The Geek squad blurbs and chapters scattered throughout the book
offer a lot of useful information and serve as an effective (and often
hilarious) counterpoint to the text proceeding them. They do not concern
themselves with technical details, but rather offer observations on how the
networking hardware, the Internet and the people using them function in the
real world. These sections made reading the book an entertaining
experience for us, which is a valuable thing.
Simplified is well written throughout, though we
did see a few spelling and spacing errors. The only factual error
that we noticed in the book was a section in the firewall security chapter
stating that Windows XP features a software firewall only after Service
Pack 2 has been installed. To be fair, the post-SP2 Windows XP firewall is
enabled by default, has more features and is much easier to use, but every
version of Windows XP has an effective integrated firewall if you know how to activate it.
Final Thoughts: Home
Simplified is one of the more entertaining
networking how-to books we have ever read. The general tone of the text
and especially the Geek Squad chapters and blurbs both add considerable mirth to
what can be a crushingly dry subject.
The technical and how-to portions of the book do not stand-out
particularly. The information is correct and generally well written, but
its density relative to other books we've seen on the subject combined with a
lack of easy examples, metaphors or diagrams to help readers digest the
information can make it tougher to get through than it needs to
be. In contrast, the second half of the book (dealing with security,
Internet use and advanced projects) is excellent. All the sections in the
latter half are extremely well written and easy to follow.
Networking Simplified by Cisco
is appealing to look at and hold, and the included
illustrations are colourful and attractive. The photographs should have
been redone though, as they give the book an air of being rushed to press.
For $25, Home
Networking Simplified is a bargain for readers
interested in the subject. It's quality as an instructional text comes
almost as much from its readability as the information it contains. It's
rare to laugh while learning about networks, so we'd like to encourage this
concept in future releases.
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