IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

Short review of new book on using the InterNet

Ian Hoyle ianh at resmel.bhp.com.au
Wed Sep 2 07:24:05 EST 1992


The following review (well I wouldn't call it a formal review, but more of a
first glance) was made possible by receiving an early copy of the manuscript
of Ed Krol's new book from O'Reilly and Associates.

I was lucky to be able to get access to it because I wanted to include a 
mention of it in a tutorial I am running at our AUUG conference - Australian 
Unix Users Group - in a couple of weeks titled "Cruising the Internet". 
O'Reilly kindly forwarded me a copy so I thought I'd do a quick review since 
I was so impressed.

I have *no* affiliation with them whatsoever except for spending lots of $$'s
buying several titles in their catalog :-)

As a background to me, I've been looking after our Internet/USEnet link here 
for some 4 years and this new book represents a _very_ handy compendium to 
have by your side as you wander through the net ....



Hi all,

I just received a few days ago a manuscript copy of the new O'Reilly book
"The Whole Internet User's Guide and catalog" by Ed Krol.
(ISBN 1-56592-025-2) There are a few changes yet to be made to the final
product, but what I have is pretty much what will hit the shelves in September
when it is published.

In a word, it is a *must* for all Internet sites as a complement to much
of the resource material and guides you would already have accumulated.

It is:

- big! This sucker comes in at over 400 pages of close typed material.

The chapters include

  What Is This Book About?
  What Is the Internet?
  What's Allowed on the Internet?
  Remote Login
  Moving a File: FTP
  Electronic Mail
  Network News
  Finding Software
  Finding Someone
  World-Wide Web
  Other Applications
  Dealing With Problems
  Resources On The Internet

and some appendices

  Service Providers
  International Network Connectivity

- written in a conversational, non-frightening manner, ideal for
  non-computer literate people who may be wary of the technology
  but who can _really_ utilize what it might provide for them.

- up to date. Apart from the usual stuff like email, news, and ftp, the
  chapters on finding software, people and things set it apart from other
  Internet documentation. In particular, the chapters on gopher, WAIS and 
  World-Wide Web represent areas of intense current research into providing
  easy access to information sources residing on the net.

  To gather together all of this information previously I have had to amass
  a considerable number of documents, FAQ lists and USEnet tidbits from
  countless sites and sources on the net. Indeed, a beginning user 
  doesn't really stand a chance in coming to terms with the immense number 
  and variety of network resources that are "out there" without having 
  some kind of users kind to 'hold their hand' while they start out on 
  the journey to net.wisdom.

- a *huge* resources section dealing with servers for info on material
  as diverse as agriculture, environment, libraries, literature etc etc

  In fact there are roughly 300 items here. This cannot possibly be an
  exhaustive list since this changes so rapidly, but it is a good starting

The chapter on network news will probably start a religious war because
of the choice of nn as the newsreader used for his example reader. Indeed
there was a flurry of debate/comment in news.software.readers just a
month ago what Ed Krol solicited ideas on what people would like to see

Actually I agree with his decision to stick with using a single reader
as an example. The important point of the chapter is the fact that netnews
exists and that there are some basic things that can be done with it.

I won't belabour the point - you'll just have to read the book :-)

All in all, I'd very much recommend it!

BTW just drop O'Reilly a line at nuts at ora.com if you want any further info.

   /\/\     :  Dr Ian Hoyle,  Senior Research Scientist
  / / /\    :  Image Analysis Group
 / / /  \   :  BHP Research - Melbourne Laboratories
/ / / /\ \  :  245 Wellington Rd, Mulgrave, 3170, AUSTRALIA
\ \/ / / /  :  Phone    +61-3-560-7066
 \  / / /   :  E-mail   ianh at resmel.bhp.com.au
  \/\/\/    :
            : "The kernel IS a continuously running random number
            :  generator" -- Larry Wall


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