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Professor Creates His Own Cisco Manual

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the a-manual-manual dept.

Education 318

yootje writes "ZDnet is running a story about a professor who made his own Cisco networking textbook, with 800 pages: "Computing instructor Matt Basham's suggestions for improving Cisco Systems' official training manuals fell on deaf ears for years. But he appears to have the networking giant's attention now." The professor made his book available for free on his website."

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cisco (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620325)

GNAA creates their own crisco oil.

This should happen more often (4, Interesting)

slusich (684826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620335)

It's great to hear a story about someone who took it upon himself to do what was needed. Cisco was obviously not responsive to him, so he goes out and does it on his own. Not only that, he decides to share his work with everyone. Now hopefully Cisco has the common sense not to sue him for his efforts.

Re:This should happen more often (5, Insightful)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620353)

Sue him for what exactly? He wrote the book and unless he's plagiarised some of its content, then they wouldn't have much of a case. Given his profession, I'm sure he's more than capable of writing this book on his own.
He's the owner of the material, and I seriously doubt that he can be sued for anything at all.

Re:This should happen more often (4, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620367)

How about republishing Cisco's API without their permission? Cisco probably likes the revenues they get from selling their docs and their training manual.

Re:This should happen more often (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620398)

But has he done that? My point was that they cannot sue him just for publishing a book, he must violate some copyright if that's to be the case. Could Deitel be sued for publishing books on Java and .Net?

Re:This should happen more often (0)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620425)

Java and .Net are ECMA standards...AFAIK, there are no restrictions on the republishing of the API.

Cisco's software is completely different. Add to the fact that they may not normally allow unlicensed books about their software, and you've got a sticky situation.

(I don't know if you have to get a license to publish a book detailing their software...but for major piece of software well known in the industry, I wouldn't be surprised if they pushed for the revenue.)

Re:This should happen more often (4, Informative)

thammoud (193905) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620511)

Neither Java nor .Net are EMCA standards. C# is.

Re:This should happen more often (5, Informative)

farzadb82 (735100) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620516)

"Java and .Net are ECMA standards"

I don't know where you got your info from but Java is NOT ECMA standardized and as for .net, only the CLR and C# langauge are ECMA standardized.

Re:This should happen more often (4, Informative)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620737)

Cisco's software is completely different. Add to the fact that they may not normally allow unlicensed books about their software, and you've got a sticky situation.

What you're basically saying is that you cannot write about how you configure a Cisco router? What about books like these [amazon.co.uk] ? I would be very surprised if Cisco demanded licencse from the "Dummies" series, just as an example.

And just to add to what the others have said, Java and VB .Net are not ECMA standards. Sun has kept a tight grip around Java so as not to loose control over it, there are still hundreds of books available on Java.

Re:This should happen more often (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620746)

You've confused Java [infoworld.com] with JavaScript [netscape.com] .

-C

Re:This should happen more often (4, Insightful)

Jayfar (630313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620444)

Huh?! What API? Unless your considering router configs as application programs, there is no API. And there are literally hundreds of books written about cisco configuration, beyond those published by/for cisco.

Re:This should happen more often (1, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620478)

API has become a catch-all term that covers anything having to do with an interface to controlling software.

And in a day when configuration files are written in scripting languages for everything from video games to "./configure", I don't see a problem with that.

Re:This should happen more often (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620607)

Right ... just like you comment about Java being "ECMA". Know-nothing twit.

Re:This should happen more often (2, Insightful)

slusich (684826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620424)

In this day and age, with the current laws on our books, the fact that he hasn't really done anything to get sued for doesn't mean they won't sue him.

Re:This should happen more often (4, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620443)

In this day and age...

In this day and age, laws are irrelevant. You just have to be able to financially afford more time in court.

Scratch the "in this day and age" part, though...it's always been true.

Re:This should happen more often (4, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620430)

"About half the people in this program barely know how to turn on a computer, so we need to start with the very basics. The Cisco curriculum and texts assume a certain level of knowledge."

I'm not so sure this is the best idea hes dumbed down the manual to make room for the computer illiterate.. shoehorning students with no technical background into a network administration course seems like a bit of a waste.

There is a lot to be said for having a sepperate class to teach the basics.

