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Book Reviews: Journals

Computer Sweden

November 06, 2004
This is a Swedish newspaper, in Swedish. Not a mag or journal, but an almost daily newspaper. It is published three days a week and delivered in the early morning with the newspaper van. I used to get a similar paper in Belgium, when I lived there, called "Data News". Now, Data News wasn't very good, but it was free for companies like mine (there's certainly a connection here). Nothing really objective or even new was published in it, so I just used it under the dog's food bowl, generally. I concede it had pretty good job ads, though. But the Swedish CS paper I'm discussing here is commercial and not very cheap at that. It seems to take its task pretty seriously and has very good circulation numbers. If you're in Sweden and you need to know who is doing what to whom and why, you need a subscription to this one. Especially if you're a consultant on the lookout for customers or on the lookout for a new job, for instance. You simply have to know who you're dealing with, preferably before you're dealing with them. Every country has one of these papers, but not all countries has one that works. This one does. (No comments yet)

Säkerhet & Sekretess

November 06, 2004
It's a Swedish journal, written in Swedish, about stuff that ought to interest Swedes who are interested in this kind of thing. The title of the journal, translated, is "Security & Confidentiality". It covers new security problems, standards and products related to information security, with, naturally, a slant towards the local market. Product testing of firewalls, routers and stuff. New laws and standards, etc. Their site, if it hasn't been hacked. (No comments yet)

2600 - The Hacker Quarterly

July 17, 2004
This mag has been published for 20 years now, but I only got around to subscribing to it this year. The first issue I got (spring 2004), I read from cover to cover right away. Compared to Hackademy, it's way more content rich and substantial. Compared to phrack, it's way more polished and slightly less tech heavy. Highly recommended. [Their site] (1 comment)
 
 
(martin)
November 06, 2004
 By the way, I also recommend you listen to "Off the Hook", a weekly radio show you can get as MP3 or streaming audio at their site. It's not so much a hacker program as a civil liberties and common sense talk show. Maybe there's no difference, come to think of it. As MP3 it's a very good use of an iPod.

The Hackademy Journal

May 28, 2004
Well, it's a brand new thing. They say it's been published for about two years already, but only in French. Now, the one I'm talking about is in English. I've only gotten the first issue so far. It seems to cover about the same ground as phrack does, but in a more polished way. It's definitely not as polished as other mags; there are some grammatical errors and even a spelling error or two, but nothing irritating. The thing phrack has and Hackademy hasn't is the sublime responses to reader's mail. But I guess you can't have it all. It's also a weird, but not badly chosen, tabloid format, printed on rather thick newpaper stock. It's also remarkably cheap, so I think they deserve our support. Something good may come of it. [Their site] (1 comment)
 
 
(martin)
November 06, 2004
 Still no second issue... and it's been six months now. I knew I took a small risk and now I am hearing a little voice telling me I've been had, even if it wasn't intentional. Not a sign of any activity on their website; entirely unchanged since forever. Even though they took my money and didn't deliver, my heart goes out to them. That's the kind of guy I am. (Generous or stupid, you decide.)

IEEE Computer

May 19, 2004
I paid up and became a member of IEEE, Computer Society at last. Should probably have done that many years ago, but it did happen at last, at least. The magazine "Computer" is complimentary with the membership. It's around 140 pages per issue and there's bound to be something very useful in each issue. All the magazines and journals that IEEE (and ACM) bring out are worlds better than what you can find at the newsstands. IEEE/CS has a digital library (like ACM) for a very decent extra fee, where you can find loads more magazines, journals and transactions. (No comments yet)

IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine

May 19, 2004
One "Transactions" I couldn't help subscribing to in paperform is this one. It's not a part of the digital library, so there's actually no other way of getting the content than subscribing to it. It's a quarterly, and I've only seen one issue yet. That one issue, however, contained an article I would hated to have missed, about role-based access control models for the electronic patient record. (No comments yet)

ACM Queue

May 19, 2004
This is an optional magazine from ACM. It's not included in the basic membership fee. You can read it online or download articles if you've got the digital library subscription, but I took out an extra paper subscription on this one, since it's pretty darn interesting most of the time. (Kim: the february 2004 issue on Game Development is a must-read, practically all of it!) The emphasis is on emerging technology of all kinds. