MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2010 (#44)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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48 MacDirectory BOOK REVIEWS In the early days of home computing, there was a time when home networking was fairly easy. Whoever got to the phone jack to plug in their modem first got on the network (an early incarnation of the "network speed" concept). But the idea of a home computer interacting with the outside world was revolutionary. CompuServe, AOL and, rather briefly, Apple's own eWorld quickly developed as vibrant online meeting places for the rare geek with the know-how to mate a computer with a phone line. Powered by networking's corollary of Moore's Law manifested by the explosive growth of the Internet, a lot more computers needed a lot more access to a lot more places. And now, even TVs, Blu-Ray disc players, game consoles, handhelds and telephones are demanding network access. That begs the question, how do they all get online? John Ross, author of the superb Book of Wireless has managed to preserve domestic tranquility and security with his latest book, Network Know-How . Subtitled "An Essential Guide for the Accidental Admin," it is unquestionably the best single source that takes the non- professional through the steps of laying out a home or small business network, understanding the wiring needs and putting together a system that is reliable, secure and, if construction is involved, up to local safety codes. Ross starts out with the basics of planning your network, taking into account both the construction and physical layout and offers some basic tips on physical wiring. Once you get past the physical layers of your network needs, Ross continues to prove himself an able teacher for the bits and bytes side of the project. He shows his skill at providing concise and not overwhelming instructions on how your data goes from your computer to "the cloud" and back with enough detail for you to troubleshoot the issues that arise should that journey be interrupted. An ongoing theme throughout the book is security; the more sophisticated your network is, the greater your need for keeping your network yours. Ross offers just enough theory to help you cope with the unexpected. Thumbing through Network Know-How, you may get the idea that Ross is paying more attention to PCs than Macs. This is true in a sense, but the main reason is that networking is considerably less complex in the Mac OS. And his book does do a great job of covering mixed networks that include Mac, PC and Linux workstations. However, in a latter chapter on some of the more advanced things you can do on a home network (media and screen sharing, for example), the Mac is pretty much ignored. (Too easy, perhaps?) Regardless, John Ross's Network Know- How is both comprehensive and comprehensible — essential reading for anyone needing to create a home or small business network. Network Know-How: An Essential Guide for the Accidental Administrator by John Ross; $29.95, No Starch Press (; 266 pgs. ISBN 978-1-59327-191-6 "Networks are not just for geeks anymore." John Ross Copyright © 2009 John Ross NETWORK KNOW-HOW REVIEW BY RIC GETTER

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