Re:This should happen more often (1)

gkuz (706134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620546)

Cisco was obviously not responsive to him, so he goes out and does it on his own

Not responsive in what way? In not publishing the CCNA coursework for free? This is not some revolutionary text where none ever existed, it's a CCNA study manual. There are literally dozens of these, from every technical publishing house known to man, including Cisco Press. His is just cheaper than the others.

I don't get what Cisco is supposed to be contrite about. They publish and print textbooks for courses they design. They don't want to give them away for free. That's their choice.

Re:This should happen more often (1)

slusich (684826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620561)

He wasn't asking them to give away their texts. He was suggesting improvements. Things he saw, as a teacher which would improve the texts. That's what Cisco ignored.

Re:This should happen more often (5, Informative)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620599)

RTFA:

<quote>Before publishing the book on his own, Basham said he had contacted Cisco Press about publishing it, but it wasn't interested. After his free book appeared online last week, however, the company contacted him via e-mail requesting a meeting to discuss the program at St. Petersburg College.

Company spokeswoman Goodwin said that Cisco is always looking for ways to improve the program.

She said that although instructors are required to teach the Cisco Academy curriculum, they are welcome to supplement it as necessary. She also emphasized that none of the Cisco Academy students are required to buy any of the textbooks from Cisco.

"Cisco has a long-standing relationship with St. Petersburg College," she said. "And we have a process-oriented quality assurance program with the (Cisco) Academy where we work collaboratively with institutions to solicit feedback. We are continually making improvements based on customer needs."</quote>

Cisco obviously thinks this is as cool as most of us think it is.

Eeeeek... (4, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620347)

It's a 5.1MB Microsoft Word file.

Oh the horror... The horror...

Please, Mr Matt Basham, release this as a PDF, RTF or HTML file... Anything but Word. I ma willing to help if needed.

Re:Eeeeek... (3, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620363)

Once you're done slashdotting it, I'll see what I can do to convert it.

OpenOffice save as PDF rocks.

Re:Eeeeek... (3, Informative)

mhifoe (681645) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620400)

If you already have Word, PDFCreator [sourceforge.net] can give better results.

Re:Eeeeek... (3, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620402)

Be sure to change it to a readable set of fonts first...non-anti-aliased text in PDFs is just plain ugly.

Also...I've noticed that sometimes opening Word documents created in OpenOffice end up with "unsupported characters" everywhere. What causes that?

Re:Eeeeek... (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620414)

Ugly file format in Word.

Re:Eeeeek... -- Looks good in OpenOffice 1.1.2 (4, Informative)

invisik (227250) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620399)

Seemed to open fine (After a while!) in OpenOffice Writer 1.1.2. Haven't opened in actual Word to compare formatting, but looks reasonable to me. No complaints here.

-m

Re:Eeeeek... (2, Informative)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620418)

Oh the horror... The horror...

And why is that? You can download a free Word viewer here [microsoft.com] .

Re:Eeeeek... (2)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620453)

the free word viewer is for M$ windows. what if your on another platform?

Re:Eeeeek... (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620571)

the free word viewer is for M$ windows. what if your on another platform?

wine

crossover office

vmware

There's also antiword and a few other programs that are floating around which claim to be able to read MS Word format (haven't tried 'em so I can't say).

Re:Eeeeek... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620733)

wine
crossover office
vmware


And how many of those run on OS/400?

Re:Eeeeek... (1)

Guillermito (187510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620474)

Really? Does it run on different platforms (as Acrobat Reader, or other PDF viewers do)?

Seems to run fine under WINE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620547)

HAND

Re:Eeeeek... (5, Informative)

komejo (231030) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620461)

If you register at Lulu, the free download is a PDF.

Re:Eeeeek... (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620499)

I don't mind that it's Word - but why doesn't he zip the bloody thing? It'll probably fit on a floppy that way. Perhaps he has bandwidth to burn?

Re:Eeeeek... (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620527)

"It's a 5.1MB Microsoft Word file."

So it's only three pages long? Somehow I expected more.

Stop your bashing. (1)

Karoshi (241344) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620606)

Offer him your help and write it in LaTex.

