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Books: A User's Report

Elizabeth Zinkann

This month I reviewed an assortment of books that I found useful. I hope that you can find some help from them, too. I read and reviewed The UNIX Dictionary of Commands, Terms, and Acronyms by John Levine, Margaret Levine Young, Chris Negus, and Larry Schumer (Computing McGraw-Hill); The Internet Roadmap, Third Edition by Bennett Falk (Sybex); Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats, Second Edition by James D. Murray and William vanRyper (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.); HTML Visual Quick Reference, Second Edition by Dean Sharf (Que); Learning the HP-UX Operating System by Marty Poniatowski (Hewlett-Packard Professional Books, Prentice Hall); and Electronic Resume Writing: Creating A Winning Resume for the New World of Job Seeking, Second Edition by Joyce Lain Kennedy and Thomas J. Morrow (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).

The UNIX Dictionary of Commands, Terms, and Acronyms
by John Levine, Margaret Levine Young, Chris Negus, and Larry Schumer
Computing McGraw-Hill
ISBN 0-07-037643-3

The UNIX community possesses its own language and slang, not unlike a country. A visitor can easily become confused by the many different terms or by hearing the same term used to describe unrelated concepts. In addition to the existing jargon, new technology constantly creates accompanying vocabulary. The UNIX Dictionary of Commands, Terms, and Acronyms provides an excellent resource for anyone working with UNIX or a UNIX variant. The authors include definitions for UNIX System V, BSD UNIX, Linux, Apple Macintosh's A/UX, RISC terminology, and other UNIX systems' specific nomenclature. Levine, Young, Negus, and Schumer also define commands, library routines, utilities, environment variables, data structures, protocols, communications software, and hardware. The UNIX Dictionary of Commands, Terms, and Acronyms is an excellent reference tool for any UNIX administrator, user, or manager. It explains the elementary aspects (e.g., the keyboard character tilde ~ and its uses) and the more complex (e.g., sockets) The authors include entries pertaining to the C and LISP programming languages and identify many members of the original UNIX development team. This dictionary presents a clearly written, extensive, and superb resource for anyone working in the UNIX/C environment.

The Internet Roadmap
Third Edition
by Bennett Falk
ISBN 0-7821-1890-9

The third edition of The Internet Roadmap features a reorganization of the topics in the previous version plus a modification and expansion of the existing information. These changes reflect the evolution of the Internet itself. Falk divided the book into three sections: Introducing the Internet; The Internet Community's Applications: The World Wide Web, Gopher, and NetNews; and Internet Fundamentals: FTP, E-mail, and Telnet. In the first section, the author describes the Internet, demonstrates some of its capabilities, and analyzes how it works. The second chapter details how to establish an Internet connection. The second and third sections, which form the principle portion of the book, illustrate the essential utilities every Internet user needs: the World Wide Web, Gopher, Usenet, ftp (File Transfer Protocol), electronic mail, and telnet. Veronica, Jughead, and Archie are also discussed. Falk demonstrates how to choose a Web browser and search the Web with ease. He also describes different gophers, how to use them, and discusses Usenet, newreaders, and alternative methods for reading the news. The third section explains the mechanics, importance, and options connected with ftp, email, and telnet. The Internet Roadmap, Third Edition, is an excellent and informative guide. Its design allows the reader to access the most important utilites of the Internet quickly and simply. Falk presents many diagrams, figures, tables, and tips to reinforce the logical and well-written text. Many of the Internet's more complex aspects and more recent developments are addressed in shaded sidebars. This edition of The Internet Roadmap is a notable and straightforward addition to the Internet library.

Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats
Second Edition
by James D. Murray and William vanRyper
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
ISBN 1-56592-161-5
CD-ROM Included

The previous edition of the Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats (1994) was amazingly complete. In addition to providing detailed information for 90 individual file formats, Murray and vanRyper presented an overview containing an Introduction, Computer Graphics Basics, Bitmap Files, Vector Files, Metafiles, Platform Dependencies, Format Conversions, Working With Graphics Files, Data Compression, and Multimedia. The second edition includes even more specific graphics format entries and additional revised information. New topics in the overview discuss corruption, encryption, and viruses in graphics files, Writing a File Format Specification, and Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights. The Data Compression chapter also examines JBIG (Joint Bi-level Image Experts Group) Compression, ART Compression, and Fractal Image Compression. The individual entries include a summary table, an overview, the format's file organization, file details, and "For Further Information." The summary table lists the following information for each format: the format name, aliases, type, colors, compression, maximum image size, multiple images per file, numerical format, originator(s), platform(s), supporting applications, specification, code, or images on CD, references, usage, and comments. The accompanying CD-ROM contains the contents of the entire book (more than 1,115 pages), a Web browser, selected graphics images, utilities for Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS, OS/2, Macintosh, and UNIX platforms, and updated file format specifications from the vendors. The CD-ROM can be accessed from Windows 95 and NT, Windows 3.1, Macintosh, and UNIX. Because file formats change so rapidly, O'Reilly has established the Graphics File Formats (GFF) Web Center. In this way, readers can keep up with new or revised formats, reference Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and search the What's New area. One of the co-authors, James Murray, will maintain the GFF and users will be able to contact him with questions or ideas. The Encylopedia of Graphics File Formats, Second Edition, is an exemplary contribution to the computer graphics resource library. The meticulous presentation of the information not only applies to the overview chapters, but also extends to each format entry. The text demonstrates a straightforward and logical style. Anyone who has attempted a file format conversion will immediately recognize this book's merit. Those who frequently convert file formats will discover a superior resource. The Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats, Second Edition, is an outstanding reference, both online and offline.

