Computer underground Digest Sun Apr 6 1999 Volume 11 : Issue 22

Computer underground Digest    Tue  6 Apr, 1999   Volume 11 : Issue 22
                           ISSN  1004-042X

       Editor: Jim Thomas (
       News Editor: Gordon Meyer (
       Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
       Loopy Editor:       Etaion Shrdlu, III
       Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
                          Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
                          Ian Dickinson
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CONTENTS, #11.22 (Tue, 6 Apr, 1999)

File 1--REVIEW: "How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet",
File 2--REVIEW: "The Complete PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide", Mark Mi
File 3--REVIEW: "D&B/Gale Reference Handbooks: Telecommunications", Stac
File 4--REVIEW: "Telecommunications Directory", Ellen Pare
File 5--REVIEW: "The PC User's Essential Accessible Pocket Dictionary",
File 6--REVIEW: "Time Based Security", Winn Schwartau, 1999
File 7--REVIEW: "Information Warfare and Security", Dorothy Denning
File 8--REVIEW: "UNIX for the Impatient", Paul W. Abrahams/Bruce R. Lars
File 9--REVIEW: "Internetworking Technologies Handbook", Kevin Downes et
File 10--REVIEW: "Peter Norton's Complete Guide to PC Upgrades", Peter No
File 11--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 10 Jan, 1999)


Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 08:27:26 -0800
From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Subject: File 1--REVIEW: "How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet",


"How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet", Bruce Maxwell,
1999, 1-56802-387-1, U$28.95
%A   Bruce Maxwell
%C   1414 22nd Street N.W., Washington, DC   20037
%D   1999
%G   1-56802-387-1 ISSN 1088-7466
%I   Congressional Quarterly Inc.
%O   U$28.95 800-638-1710 fax 202-887-6706
%P   328 p.
%S   Washington Online
%T   "How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet, 4th ed."

For those interested in (the U.S.) government, and access to its
information, Maxwell has provided a very useful compendium of
addresses.  As he admits, this is not an exhaustive list to U.S.
federal government systems available through the Internet, but it
definitely gives a good, broad starting field.  University and other
sites with a specialized interest in the government are listed,
although these are taking up less space as the directory expands, and
concentrates more directly on those sites provided by the government.

The reader is expected to be reasonably familiar with the Internet
use: the information given in the introduction is intended only to
help keep the listings brief.  The site descriptions do note the type
of access method (increasingly, of course, this is the World Wide

All of that would be extremely valuable for those interested in
government and access to information, but since the feds have fingers
in just about every pie, there is much more.  The various departments
provide information on access to information, agriculture, arts and
museums, business, children and families, defense, computers,
demographics, education, emergency response, energy, environment,
foreign affairs, medicine, history, employment, law, technology,
space, and transportation.  Government sites often provide the most
informative content to be found in the net.  Maxwell has added to this
with a very useful index: I didn't really expect to find anything
under computer viruses but was pleasantly surprised to note a third
site from a government department has taken an interest.

For the avid U.S. government watcher, an essential.  For the serious
Internet information gatherer, regardless of nationality, a very
useful resource.

(Sigh.  Yes, it does tell you where to find the Starr report.)

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1995 - 1999   BKHAFGOI.RVW   990218


From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 08:32:22 -0800
Subject: File 2--REVIEW: "The Complete PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide", Mark Mi


"The Complete PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide", Mark Minasi, 1998,
0-7821-2357-0, U$59.99/C$87.95
%A   Mark Minasi
%C   1151 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA   94501
%D   1998
%G   0-7821-2357-0
%I   Sybex Computer Books
%O   U$59.99/C$87.95 800-227-2346 Fax: 510-523-2373
%P   1559 p. + 2 CD-ROM
%T   "The Complete PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide, Ninth Edition"

