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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Computer Networking First Step

Computer Networking First Step

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587201011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587201011
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.1 x 1.3 inches

In my opinion, there are way too many non-computer analogies. Odom seems to be writing for readers who are either young children or have never used a computer.

One Example from page 146: "Tale of Two Trunking Protocols: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... whoops, wrong tale! Once upon a time, no VLAN trunking existed. So, Cisco created..." This should have been written: "Brief Trunking Protocol History: In the mid 1980s there was no VLAN trunking. So, Cisco created..."

Another typical example from page 38: "Now imagine that you brought a new lamp. You plug it in, and the light bulb instantly 'pops,' indicating that the light bulb is broken. You put in a new bulb and it doesn't light up. You decide that the lamp must be broken, so you bring it back to the store and replace it with an identical lamp. When you get it home, the same things happens to this lamp. Finally, you call customer service and explain your problem. Now imagine this response: `Oh, you bought our special `We light up your life' model of lamp. It uses the same kind of power cord you are used to using, but it requires less electrical voltage, saving you money. If you read your instructions for the lamp, you will see that it directs you to get an electrician out to your house to rewire and change the voltage coming out of the sockets you want to use for the lamp. Also, note the disclaimer in the instructions: `If you plug this lamp into a normal wall socket, the extra voltage will fry the lamp, and it will no longer light up your life.' So, go get a new lamp at the store and get your wall socket changed!' If you're like me, you would return to the store to get your money back and buy a lamp made by some other company." Odom actually spent the two prior paragraphs, this one, and the following paragraph to make a simple point, which is simply `There are networking standards'. A full page & a half to say absolutely nothing more than `There are networking standards'.

Odem uses roads, the post office, flintstones characters, etc. analogies at the start of each subject, and co-mingled within the important material. This finally got to me on page 146. Unfortunately I still have another 300+ pages of these distractions left to the end of the book. I will skim the rest of this book because I really want & need a good basic understanding of networking. I just don't need Odom's attempted humor and entertainment. It is distracting and a waste of my limited time.

Odom could seriously cut out half or three fourths of this book and still cover the subject just as well. Or he could put these non-computer analogies it in sidebar boxes (so everyone over the age of 10 can skip it). He should rewrite the whole book. This is exactly the material I wanted to read about, but Odom has made it twice as hard to get at it.

The perspective of this review is: I am an intermediate to advance computer user with a little programming background, but almost no network experience or knowledge. If I was a complete newbie to computers, then I might have given a slightly higher rating. So my main point is that if the material is easy enough for a prior reviewer's (Rich Hill) 2nd grade son (probably age 7 or 8) to understand, then it is probably too easy to be time efficient for an adult with any computer background at all. Therefore the same material could have been covered with a lot fewer pages, in less time, and be more efficient for an intelligent adult.

To be fair, the drawings are well done & mostly helpful, and there is a lot of good material here, so I gave it 2 stars. I honestly believe anyone who has managed to graduate from highschool and ever used a computer is too advanced for this book. If you want to know about computer networking and value your time at all, then Don't Buy This Book. This book will waste your valuable time.

Book Description :

Your first step into the world of computer networking

  • No experience required
  • Includes clear and easily understood explanations
  • Makes learning easy

Your first step to computer networking begins here!

  • Learn basic networking terminology
  • Understand how information is routed from place to place
  • Explore Internet connectivity secrets
  • Protect your computer from intrusion
  • Build local-area networks (LANs)

Welcome to the world of networking!

Networking and the Internet touch our lives in untold ways every day. From connecting our computers together at home and surfing the net at high speeds to editing and sharing digital music and video, computer networking has become both ubiquitous and indispensable.

No experience needed!

Computer Networking First-Step explains the basics of computer networking in easy-to-grasp language that all of us can understand. This book takes you on a guided tour of the core technologies that make up network and Internet traffic. Whether you are looking to take your first step into a career in networking or are interested in just gaining a conversational knowledge of the technology, this book is for you!

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