UNIX for the Hyper-Impatient (CD-ROM only version)
I had a Win95 installation glitch that did not make sense. The hypertext links would not display properly. A large majority of the hypertext links kept appearing as a green “fred.” I repeated the installation a couple of times to make sure I wasn't missing anything in the instructions. (Yes, I really do read them.) After a couple of reinstalls the glitch remained, and it was time to seek assistance.
The book's Installation and User's Guide published the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org for installation assistance along with a voice and a FAX number. A Web search for Quickscan produced a web site hit (http://www.qsep.com/). I was unable to reach any of these choices. I later learned that QSEP was having major difficulties with their web server and support line at the time I was reviewing this product. Prior to making contact with QSEP I had stumbled my way through the hyperlink display glitch by installing the program to run directly from the CD-ROM. It seems a couple of other people encountered a similar symptom. Not having had a chance to work through this problem directly with QSEP, I am unable to comment on their quality or level of support.
Buried in Addison-Wesley's list of titles for Mr. Abraham's web page is a URL pointing to browser update information (http://www.qsep.com/unixbook.htm). Other than this URL, I was unable to locate any form of software support for this specific title on the Addison-Wesley web site. I did locate an “Ask/Tell Us” web page that provided the means for sending Addison-Wesley a comment and the ability to indicate the comment was technical support related. While Addison-Wesley maintains a link to QSEP, I would not count on Addison-Wesley for UNIX for the Hyper-Impatient technical support.
Inso Corporation's technical support for DynaText is password protected and specifically directed toward individuals who have purchased the DynaText product directly from Inso, or have purchased a maintenance contract. Inso clearly states that persons who are seeking DynaText support and did not buy it directly from Inso need to contact the “third party” vendor who sold them the DynaText-based product. I was also informed that any of the updated browsers would have to come from the “third party” vendor as well. So it seemed one can't even get a copy of the browser's current release from Inso. In spite of Inso's “We didn't sell you the product so don't ask us for the latest browser policy,” Inso was very helpful. They provided prompt responses to any question regarding DynaText product plans and Unix OS compatibility.
I liked the book's no nonsense approach and content. Each chapter seems to be focused on “What do I need to know to do this task.” Whenever I read a book, I'm always making notes and inserting cross references and notes of my own. This book is rich with internal cross references and footnotes.
I'm not really sure about the DynaText browser though. The lack of a supported Linux browser for this review was disappointing. I did have limited access to an AIX 4.1 client machine. That avenue of review was a dead end as well, since the browser for AIX 4.1 was still in the works. I would have liked to see how the DynaText product behaved in a supported X or Common Desktop Environment. Before purchasing this CD-ROM, I'd suggest checking the above sites to verify that there is an available DynaText browser for your flavor and version of Unix. Downloading a browser could be a lengthy endeavor. One browser reference indicated it was close to 17MB.
Daniel Lazenby lives in Arlington, Virginia. For a living he supports and works with AIX and RS/6000 systems. In early 1995 he discovered Linux and began using and tinkering with it in the evenings. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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