Chapter one lists a lot of interface standards, with a little bit of
discussion on some pros and cons.  Although it is somewhat
disorganized, chapter two has excellent advice and descriptions of
disassembling and removing parts of the PC.  Chapter three is
enormous, looking at CPUs, memory structure, expansion buses, and
peripherals.  A very useful section is the set of figures showing the
configuration of external connectors for a variety of expansion cards.
A few of the common physical causes of computer problems are described
in chapter four.  Some generic troubleshooting guidelines, and a lot
of war stories, are in chapter five.  Chapters six through twelve look
at the configuration of new cards and boards, chip removal and
exchange, memory modules, power supplies and protection, hard disk
structure, hard disk installation, and the FAT (File Allocation Table)
file system structure used by MS-DOS.  Much of the material shows
definite signs of dating.  Preventive maintenance for your hard disk,
in chapter thirteen, has its good and bad points, but two stand out:
the section of viruses is extensive, and extensively bad, and the
instructions for backing up your master boot record with DEBUG can be
profoundly useful.  There is a lot of good information in chapter
fourteen, but much of the disk recovery advice relies on specific
programs that may not be available to the reader.  Chapters fifteen
through seventeen discuss floppy drives, SCSI (Small Computer Systems
Interface), and printer troubleshooting, with a fair number of gaps in
the material.  There is a lot of conceptual content on laser printers
but missing practical advice in chapter eighteen.  Peripherals are
dealt with somewhat tersely with chapters nineteen to twenty four
looking at modems, keyboards and mice, displays, sound, video capture,
and CD-ROM in turn.  There is also "how to buy" advice, some points on
notebooks, and a confused section on using the Internet to get
computer information in the three closing chapters.  As well, a vendor
contact list and a table of hard drive specs is included among the

The book is quite readable and even amusing.  There is a lot of
information in the text, a great deal of it useful.  However, there is
not the consistency of value that is presented, for example, in
Mueller's "Upgrading and Repairing PCs" (cf. BKUPRPPC.RVW).  While
this book is an improvement over many that I have seen over the years,
I could not recommend it unreservedly.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKCPCUMG.RVW   990206

======================  (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
                     Nunc Tutus Exitus Computarus    or


Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 08:38:37 -0800
From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Subject: File 3--REVIEW: "D&B/Gale Reference Handbooks: Telecommunications", Stac


"D&B/Gale Reference Handbooks: Telecommunications", Stacy A.
McConnell/Linda D. Hall, 1998, 0-7876-3005-5, U$99.00
%E   Stacy A. McConnell
%E   Linda D. Hall
%C   27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI   48331-3535
%D   1998
%G   0-7876-3005-5
%I   The Gale Group
%O   U$99.00 800-877-4253 fax: 248-699-8061
%P   893 p.
%S   Industry Reference Handbooks
%T   "D&B/Gale Reference Handbooks: Telecommunications"

Telecommunications, for the purposes of this reference, covers
eighteen Standard Industry Classifications (SICs).  (The newer North
American Industry Classification System codes are not used due to
business inertia, but a conversion table is provided.)  This casts a
somewhat wider net than some might suppose, including radio and
television broadcasting and movie production.  As one might assume
from the classification system, the content is based on US activity,
although international enterprises have a bearing both on technical
and business aspects.

Chapter one is a general overview, looking at history, a terse set of
only four biographies of "pioneers," projections for various
technologies, and a quick review of industry leading companies.
Chapter two gives snapshot business statistics by industry category,
while three presents financial norms and ratios.  The largest section
is chapter four, a company directory.  The companies listed are then
ranked by sales and then employment in chapter five.  Chapter six
looks at mergers and acquisitions, which are fast and furious in the
telecom sector.  The choice of associations, in chapter seven, is
rather odd.  While all of the companies listed earlier are American,
the groups come from all over.  In addition, there seems to be a very
high proportion of outfits like the "Hogan's Heros Fan Club."  The
list of consultants seems to be limited to the US and Canada in
chapter eight.  Entitled "Trade Information Sources," chapter nine
comprises periodicals of various types with some listing of
associations, and even a few books.  There is no distinction between
these types, so entries must be read carefully for clues.  Chapter ten
lists trade shows, but not completely.  As one example, of the Comdex
"family" of shows, only Comdex/Egypt and Comdex/Rio are listed.  An
extensive index is followed by the SIC/NAICS-NAICS/SIC conversion

While one can sympathize with the desire to keep this work within
manageable limits, the exclusion of non-US companies is regrettable,
especially considering the international nature of telecommunications
today.  Much of the material is based on self-reporting, and therefore
you won't find any surprises within.  At times there are obvious gaps,
while in other places there are equally glaring duplications.  Still,
for those deeply involved in the business side of telecommunications
this work has a great deal of value.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKIRHTLC.RVW   990205


Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 06:56:11 -0800
From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Subject: File 4--REVIEW: "Telecommunications Directory", Ellen Pare