Re:Stop your bashing. (3, Informative)

uss_valiant (760602) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620724)

Offer him your help and write it in LaTex.
Currently only available in German, but IWM ProWord [iwm-docu.com] turns MS Word into a very professional and efficient text editor.
It eliminates the drawbacks of MS Word (can handle easily large (>500 pages) documents, ...) and introduces features as true templating and a fast keyboard only menu.

get HTML here (1)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620697)

See my other post [slashdot.org] , and mod it up. I don't need the karma points, just trying to help out.

The artical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620349)

seams to be more about independent net publishing then about the manual cisco did not write.

Re:The artical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620491)

Likely because it is easier to write about a book that got written than one that didn't. Where do you start with talking about a book that doesn't exist?

Still Wondering (5, Interesting)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620350)

I'm still wondering why the governments don't require free and "open source" text for public schools. In college, the professors used to change the text every semester so that the students couldn't sell the books back at the end of the semester (likely getting kick-backs from the text manufacturers, no doubt).

If just one state would sit down and even purchase some good works and make them freely available for modification and distribution, then the cost of education would be greatly reduced. Profs would be free to make changes at it fits their style so long as those changes are re-posted to the public. Students could read the texts online and/or print them.

What am I not seeing here?

Re:Still Wondering (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620374)

Vested interests

Re:Still Wondering (5, Informative)

rpbailey1642 (766298) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620382)

You're exactly right about getting kick-backs, as well as the fact that they collect royalties for every book they put out. My Biology teacher is friends with the author of my Biology book (this is the reason that we use it, actually) and he has stated that to stay current with the class, you need the new book. Unless, you're really cheap, in which case, you'll need to know that Chapter Five is now Chapter Seven, and other trifle changes like that. At $100 a pop, these guys are milking college students (and their delicious scholarships) for as much as they can.

Re:Still Wondering (1, Redundant)

bje2 (533276) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620419)

Another reason they changed books (or atleast versions) at the college i went to was the kill the used book market...it you have to have the latest/greatest version of a book, or a new book altogether, the independent used book store can't complete with the Barnes & Nobles owned University book store...

Re:Still Wondering (1)

div_2n (525075) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620565)

Which is why when I was in school, I found people in my major and we shared books. Did homework together which inevitably cut down on the time it took. "You do number 1 and I'll do number 6." It was like distributed learning. Figure it out and then explain it to each other. This wouldn't always work, but it often did.

Re:Still Wondering (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620388)

If just one state would sit down and even purchase some good works and make them freely available for modification and distribution, then the cost of education would be greatly reduced.

Don't know about the cost saving thing, but wouldn't having a "freely modifiable" text book defeat the purpose of having standardized text books? If the bible thumpers in the midwest were free to remove objectionable references to Darwin and the PC nuts in the west were free to remove text that didn't match their PC creed, then it would seem like we'd have quite the mess. I understand that this sorta happens now since institutions and individual professors are allowed to choose their own texts, but it seems like the situation would get worse and not better if this were allowed?

Open Licence != Arbitrarily Selected (1)

TheWormThatFlies (788009) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620755)

Whoa! I think you and another poster a little further down are confusing two completely different issues. The licence under which a textbook is released has nothing to do with which version of the textbook is set as a standard.

If a textbook is released under a licence which allows it to be freely modified and redistributed, this means exactly that - it can legally be freely modified and redistributed. Any modified versions, however, will not be the textbook which was prescribed for the course.

Just because Linux is open source doesn't mean that an institution can't require all its employees to use a standardised version of it.

It's likely that respectable "upgrades" of the textbook would periodically be adopted as the new standard, but this would not happen automatically (in theory, there is no reason for it to happen automatically now, but - as other people have said - it is worth a lot of money to many people to ensure that it does).

If the author didn't make supermegabucks off every pointless, trivial change, there would be no incentive for him to make pointless, trivial changes. And there would be no incentive for other people involved to push institutions into adopting the updated version when it isn't necessary.

Re:Still Wondering (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620394)

Step 1: Create an "open source" textbook.

Step 2: ??

Step 3: Profit??