HTML Visual Quick Reference
Second Edition
by Dean Scharf
ISBN 0-7897-0786-1

Beginning and casual Web page designers are often overwhelmed by the volume of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) books available and also by the size of the individual texts. However, several good HTML books demonstrate how to use HTML without explaining everthing the language can do. One of these slender, informative texts is the HTML Visual Quick Reference by Sharf. The author designed this book for the beginner or as a quick reference guide. For the novice, it not only assists with Web page creation, but also introduces elementary Web concepts and reveals some options related to Web page design. This second edition refines existing subjects through supplementary topics (i.e., Backgrounds, Adding Space Around Graphics, Horizontal Alignment of Text and Graphics, and Line and Paragraph Breaks.) Sharf has also updated the versions of the documented authoring software and included a completely new section detailing tables. Each entry consists of the title, a brief text explanation, and examples of both code and its corresponding display. The HTML Visual Quick Reference illustrates an individual concept, its implementation, and its final appearance (although different browsers will generate varied final appearances). This is an excellent first book for the serious programmer, guide for the casual user, or quick reference for the professional. Sharf provides general concepts for the uninitiated and confidence for those not yet comfortable with the computer community. He presents the procedures in a readable, straightforward manner with clear examples. This is a superior introduction to the Web, its appearance, and specific page creation.

Learning the HP-UX Operating System
by Marty Poniatowski
Hewlett-Packard Professional Books
Prentice Hall
ISBN 0-13-258534-0

The new UNIX user often encounters difficulties navigating through his or her system the first few times. Luckily, there are several quality introductory texts to assist the reader. However, the selection of texts narrows if the new system is from Hewlett-Packard (HP-UX.) The user can always use a generic beginning UNIX book, but that approach may not specifically describe the HP-UX system. Learning the HP-UX Operating System addresses new users, experienced computer users without HP-UX background, and those who research features and commands as they need them. Poniatowski introduces the concepts to the HP-UX novice in an easily readable style. He discusses: HP-UX Components and Typical Installations; Login and Password; The HP-UX File System; Permissions, the ls Command, and File Name Expansion and Wild Cards; File System Related Commands; HP-UX Tools; HP-UX Networking; Shell Programming; HP Visual User Environment Introduction; The vi Editor; HP-UX System Administration Introduction; Programming With SoftBench; and a Command Summary. Poniatowski introduces the reader to several popular HP-UX installations and some of their capabilities. As the author explains the different procedures and concepts, he not only examines fundamental commands, but also presents some advanced commands that the system administrator may execute. This allows the reader to view what happens both at his or her terminal and to the system in general. Throughout the book, the author displays the screen's appearance (both before and after a command), the command outputs (using various options), summary tables, and representative diagrams and figures. Learning the HP-UX Operating System is a superb introduction for the beginner. Poniatowski presents the material logically, in a step-by-step format. He provides the essential information, plus a little extra data for the reader's benefit. In this way, the author helps the user develop techniques to accomplish tasks for both beginning and advanced applications. The chapters on HP-VUE (Hewlett-Packard Visual User Environment) and the vi editor merit particular attention. Poniatowski's expertise and exemplary approach make Learning the HP-UX Operating System a valuable and effective book.

Electronic Resume Writing: Creating A Winning Resume for the New World of Job Seeking
Second Edition
by Joyce Lain Kennedy and Thomas J. Morrow
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ISBN 0-471-11584-3

Technological advances have changed many aspects of our lives, and the popularity of the Internet has multiplied the influence of new developments. However, resumes and job searching have remained rather stable. Job seekers typically rely on the print medium (usually the newspaper), although online searches and submittals are becoming more standard. Fax machines and computer fax software have also simplified sending resumes and cover letters, but the formats have remained consistent. Applicants typically write resumes (ideally one page and not more than two pages) in either a chronological or functional style. Then, they hope that someone at a company will read their resume, be impressed, schedule an interview, and hire them. With the affordability of scanners and the improvements of optical character recognition (OCR) software, companies can now scan resumes and search for key phrases when hiring, so if a resume doesn't possess the right terms, it may never be considered. In the Electronic Resume Revolution, Kennedy and Morrow address these issues and related practices. They demonstrate how to write a resume and send it via email, examine the new scanning procedures, and ways in which electronic and scanned resume compositions differ. The authors discuss: The Resume That's Sweeping the Nation, The Technical Details, Key Concepts for Keywords, The Right Look for Your New Resume, Floor Plans for a Keyword Resume, Resumes by the Dozen, the Resume Sample Book, The Video Resume Interview, and When Computers Don't Give You A Passing Glance. Kennedy and Morrow first illustrate the procedures that companies now use upon receipt of a resume. Following an explanation of current practices, they demonstrate several ways to ensure your resume is viewed in the most favorable way. Submitting resumes for several different positions within the same company may now hurt, rather than help, the applicant. Kennedy and Morrow review popular keywords and the keyword resume format, and discuss formatting (or lack of it), because formatting with many different or unusual fonts can disable the OCR program's ability to read your resume. They also present resume samples (approximately 30) and describe solutions to persistent problems. The authors examine current problems for the job seeker in today's market and provide methods for applicants to circumvent these obstacles. They discuss these procedures clearly, furnishing several types of examples. The text is well written and offers practical solutions for many different types of jobs, applicants, and situations. The authors' knowledge and expertise in this field is evident throughout the book. The Electronic Resume Revolution: Creating A Winning Resume for the New World of Job Seeking is an outstanding book that should be read by everyone in today's job market.

About the Author

Elizabeth Zinkann has been involved in the UNIX and C environment for the past 12 years. She is currently a UNIX and C consultant, and one of her specialties is UNIX education. In addition to her computer science background, she also has a degree in English. Elizabeth can be reached via America Online (