"Telecommunications Directory", Ellen Pare, 1999, 0-7876-2135-8,
%E   Ellen Pare
%C   27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI   48331-3535
%D   1999
%G   0-7876-2135-8
%I   The Gale Group
%O   U$400.00 800-877-4253 fax: 248-699-8061
%P   1237 p.
%S   Industry Reference Handbooks
%T   "Telecommunications Directory Tenth Edition, 1999"

Sticking closely to traditional ideas of telecommunications, this
volume lists organizations in the fields of audiotex, cellular
communications, electronic mail, facsimile, Internet access provision,
local area networks, local exchange carriers, microwave networks,
personal communications services, satellite services, shared-tenant
services, teleconferencing, telegram and telex, transactional
services, videotex and teletext, voice and data communications, and
voicemail or voice processing.  The descriptive listings cover 700
pages, with contact information, brief organizational data, and
description.  There may also be subordinate product listings.  The
indices are almost as long as the listings themselves, and there are
four: by function or service, geographic, personal names, and master
name and keyword.

Based on self-report, the listings can be only as good as the
information provided.  I noticed missing entries almost immediately:
even such entities as the Internet Engineering Task Force and W3 are
missing.  When I came to the British Columbia section of the
geographic index was startled at how very few of the
telecommunications related companies and institutions in the area were
represented.  My former long distance carrier is not listed, nor is
UBC, nor is SFU, nor is Vancouver CommunityNet.  Victoria
TelecommunityNet is there, along with the various entities Gary
Shearman has spun off over the years.  Well, he deserves the exposure.
The listings themselves are generally good, although I notice that
there is some variation in what counts as a separate product:
Telemanagement magazine is buried in the listing for Angus

There is a short glossary included.  Unfortunately, this is hardly
worth being described as such.  An enormous number of important new
technologies are completely missing.  The definitions given are short,
barely explanatory, and frequently wrong.  (ATM packets are 48 bytes
of data *plus* the five byte header, for a total of 53.  Yes, there is
a listing for "virus," and it is wrong.)

For all its flaws, this volume does provide a valuable resource to
those in the telecommunications industry.  While not exhaustive, or
even really complete, it does provide a starting point for contacts in
a variety of areas of telecommunications work in a variety of
geographic locations.  (Unlike the "Industry Reference Handbook:
Telecommunications" [cf. BKIRHTLC.RVW] this volume does have entries
from around the world.)  The descriptions are fairly complete, and the
contact information supplies not only addresses and telephone numbers,
but names, email, and even Web sites.  From which you can probably
link to all the missing outfits.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKTELDIR.RVW   990205


Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 08:36:35 -0800
From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Subject: File 5--REVIEW: "The PC User's Essential Accessible Pocket Dictionary",


"The PC User's Essential Accessible Pocket Dictionary", Peter Dyson,
1995, 0-7821-1684-1, U$14.99/C$21.00
%A   Peter Dyson
%C   1151 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA   94501
%D   1995
%G   0-7821-1684-1
%I   Sybex Computer Books
%O   U$14.99/C$21.00 800-227-2346 Fax: 510-523-2373
%P   643 p.
%T   "The PC User's Essential Accessible Pocket Dictionary"

The introduction defines the audience for the book fairly specifically
in that they are PC users as opposed to those dealing with mainframes.
The reader is assumed to be working with a PC, but not necessarily a
technical expert or professional.  If that is the case, isn't
"adaptive differential pulse code modulation" or discussion of the A20
line just a little bit too technical for those users?  And "Cray?"
This is a PC?  "Data dictionary" is not normally a term used in
microcomputer circles.

The material is not completely Wintel based, as there are some entries
like "CDEV" that come from the Mac world.  However, errors in these
entries do seem to make clear that the author is more comfortable in
the PC arena than in any other.

One aspect that rather jumps out is the inclusion of a large
proportion of entries for commercial programs or software companies.
In quick succession we get listings for "After Dark," "AMD," "Ami
Pro," and "Artisoft."  I like the fact that, with entries like
"Altair," there is a bit of historical background.  (I'm not sure that
Bill Gates would appreciate the perpetuation of the perception that
Microsoft BASIC "was packaged" with the computer.)

The definition of "active partition" I find a bit frightening, in that
I would not want to encourage people who want to change operating
systems to fool around with FDISK.  Some of the entries are a little
esoteric: a "mickey" is used as the quantum measurement of mouse
movement, but not in general conversation.  "Radio button" tells you
to see also the much less frequently cited "option button."  This
reference is a bust in any case, since my copy was missing pages 405
to 436, and thus the whole of "O."