Re:Still Wondering (3, Insightful)

bje2 (533276) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620403)

i'm not sure that would work...you need to have some "standard" teaching material somewhere...if you let every individual professor/teacher alter their text book according to their spercifications, things could get out of control...think about the viewpoint an affrican high school teacher in mississippi might have while teaching about the civil war...or a staunch anti-war believer when teaching about vietnam...children's views of events would eventually become skewed...that's why it's good to have standardized text books...

of course, this relates mostly to elementary school & high school...obviously once you get into college, many teachers don't even use text books to begin with...

Re:Still Wondering (1)

bje2 (533276) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620438)

obviously i meant "african-american" high school teacher...not "african"...

Re:Still Wondering (2, Insightful)

joedobsonjr (794396) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620678)

"...you need to have some "standard" teaching material..."

Standard teaching material doesn't lead to a correction of skewed viewpoints. It just makes sure we only have ONE skewed viewpoint.
---------------

Re:Still Wondering (1)

bandrzej (688764) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620729)

I can agree things can get out of control if every individual professor/teacher alter their text book to their specification, but they are already doing that by TEACHING.

Hell, even the text books are skewed by the publisher and the author's personal viewpoint on the subject. Since you are hitting history, try comparing the American Revolutionary War from the US and British textbooks. Very different ways of telling the events.

Re:Still Wondering (2, Insightful)

jefe7777 (411081) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620471)

once Harcourt, Editis, John Wiley and McGraw-Hill pack it up because you've killed off their ability to make a profit, i hope you have a talented army of volunteers ready to crank out some material.

Re:Still Wondering (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620563)

I ran across this site [opensourcetext.org] some time ago while looking for EFL materials to contribute to, but it appears to have been in limbo for about two years, and no progress has been made. Perhaps this is the result of lobbying by the major textbook manufacturers? Nah.

Re:Still Wondering (1)

teslatug (543527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620579)

Kick backs??? No need for that, at my school some of the professors wrote the textbooks they required us to buy. One chem prof would change the book slightly each year just to make more moola.

Re:Still Wondering (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620675)

Yes. Dr. Zumdahl at UIUC does this. Now his wife is a co-author so the book is almost twice as expensive. All for a subject that hasn't changed since 1950*. /me hopes he doesn't have to use that god-forsaken book at UIC...

* Yeah, yeah. Some things have changed. But not $200 worth of things :)

Re:Still Wondering (3, Informative)

Omega Leader-(P12) (240225) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620580)

As the son of a university professor I know my dad and his professor friends have gotten tons of books from publishers free.

They simply see a book they like, call up the publisher and identify who they are who they work for and they have a class of 300+ stupid first year students next semester/year and the reading material is not set for this course yet.

They then drop the names of a book from a competitor and say they have recently read that. By noon the next day there is a fed ex. package with a letter listing all the benefits of this book over the competitors plus illustrating the "deal" they have with the university and what the price for the students would be and how their price would be much lower than the competitor.

Often there are additional books related to the topic "they feel would make excellent supplementary material". I have most of these books cause they get shuffled around.

And if they know a professor is using the 2nd edition of a text and the third is coming out. A copy of the third will arrive free for "review", again with a list of advantages over the old edition.

Somewhere they must have a list of professors and what they teach. They also know who teaches first-year classes cause they get the best review books.

It makes sense, one free book to convince a professor to force 300-700 students who have to buy your book. That's a good return on investment. Unethical, no not really, and lucrative in all the cool free books that they send out.

Re:Still Wondering (1)

bandrzej (688764) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620673)

Only good if you are the professor or a friend and relative. Meanwhile, you are still ripping off the 300-700 students the "freebie" dished out by "Mr Big Book Producer"

Unfortuantely, that is how the cookie crumbles. Reason why i wait till 3 weeks into the course to see if i REALLY need that text book. 8 times out of 10 you don't.

Re:Still Wondering (3, Informative)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620663)

Just as a plug, free textbooks can be found over at Wikibooks [wikibooks.org]

I R ADULF HITLAR (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620359)

HEIL ME YUO FAGS!

as html (5, Informative)

dncsky1530 (711564) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620368)

It's quite strange that it is not a PDF file.
but is anyone wants the 5 meg html version it here [66.102.7.104]

Re:as html (1)

spacefight (577141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620436)

Above link returns an empty google cache page for me.

