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Issue of July 2002 
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Readerware

Network troubleshooting: Back-to-basics
Network Troubleshooting Tools does not talk about every aspect of network troubleshooting. It only deals with one aspect, which is information collection. That's pardonable, because network troubleshooting is after all a very vast area of expertise and every single network has problems peculiar to it. The book is more of an introduction to tools and techniques for collecting information about networks.

Since network management is a large area of study there are numerous tools an administrator can use to troubleshoot. In many cases even if two organizations have an identical equipment setup, similar troubleshooting tools may not work. This makes an administrator's job more difficult. A helping hand in the form of a book or manual certainly can throw light on the issues.

The book has selected only a few tools which the author believes are the most useful. The tools discussed are mostly Unix tools and many of them are open source products powered by GNU or BSD style licenses. Some tools talked about in the book are ping, traceroute, pathchar, tcpdump, tcpslice, nmap, tkined, snmpwalk, ntop, nemesis, and mgen.

A few troubleshooting strategies have also been included in the book. This may be useful in case of a complex problem which cannot be addressed with a single troubleshooting tool. In such a case a combined use of tools with a relevant strategy may help.

Network Troubleshooting Tools is primarily for those new to network administration, and experienced network administrators will find it a useful back-to-basics experience.

The idea of the book is to make a reader aware of the options and functionalities of the troubleshooting processes so that a choice for the most appropriate tool can be made without much difficulty.

Title: Network Troubleshooting Tools
Author: Joseph D. Sloan
Publisher: SPD
Pages: 346
Price: Rs. 250


Scripting PHP
The PHP Black Book is mainly for intermediate and advanced Web programmers. The reader needs to have a desktop workstation which has a browser program and a Web server to begin using the information in the book.

Since PHP is a very reliable server-side, HTML embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages; most programmers have embraced its use for their organizations' Web-related needs. PHP can perform any task that a CGI (Common Gateway Interface) program can perform, but its strength lies in its compatibility with many types of databases.

The book is constituted rather simply with relatively detailed theories, explanations, and examples in each chapter. It explains the PHP language, data, constructs, arrays, functions, and objects in the beginning to set the base for further reading. Later on it looks at issues related to Web server environments, file access, and databases. Integration with various image formats, mail protocols, and XML is also explained clearly.

It reads like a text book in most places but the presence of code examples in the form of 'immediate solutions' helps.

A CD which comes along with the book contains a lot of source code to help readers in their projects. The Apache Web server and MySQL database is included in the CD.

Title: PHP Black Book
Author: Peter Moulding
Publisher: Dreamtech Press
Pages: 399
Price: Rs. 845

 
     
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