In general terms this dictionary isn't bad, though.  Overall the
choice of terms has merit, and the explanations don't contain too
many, or too egregious, errors.  The readability is normally pitched
at the right level, and has enough information to satisfy those who
are primarily interested in the technology, but on getting back to
work.  While it certainly isn't essential, I can go along with the
accessible part.



Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 10:06:34 -0800
From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Subject: File 6--REVIEW: "Time Based Security", Winn Schwartau, 1999


"Time Based Security", Winn Schwartau, 1999, 0-9628700-4-8,
%A   Winn Schwartau
%C   11511 Pine St. N., Seminole, FL   34642
%D   1999
%G   0-9628700-4-8
%I   Inter.Pact Press
%O   U$25.00/C$37.00 813-393-6600 fax: 813-393-6361
%P   174 p.
%T   "Time Based Security"

The idea is simple, and even elegant.  Given enough time and
resources, somebody is going to be able to crack whatever security you
put in place.  Therefore, instead of building ever bigger and more
imposing (and expensive) walls, balance how long it will take someone
to get through the wall against how long it will take you to figure
out that digging is going on and how long it will take you to stick a
fire hose down a putative gopher hole.

The idea isn't, of course, radically new.  Community policing officers
have been saying the same thing in public security seminars for years.
Make the bad guy take longer to get in, and you'll have more time for
someone to notice, or for us to get there.

Implementation, though, is not quite so simple.  Especially when you
are dealing with something as complex as a publicly accessible and
networked computer system.

Chapter one is a general promotion for the Time Based Security (TBS)
model, which hasn't been presented yet.  The introduction's cry that
we never have enough time and have to move ever faster is reiterated
in chapter two, along with another assurance that Time Based Security
is what we need.  The demise of the big, limited, simple to protect
computer is bemoaned in chapter three.  Chapter four says that the
fortress mentality never did work, and besides, we want people (some
people) to access our systems for some purposes.  (Were it not for the
fact that the chapters are so short, and the vague idea that we are
getting closer to TBS, I would be getting a little impatient about
now.)  Sorry, but chapter five goes into the shortest history of
computer security I think I've ever seen, six says it didn't work, and
seven runs us right back to Jesse James.  But by the end of chapter
seven, we are at least pointed in the right direction: the security of
a container is a comparison between the time the bad guys need to get
in, and the time the good guys need to get there.  This is repeated in
a different form in chapter eight.  Chapters nine to eleven repeatedly
formularize this, pointing out that you need to measure your
protection in terms of time to fail, and that the time taken to detect
a problem, plus the time taken to effectively respond to it, must be
less than the time the protection provides.  Schwartau gets into a lot
more detail, though for only one situation, with a questionnaire in
chapter twelve.

Chapter thirteen starts to get into the complexity of things, looking
at the variable amounts of damage that can be done in a given amount
of time.  Fourteen looks at costs of attacks while fifteen talks about
the value of data.  The title of chapter sixteen seems to indicate
that some things don't need protecting, while the content looks more
like some things cannot be exposed to any level of risk.  Recursion of
detection is promoted in seventeen.  I think that chapter eighteen is
suggesting that you use multiple barriers to stop intruders.  But I'm
not very sure of that.  Nineteen and twenty seem to be saying that you
should protect vital points with greater security, and try to avoid
"single points of failure."

Chapter twenty one looks at improving the reaction time.  Twenty two
stresses the importance of taking a long time to look at all the
options in order to assess your security.  (This is in rather stark
contradiction to the promises on the cover and in the introduction
that TBS was going to provide a shortcut.)  A few options to increase
protection get some detail in twenty three while increased detection
is looked at in twenty four.  A metric is achievable with TBS, but
chapter twenty five does rather gloss over the work you will have to
go to in order to accomplish it.

Chapter twenty six talks about denial of service, but does not really
integrate it with the TBS concept.  Some infowar classes are used to
repeat the adjuration to put protection where it is most needed in
chapter twenty seven.  Twenty eight suggests that deception is a good
protective tool.  (Sounds just a tad like security by obscurity, but
we'll let it go, shall we?)  The final chapter again promises that TBS
will give you measurable security.

