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B O O K S

Tara Calishain, Web Search Garage, Prentice Hall

OK, last one ... for a while anyway. We seemed to have looked at quite a few books lately about Google and the only reason we're looking at this one is that it's by the search geek's geek, Tara Calishain, who Mstation has been sporadically in touch with since she started her website Researchbuzz.com.

Where Google Hacks from O'Reilly's dealt with the power-user, (co-authored by Tara) this book has more of a wide sweep, and takes you from the basics of what's involved on through particular search types such as jobs, music, images and people, and including some sophisticated queries along the way. As such it's fairly ideal for a smart beginner or student interested in being more efficient in their use of web searches and also learning a little about what makes it all tick.

Paul Mutton and various, IRC Hacks, O'Reilly

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) used to be famous for needing a fair bit of reading to get started but over the last few years quite a few GUI apps have appeared that make getting started easy. One of the beauties of IRC is that it is open and extensible and so there are many things that you can add by picking up other people's scripts, or you can add things yourself.

This book has a lot of potentially useful ideas in all sorts of areas, with bots being the primary concern. Bots are autonomous clients that do your bidding all by themselves and from this book you can learn how to write them and what sort of things they commonly do.

One cool thing the book tells you how to do is to use telnet to connect to an irc server and have a session. This should suit GUI haters and/or those running minimal Unix/Linux setups.

The Hacks series format might not be everyone's favorite because it's friendliness for dipping in at random also means that there's a fair bit of repitition which means it's actually a little bit unfriendly for those just reading straight through. That's a minor quibble though: there's lots of good stuff here.

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