[ISN] Book Review: The Happy Hacker

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Thu Aug 13 1998 - 17:36:01 PDT

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    "The Happy Hacker: A Guide to (Mostly) Harmless Computer Hacking",
    Carolyn P. Meinel, 0-929408-21-7, U$29.99
    %A  Carolyn Meinel cmeinelat_private
    %C  POBox 1507, Show Low, AZ   85901
    %D  1998
    %G  0-929408-21-7
    %I  American Eagle Publications, Inc
    %O  U$29.99
    %P  268
    %T  "The Happy Hacker: A Guide to (Mostly) Harmless Computer Hacking"
    Technical Editors: John D. Robinson, Roger A. Prata, Daniel Gilkerson
                       Damian bates, Mark Schmitz, Troy Larsen
    My first impression of the book was a make money fast scheme gone wrong. 
    Cashing in on the buzzword of the 90's, Ms. Meinel runs the word 'hacker'
    into the ground by the end of chapter 1. 
    Looking past the glaring errors in grammar and spelling, the reader must
    deal with the constant technical errors, contradictions, and overall
    lacking 'style' the author uses. The book consists of material that has
    mostly been published on the web in various states (also technically
    incorrect), and brings no new insight to the subject she claims to teach.
    As far as teaching 'hacking', I couldn't find a single quality reference
    or section that dealt with hacking. Considering the questionable past of
    the author, the book furthers thoughts that she has no experience as a
    hacker, security consultant, or anything related to computers at all.
    What most people consider novelty 'tricks' like changing a Win95 bootup
    screen, Ms Meinel touts as 'hacking'. The continued reference to Windows
    95 and lack of unix information further suggests the book isn't about
    hacking at all, rather simple tricks and documented options that can be
    found in most Windows books. 
    For those interested in learning hacking, stick to more positive sources. 
    Check out some other security books or online resources. Hacking is not
    something that can be taught from a book, it is more a state of mind and
    desire to learn. After reading this book, users can expect to find
    themselves in a confused state with more questions than they started with. 
    Unfortunately, they find themselves with no more insight on where the
    answers may be found either.
    Page 67: "I make my living asking dumb questions." Quoted material is
    straight from the author's mouth, and seems to be dead on with the
    technical level of the book.
    review by: jerichoat_private			copyright 1998
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