The concept is sound.  The implementation is left as an exercise to
the reader.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKTMBSSC.RVW   990212


Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 08:44:02 -0800
From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Subject: File 7--REVIEW: "Information Warfare and Security", Dorothy Denning


"Information Warfare and Security", Dorothy Denning, 1999,
0-201-43303-6, U$34.95/C$52.50
%A   Dorothy Denning
%C   P.O. Box 520, 26 Prince Andrew Place, Don Mills, Ontario M3C 2T8
%D   1999
%G   0-201-43303-6
%I   Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
%O   U$34.95/C$52.50 800-822-6339 Fax 617-944-7273
%P   522 p.
%T   "Information Warfare and Security"

Denning has chosen to take an inclusive approach to the topic of
information warfare, not limiting the material to attacks on
"military" targets.  Given the state of physical warfare, this seems
to be quite realistic.  It does mean that the book tends to read like
a high level computer security text (small wonder) with an emphasis on
intrusions and the more overt aspects of computer crime.

Part one is a foundation and background for the material to come.
Chapter one looks at the great many information aspects to the Gulf
War and Operation Desert Storm.  One of the unusual factors reviewed
is that of propaganda, or "perception management."  A theory of
infowar is the intent of chapter two, which outlines players and
positions in a variety of ways.  The theory is somewhat weakened for
being strongly dependent upon the idea of the value of the information
being attacked or defended, and this is an area that still requires
work.  Another possibly problematic area is the reliance on a "win-
lose" model for data warfare, when there have been numerous instances
of intruders, upon sufficient provocation, being willing to deny
themselves a resource by damaging it, on the basis that the defenders
stand to lose far more.  (On the other hand, "bragging rights" seem to
have a lot of value in the computer underground.)  More detail on the
players involved, and the possible types of attacks that have
occurred, and might occur, are presented in chapter three.

Part two looks at the specifics of offensive information warfare.
Chapter four is extremely interesting, showing that "open source," or
publicly available information, can and has been used for offensive
and criminal undertakings in a variety of ways.  Disinformation is
reviewed in chapter five, including the odd phenomenon of urban
legends and Internet hoaxes.  The problem of damage from insiders,
including, finally, a documented case of a salami attack (albeit a
rather clumsy one), is covered in chapter six.  Chapter seven
discusses the interception of information and communications in a
variety of ways, and, as a sideline, jamming and alteration.  A
variety of methods of computer intrusion are presented in chapter
eight.  False identity, both  identity theft and outright false, are
examined in chapter nine.  The material on viruses and worms, in
chapter ten, is solid, although I was sorry to see that a great many
possibilities for reproductive mayhem that have been discussed over
the years went unmentioned.  ("Harlie," Dr. Denning.  "When *HARLIE*
Was One.")  (Of course, when I sent the first draft, I had, myself,
spelled "Harlie" incorrectly.)

Part three looks at the opposite side, that of defence.  Chapter
eleven gives a good background to encryption, but, seemingly,
primarily as a general concept, rather than going into detail on
specific uses for protection.  Authentication is dealt with in chapter
twelve, and uses some of the cryptologic background.  With monitoring
and detection bracketing chapter thirteen, the section on firewalls
seems just slightly misplaced.  Chapter fourteen looks at risk
analysis, planning, and some resources.  The final chapter discusses
defence of the nation, and national policy in this regard, with
particular emphasis on the current situation in the US.

The content of this book not only presents a clear picture of a number
of aspects of information warfare, but does so in a very practical
manner, informed by the need to use "real world" examples.  In
addition, the anecdotal evidence backing the material makes the book
quite readable and interesting.  As a text for a course in information
warfare, it is complete and solidly based.  As a reference for
security analysts and practitioners, it is clear and thought-
provoking.  For those who may merely have some interest in the topic,
it is engaging and informative.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKINWRSC.RVW   990212


Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 08:35:16 -0800
From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Subject: File 8--REVIEW: "UNIX for the Impatient", Paul W. Abrahams/Bruce R. Lars


"UNIX for the Impatient", Paul W. Abrahams/Bruce R. Larson, 1996,
0-201-82376-4, U$29.00
%A   Paul W. Abrahams
%A   Bruce R. Larson
%C   P.O. Box 520, 26 Prince Andrew Place, Don Mills, Ontario M3C 2T8
%D   1996
%G   0-201-82376-4
%I   Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
%O   U$29.00 416-447-5101 fax: 416-443-0948
%P   824 p.
%T   "UNIX for the Impatient, Second Edition"

This is a no-nonsense, bare bones (you can always tell when something
has been typeset using troff), hold the handholding kind of book.  It
is written for the intelligent reader who has some familiarity with
computers.  It is not for dummies, not for the timid, not for those
who need lots of screen shots (preferably graphical) between the big
words.  It is of those who have work to do, have a 10 am Monday
deadline, and have been given a UNIX workstation or terminal.  It is,
in fact, for the impatient.

