No, this isn't a malfunctioning keyboard, nor have I decided to join the ranks of kiddie hackers by starting to use "elite" language. It's the title of a new book by Sams... l337 h4xor handbook by tapeworm. For those of you not into "l337", that translates to "Elite Hacker Handbook". Having gotten *that* piece of information out of the way, I can get on to the review. And my review is that I really don't know what group this author is trying to target, and I think it fails regardless...
Content: fitting in; shortcuts; customize; browsing/e-mail; fundamentals; get the f@*! out of my chat room!; advanced automation; paranoia; networks; beyond windows; conclusion
I wanted to like this book based on the title. Sort of a gritty view of the hacker underworld, revealing "secrets" not commonly written of. What we get instead is a book that can't decide what it wants to be. People who are new to computers or confused by jargon (one of the targets from the back cover) won't see much useable info here. If you're new to computers, the whole "elite" form of typing and word creation will be lost on you, and you'll wonder what the (#@# this person is trying to tell you. If you already know enough to understand the type of style the author is trying to use, then you'll find most of the information far too basic. Desktop overviews? Running defragger? This isn't news, folks...
Parts of the book try to go into basic HTML coding and scripting languages. Again, if you don't know this stuff, this book isn't going to appeal to you in the first place. If the book appeals to you, you already know this stuff. "Advanced Automation" gets into more scripting, but again, not at a level which is going to advance the knowledge base of someone who already understands it. It seemed that with every chapter, the content was at odds with the style and tone of the book, thereby missing the target regardless of what side he chose...
The whole "l337" format really started to annoy me big time after the first chapter. I admit to not having much tolerance for that anyway. There were some cute phrases and humorous lines in places, but not enough to make me want to recommend it to anyone. I can't even recommend it as a parody of hacker culture, because I think the author is really trying to convey useful info. I just don't think the audience that would find it useful would read the book, and those who would read the book won't find it useful.
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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff (duffbert)
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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This is your ticket into the elusive underworld of the Internet, home to millions of elite computer hackers. 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k will show you how to walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk of this exclusive community. Soon, you too will be able to go into a chat room and carry on conversations speaking the cryptic 1337 language. 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k will also review the nature of computer viruses, different practical jokes to play on your desktop and tips on how to live the hacker lifestyle. Join the elite society of computer hackers with 1337 h4x0r h4ndb00k as your guide.