Mstation Book Reviews
pre Dec 04 reviews are here
Fri, 28 Jan 2005
Andy Hertzfield, Revolution in the Valley: the insanely great story of how the Mac was made, hardback, O'Reilly
This is pretty cool. We get a protagonist's view of a lot of the process that led on from the fabled visit to Xerox-PARC by Steve J and Bill G and culminated in the production of Apple's Lisa and, more groundbeakingly, the more affordable Macintosh and later on ... Windows. It puts me in mind of Tracey Kidder's wonderful account of the making of a Data General minicomputer. That was called Soul of New Machine and was published in the eighties. That book is also mentioned in this book and the awareness shows. This one is not as tightly scripted as New Machine but it is very nicely put together all the same. What we have is the human voyage from idea to culmination with a lot of detail of both what was happening technically and what was happening with the humans concerned. Hertzfield takes quite a balanced view of their leader, Steve Jobs. Both his leadership and sometime generosity of heart are presented along with his more sociopathic tendencies. One great anecdote relates how Steve Jobs would often park in the space for handicapped people. One day as he "brusquely" walked past Jean-Louis Gassee, JG allegedly remarked "Oh, I didn't realise it was for the emotionally handicapped" or something like that. heh heh. The book is nicely designed and illustrated as well, with photos and pages from engineering notebooks.
Robin 'Roblimo' Miller, Point and Click Linux!, Prentice Hall
This is a book and CD that aims to be an easy way to start with Linux. The book holds your hand during installation and then gives run throughs of the applications that are included ... and these cover the usual activities of web browsing, email, file transfer, and also such things as playing around with digital photos, and some games. There's also a section on the command line. The distro used is the newish, commercial, Mepis and it all works quite OK. This book and CD are a reasonably painless way to start out with Linux and solves the usual problem for beginners of trying to figure out exactly where all that documentation is, or with the really trimmed back distros of trying to get online to get where the information is.
Lee Barken and var, Wireless Hacking: Projects for Wi-Fi Enthusiasts, Syngress
Have you set up your wi-fi community network yet? Well, you don't have to but it is a good way to meet neighbours and generally further the human understanding thing. Wireless Hacking Projects has been put together by members of the SoCalFreeNet.org wireless users group and they know a thing or two about the subject, so much so that they offer help to other groups wanting to get started ... in addition to this book. After an overview of the wireless world we're taken through most areas we're likely to think about, and given information and projects along the way. In addition to obvious ones such as setting up an Access Point (AP), there are quite a collection of less obvious areas such as Mesh Networking, Solar-powered AP's, re- programming your AP to run Linux, mangling your card to provide an external antenna, and much, much, more.