Chapter one is a quick history of UNIX, in the same spare style as the
rest of the book.  It ends with the beginning, as it were, with the
login process and some basic commands to get started.  (One minor
quibble: it *doesn't* tell you how to get out.  Although usually if
you give enough flush commands ...)  UNIX concepts are generally
explained piecemeal as new commands come up that require them.  The
background here is provided in chapter two, allowing the reader to
obtain, very quickly, an overall grasp of how the system, well,
operates.  File operations are discussed thoroughly in chapter three.
The command entries, while not effusive, list all relevant switches,
and give examples where necessary.  Chapter four deals with data
manipulation and filters, including an extensive tutorial on awk.  A
variety of utilities are outlined in chapter five.  Shells and shell
scripts, concentrating on the Korn and POSIX shells, are discussed in
chapter six, with other shells in chapter seven.  Standard editors are
covered in chapter eight, with emacs saved for chapter nine, and emacs
utilities in ten.  Chapter eleven details various mail programs, with
a brief mention of news.  Both Internet and Usenet programs are
reviewed in chapter twelve, with Internet predominating.  The X
windowing system, and some utilities, are described in chapter
thirteen.  Chapter fourteen goes through system management and
administration tools.

Appendix A is an alphabetical list of commands, plus a brief listing
of command syntax and usage.  The comparison of MS-DOS and UNIX,
particularly the command equivalents, could be helpful in getting
intermediate or advanced DOS users up to speed on UNIX.  However,
given the differences in cultures and styles between the systems, the
authors may be trying to condense it too much.  I have seen it done
much better elsewhere.  A set of resources and references is a
valuable adjunct in Appendix C, especially with annotations.

For the intermediate computer user wanting to get working with UNIX
this is a very helpful, complete, and solid work.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKUNXIMP.RVW   990221


From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 08:37:13 -0800
Subject: File 9--REVIEW: "Internetworking Technologies Handbook", Kevin Downes et


"Internetworking Technologies Handbook", Kevin Downes et al, 1998,
1-57870-102-3, U$50.00/C$71.95
%A   Kevin Downes
%A   Merilee Ford
%A   H. Kim Lew
%A   Steve Spanier
%A   Time Stevenson
%C   201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN   46290
%D   1998
%G   1-57870-102-3
%I   Macmillan Computer Publishing (MCP)
%O   U$50.00/C$71.95 800-858-7674 317-581-3743
%P   856 p.
%T   "Internetworking Technologies Handbook, Second Edition"

The preface says that the book supports administrators installing
Cisco networking products.  But it also says that the content is for
anyone seeking to understand internetworking.  This somewhat
schizophrenic direction is readily apparent in part one, whose six
chapters purport to be an introduction to internetworking.  On the one
hand, the text seems to take the most simplistic possible route
linking what appear to be already prepared sets of figures.  On
occasion, however, we are presented with a flurry or poorly explained
thickets of standards numbers and TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms).
Ultimately, very little is properly illuminated for the reader.  Part
two looks at some LAN standards, presenting quick outtakes from
partial Ethernet, FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface), and token
ring specs.  Frame relay, High-Speed Serial Interface, ISDN
(Integrated Services Digital Network), PPP (Point to Point Protocol),
SMDS (Switched Multimegabit Data Service), xDSL (various forms of
Digital Subscriber Line), SDLC (Synchronous Data Link Control), X.25,
multiservice technologies, and Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are
summed up in almost less space than it takes to list them in part
three.  Switching, in part four, is quite variable: ATM (Asynchronous
Transfer Mode) and data-link switching get a level of detail
completely unsupported by the previous material while LAN switching is
dismissed in five pages.  Part five looks at various, mostly vendor
supplied, networking protocols, including Appletalk, DECnet, SNA
(Systems Network Architecture), TCP/IP, NetWare, OSI (Open System
Interconnection), Vines, and XNS (Xerox Network Systems).  (The review
of TPC/IP actually isn't half bad.)  Border Gateway Protocol (BGP),
Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (IGRP), SNA routing, IP multicast,
NetWare Link Services Protocol (NLSP), OSI routing, Open Shortest Path
First (OSPF), Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP), Routing
Information Protocol (RIP), and a discussion of quality of service
make up the look at routing in part six.  Part seven, on the other
hand, is a very good introduction to Internet access issues for the
non-professional, with reasonable reviews of security, directory
services, and, to a lesser extent, caching.  Network management
returns to the earlier inconsistent approach in its treatment of IBM
network management, RMON (Remote Monitoring), and SNMP (Simple Network
Management Protocol) in part eight.

