources beyond how to contact PI professional groups. Part three looks at types of personal records. These include chapters on biographies, general indices, telephone directories, staff and professional directories, mailing lists, news, photographic images, quotations, bank records, credit and financial records, consumer credit records, criminal justice records, motor vehicles, death, tax records, medical and insurance records, public records, adoption, celebrity, genealogical records, political records, and demographic records. Most of the information is contained in proprietary databases, and much of it is not available via computer at all, let alone online. The best chapter, in terms of comprehensive and useful guidance combined with accessible data, is on genealogy. The remainder of the book is essentially appendices, listing related books, periodicals, organizations, and databases. Basically, this work spends a lot of time suggesting that you *can* find information out about people, and doesn't put much effort into telling you how you can. There is a heavy reliance on commercial information services, and, as noted, not all of the information sources are available to you from home, let alone via the Internet. A great deal of data relating to the topics covered *can* be found on the Internet, but the author does not appear to be aware of that. If you want to set yourself up as an information broker, this text might get you started. The contact information for the various database sources is useful, although you can find the same at your local library. Which may be available online. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998 BKNKDCSP.RVW 981122 ====================== email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Find virus, book info http://victoria.tc.ca/int-grps/techrev/rms.htm Mirrored at http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade/rms.htm Linked to bookstore at http://www97.pair.com/robslade/ Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses, 0-387-94663-2 (800-SPRINGER) ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 22:51:01 CST From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 9--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 10 Jan, 1999) Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically. CuD is available as a Usenet newsgroup: comp.society.cu-digest Or, to subscribe, send post with this in the "Subject:: line: SUBSCRIBE CU-DIGEST Send the message to: email@example.com DO NOT SEND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO THE MODERATORS. 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