Re:as html (1)

fallenangel99 (687794) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620588)

register at lulu.com, add his book to your cart, download the pdf at 200+ KB/sec no /.'ng!!

curriculum (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620397)

How much of the curriculum is specific to Cisco? And if it is specific to Cisco, then isn't that sort of limiting? I'm sure you'll get a thorough grounding in TCP/IP as well, but hell, you can get that from Richard Stevens TCP/IP Illustrated Vol 1.

I've known several people who have been convinced that getting these Cisco certs will lead to untold riches - they have all been disappointed. It's definitely no substitute for a 4 year degree.

Near monopolies considered harmful (2, Interesting)

tommasz (36259) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620404)

Cisco has so much of the networking infrastructure market they obviously didn't care about the quality of their documentation. Luckily, there has always been a market for outsiders who can figure things out and explain them to others. Cisco would be smart to work with this guy.

Re:Near monopolies considered harmful (2, Informative)

sporty (27564) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620457)

If i remember correctly, Juniper is supposed to have a substancial share of the market. Something in the realm of a quarter.

Re:Near monopolies considered harmful (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620575)

I've often suspected that some companies make the technical knowledge to use their products inaccessible to build up a loyal and fanatical following of technical professionals who know the real tricks.

A certain popular DB company comes to mind. If anyone could set one up, more people would see that simpler solutions (mySQL, SQLite, etc.) would fit the bill 90% of the time, but as it is DBA functions are typically controlled in a company by a cabal that is heavily invested in their hard-won knowledge of a certain tool and they can be counted on to deprecate alternate solutions.

Similarly, for a lot of networking functions, certainly not all, but a lot, a Linux or BSD box with standard software would fit the bill, but the networking group in most organizations has a one-solution mindset.

This is about certifications (4, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620440)

They probably figured, "we can charge a ton for our cert's forever, because no one is going to take the time to write a book." OOPS! I hope other people follow suit and finally we will be rid of the "if you're not certified, you can't have learned it" business principle.

finally (4, Interesting)

falkryn (715775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620449)

good to see somebody doing this. I took the first semester Cisco course at my college, and yeah, the books weren't all that good. I haven't seen his work yet, but I do recall the first semester is exclusively going over the seven layers of the OSI model in sometimes painful detail. Can tend to throw the beginning student off, especially considering the OSI model is not much more than an academic tool anyway, TCP/IP is were its at in the 'real world'.

Re:finally (2, Informative)

Jacer (574383) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620492)

The OSI model is used to describe the function of a network. TCP/IP can be mapped exactly to the OSI model as a four layer stack. So, academic tool or not, it's a standarized way to teach, that helps you branch off into TCP/IP, Netware, any other protocol.

Re:finally (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620610)

"The OSI model is used to describe the function of a network. TCP/IP can be mapped exactly to the OSI model as a four layer stack."

The presentation and session layers are lumped into TCP/IP's application layer where they belong. How then, does teaching the OSI model, where these two layers are explicit, help in the student's understanding of network protocols? What useful purpose does teaching the concepts of presentation and sessions have when they are almost orthoganol to the topic at hand? (I'm struggling to come up with examples of applications where the concepts of these two layers are so important that they need to be distinct from the application protocol itself.)

Using layered protocols to teach networking is good, but the OSI model is a classic example of design by committee and is more confusing than helpful; at least when compared to the TCP/IP model.

Re:finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620773)

The OSI model is great for planning bus routes and time tables, and nothing else.

Great pricing scheme (4, Informative)

Mark_Uplanguage (444809) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620476)

I've seen some of the initial comments here and if you notice that the price of the book is $25 for the printed version, of which Mr. Basham get's $5 (20%) and the publisher gets the rest. Honestly I don't have the time to figure out what LuLu.com's expenses might be (since I have no idea the cost of bandwidth to download 5MB), but this seems like a VERY valid business model for homegrown authors to go to. Good luck to LuLu.com and my they break open the gates of good reading at reasonable costs!!!

Useful Contribution (2, Interesting)

XeRXeS-TCN (788834) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620482)

I think that this is a very useful contribution to anyone who is looking for information on Cisco networking. It's definately a "middle finger" to big companies who are so set in their ways, they are unwilling to take advice from people in the field who have the qualifications and experience to make a genuine contribution to their documentation.