Some vendor sponsored books manage to rise above their origins.  This
is not one that does.  While the text is mercifully free of marketing
and promotion, the material is suitable for neither the newcomer
looking for concepts and insight or the professional looking for hard
data.  The title really cannot be said to be justified on any level.
I can't recommend it for those not installing Cisco products, and I
really doubt that it could be honestly recommended to Cisco customers,

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKINTCHB.RVW   990220


Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 08:21:34 -0800
From: "Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor" 
Subject: File 10--REVIEW: "Peter Norton's Complete Guide to PC Upgrades", Peter No


"Peter Norton's Complete Guide to PC Upgrades", Peter Norton/Michael
Desmond, 1999, 0-672-31483-5, U$29.99/C$42.95/UK#26.95
%A   Peter Norton
%A   Michael Desmond
%C   201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN   46290
%D   1999
%G   0-672-31483-5
%I   Macmillan Computer Publishing (MCP)
%O   U$29.99/C$42.95/UK#26.95 800-858-7674
%P   752 p.
%T   "Peter Norton's Complete Guide to PC Upgrades, Second Edition"

Part one is an introduction, but it's really more of a once-over-
lightly than a set of background materials.  Successive chapters
provide a "what is a PC" (with a very heavy emphasis on PC99, bringing
to mind the MPC of yore), a look at Windows 9x (saying that it's
"secure"!), a rather tentative review of what you can upgrade, some
troubleshooting tips, and a wee bit of a buyer's guide.  Base
components are discussed in part two, looking at CPUs, memory, power,
and motherboards.  The material is not very detailed, with
recommendations seeming to be made by fiat.  Much the same is true of
the storage content, with drives, controllers, and tapes being loosely
covered in parts three and four.  In the same vein, part five's scan
of multimedia tells you that a lot of neat stuff is available, but
tends to be shy on detail, and not to warn you about potential
pitfalls down the road.  Part six's look at connectivity just seems to
presume it will all work, a dubious assumption at best when dealing
with communications.  The final section in part seven collects
leftover bits like printers, keyboards, cameras, and scanners.

Reading back through that, I have left the impression that there is no
content to this book at all.  At 750 pages, of course, that isn't
true.  However, while there is lots of discussion, it is truly
astonishing how little hard information is contained in the book.  And
every time I went looking for a point in regard to specific problems I
have had in recent years, it wasn't there.  The overall impression I
get from the book is of an oversized edition of "The Computer
Shopper," with relatively few products and even less price info.

On the first page of the first chapter, we are told that "no one
knew," in 1981, that the IBM PC would make a big splash.  While nobody
could have predicted the specifics and size of the current computer
market, everybody knew, as soon as IBM made the announcement, that the
PC was going to be big.  (There is also a fairly wide of the mark
misrepresentation of the deal with Microsoft for MS-DOS.)  There will,
of course, be those who object to my raising these points in this
review, since the book is a technical reference, and not a history.
That observation is true.  However, the historical inaccuracies simply
serve as the first examples I saw of a rather cavalier attitude
towards research, substance, and definitude.  Since the text is
directed at those who do not have a serious background in computing,
and have to rely on its information, it is difficult to recommend a
work that starts off by getting it wrong.

In fact, I really don't think I can recommend this book at all.  Short
works like Myles White's "How to Avoid Buying a New Computer" (cf.
BKHTABNC.RVW) are thin on the ground, and a bit venerable, but this
book isn't that small anyway.  In view of the huge superiority of
Mueller and Zacker's "Upgrading and Repairing PCs" (cf. BKUPRPPC.RVW)
in only twice the pages, I cannot see an advantage for this book at

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKPNGPCU.RVW   990219


Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 22:51:01 CST
From: CuD Moderators 
Subject: File 11--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 10 Jan, 1999)

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