Computer underground Digest Tue 6 Apr, 1999 Volume 11 : Issue 22 ISSN 1004-042X Editor: Jim Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org) News Editor: Gordon Meyer (email@example.com) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Loopy Editor: Etaion Shrdlu, III Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Cu Digest Homepage: http://www.soci.niu.edu/~cudigest 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) CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE. TO UNSUB OR CHANGE ADDRESS, SEE ADMINISTRAVIA IN CONCLUDING FILE --------------------------------------------------------------------- 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", BKHAFGOI.RVW 990218 "How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet", Bruce Maxwell, 1999, 1-56802-387-1, U$28.95 %A Bruce Maxwell firstname.lastname@example.org %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 email@example.com %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 Web). 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 BKCPCUMG.RVW 990206 "The Complete PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide", Mark Minasi, 1998, 0-7821-2357-0, U$59.99/C$87.95 %A Mark Minasi firstname.lastname@example.org %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 email@example.com %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 appendices. 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) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Nunc Tutus Exitus Computarus http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade ------------------------------ 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 BKIRHTLC.RVW 990205 "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 Cheryl_McDonald@gale.com %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 guide. 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 BKTELDIR.RVW 990205 "Telecommunications Directory", Ellen Pare, 1999, 0-7876-2135-8, U$400.00 %E Ellen Pare firstname.lastname@example.org %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 Cheryl.McDonald@gale.com %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 Telemanagement. 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", BKPCUEAD.RVW 990214 "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 email@example.com %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. BKPCUEAD.RVW 990214 ------------------------------ 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 BKTMBSSC.RVW 990212 "Time Based Security", Winn Schwartau, 1999, 0-9628700-4-8, U$25.00/C$37.00 %A Winn Schwartau firstname.lastname@example.org %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 BKINWRSC.RVW 990212 "Information Warfare and Security", Dorothy Denning, 1999, 0-201-43303-6, U$34.95/C$52.50 %A Dorothy Denning email@example.com %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 firstname.lastname@example.org %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 BKUNXIMP.RVW 990221 "UNIX for the Impatient", Paul W. Abrahams/Bruce R. Larson, 1996, 0-201-82376-4, U$29.00 %A Paul W. Abrahams email@example.com %A Bruce R. Larson firstname.lastname@example.org %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 email@example.com %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 BKINTCHB.RVW 990220 "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 firstname.lastname@example.org %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, either. 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 BKPNGPCU.RVW 990219 "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 www.michaeldesmond.com %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 http://www.mcp.com %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 all. 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) 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. The editors may be contacted by voice (815-753-6436), fax (815-753-6302) or U.S. mail at: Jim Thomas, Department of Sociology, NIU, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA. 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