In many ways, it also reflects the spirit of the Free Software movement, in many respects. It reflects the frustration of a constant refusal to fix issues with something released in what is, in certain respects, a proprietary format, and the result of writing a version, which is then distributed for free. It's good to see :)

Speaking of which, I wonder if Mr Basham could be convinced to release the text under a free license, like the GNU FDL... possibly not, if he has already made arrangements with publishers, but it might be worth looking into...

What??? (4, Funny)

morgdx (688154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620505)

Networks need manuals? I thought you just had to make sure no-one knocked the patch cables out.

Re:What??? (4, Funny)

w1r3sp33d (593084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620545)

It's not hard fixing a disconnected cable, I am sure the majority of the book is probably a guide to hunting and finding lost token's (best hiding spots, migratory patterns, reactions of cornered tokens, ect)

Bad Self Publishing (4, Interesting)

RoscoeChicken (73509) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620508)

Self-published textbooks will only work when some sort of feedback mechanism is in place to offer an indication of the quality of the book.


For years, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, the engineering college subjected undergraduates to an extremely poor thermodynamics text self-published by an influential department chair until the thermo scores started to slide on the state EIT exams.

Cisco books... (4, Informative)

!ramirez (106823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620524)

Cisco Press books are, without a duobt, the best technical manuals (from a manufacturer) that I have yet read. Anyone who simply bashes on the 'networking academy' crap is doing a serious disservice to the legions of people who have progressed far beyond that simple standard of networking knowledge.

I imagine that a large number of people who have never read Jeff Doyle's "Routing TCP/IP" Vols. I & II, or Kennedy Clark's "Cisco LAN Switching" will comment about this article - read any dense technical manual by either of the above, or Bassam Halabi, or Priscilla Oppenheimer, or any non-entry level book, and see what I mean.

Besides, all of the entry-level Cisco knowledge focuses on the OSI model and BASIC network troubleshooting. If you REALLY wanted to learn that and not be led by the hand thru a technical school, you would read "TCP/IP Illustrated" by W. Richard Stevens.

Re:Cisco books... (4, Funny)

w1r3sp33d (593084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620743)

I can't agree more, Doyle's TCP/IP I&II are two of the best books I have ever read. Don't mod me funny, I am not kidding.

What about other textbooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620529)

The textbook publishers really are running a racket. For example, why do they publish a new edition of a calculus textbook every year? Calculus has changed very little since the time of Newton. So even a 50 year old text is not going to be hardly any different from a 1 year old text.

A freshman calculus text is something that could easily be put on-line and into pdf format. The reason this isn't done is because the universities themselves are in collusion with the textbook publishers. The universities and professors receive kickbacks for pushing the latest overpriced dross. The racketeering term for this practice is payola.

Paging Bob Young. Are you listening?

DMCA Anyone? (1, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620533)

Considering that the manual discloses methods of operating and controlling Cisco products, as well as the interfaces used by them, could Cisco sue under the DMCA for copyright theft of its instructions on how to use its equipment.

If the instructions were generated by a computer algorithim then the answer to this is a resounding yes as then Cisco would have patented 'a method by which Cisco,(us), uses a PC to and printer to generate the instructions to operate our hardware', and could then sue the good doctor as presumably he used a PC and printer too.

Lots of modded ups here - why? (0, Offtopic)

slowhand (191637) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620543)

Lucy, 'dis is a ridiculous

Get yer lovely GMail invites here... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620553)

25 invites, not enough friends. Give email address in thread to get one.

Re:Get yer lovely GMail invites here... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620585)

fodder22@ureach.com

and thanks

Re:Get yer lovely GMail invites here... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620700)

goldfinger7400@yahoo.com

Thanks much!

Certified (2, Funny)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620555)

Well, it's for CCNA which is an ok beginning. Downloading now to see if it'll help with my CCNP recert.

I got my CCNA simply to understand networking better and the environment at work. The company paid for a CCNP class so I felt I had to give it a shot and got my CCNP 5 months after the class ended. Now that I have to recert, I'm studying the Switch/Router books and, even though I didn't work as a network engineer, much of the material is familiar.

Do you know what they call someone who received the lowest passing scores on the tests? "Cisco Certified" :-)

Those publishers really funny (3, Interesting)

gladmac (729908) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620587)

How can they argue that they do not overprice their books [in the US] when you can pick the same book up in Europe, for much less. And what is really funny... it even says on them "Not for sale in the US" [because there we have this really good thing going on with the other publishers about not going below $0.2 per page EVER].

Re:Those publishers really funny (1)

!ramirez (106823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620604)

Buy used Cisco Press books from eBay, Amazon, or Alibris.

I regularly purchase books for under $20, slightly used. Don't let the cover price scare you.

Re:Those publishers really funny (1)

gladmac (729908) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620652)

That's a great solution... let's all get our books from eBay:) Won't really work that good though, will it...

Re:Those publishers really funny (1)

!ramirez (106823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620669)

Yes, it will - I regularly purchase books from there, or used off of Amazon for up to 80% off of list. Go look for Cisco Press stuff on either eBay, Alibris, or Amazon - you'll be absolutely amazed.

Re:Those publishers really funny (1)

gladmac (729908) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620744)

I meant that it's not a solution to book prizes... since new books must come from somewhere. There is always a good deal of people that would have to buy the books for the high prize. You would notice this in that the cheap books on eBay and Amazon would run out. That said, it seems to be a sweet rebate for those who use it. Were more people to use it, the prizes even for used books would rise. There is a balance.

creators create yOUR own survival manual (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620589)

includes advise regarding the disempowerment of unprecedented evile, & the planet/population rescue mandate.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators.... providing crystal clear, newclear powered, directions, since/until forever.

see you there?

yet another whoreabull abuse of robbIE's PostBlock censorship devise averted.

Mirror please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620597)

Somebody with the copy please post a mirror. The download link is not responding

Save download times (0)

landoltjp (676315) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620639)

Since ./'ers like to post copies of the articles (and the subsequent karma slurpage), could someone please post the Word file here as well?

Re:Save download times (1)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620728)

could someone please post the Word file here as well

It's over 500 pages, so not really postable to /., but I put it up on Shareaza's G2. Search for CCNA-manual.doc.

Other Professor Creates His Own Mentifex AI Manual (-1, Offtopic)

Mentifex (187202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620644)

Los 34 Modulos de AI4U [ufasta.edu.ar] is a similar example of an academic professor creating his own instructional materials, in his own language (Spanish), for the needs of his own academic curriculum (artificial intelligence).
The AGI Mail List [mail-archive.com] on Artificial General Intelligence provides more details about the {gasp!} AGI Cognitive Architecture that has escaped from our English-speaking world into the Spanish nuevo mundo. Alife Main AI Program Loop [sourceforge.net] calls the following mind-modules:

Like the cited professor who made his book available for free on his website, very truly yours ATM/Mentifex has released AI4U on-line at his iUiverse publisher. It all goes to show what Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi said: "First they laugh at you; then they ignore you; then they fight you and, THEN, YOU WIN!" (India 1869-1948).

Wow... (4, Funny)

GodHead (101109) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620655)

Offering a 5mb file on slashdot...

That takes balls.

here it is in HTML form (4, Informative)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 10 years ago | (#9620662)

For those of you who refuse to download MS Word docs off the web (due to virus payload concerns), repeat after me: "Google is your friend"

After clicking on a link below, click on "View as HTML" on the resulting page.

Preface:
http://www.google.com/search?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sp college.edu%2Fstar%2Fcisco%2FMatt%2Fpreface.doc [google.com]

Textbook:
http://www.google.com/search?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sp college.edu%2Fstar%2Fcisco%2FMatt%2Ftextbook.doc [google.com] *

It's a gigantic HTML file and may give your browser fits, but at least it's not a MS Word doc file.

[* looks like Google hasn't parsed that big doc into HTML yet, maybe they will soon now :) ]

THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH ACADEMICS (THE C.V.) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9620715)

The C.V. reveals all:

PHD (IN PROGRESS)
CCNP (IN PROGRESS)

Well h3ll, I'm the President of the United States (IN PROGRESS). And a P0rn star to boot! (IN PROGRESS)

Funny thing is, he is a CCNP (IN PROGRESS), but supposedly taught a CCNP course.. Must have been really good if you couldn't pass the tests after teaching the course..

#Random Flamer who happens to be:
CCNP and CCDP

>note the lack of caveats.
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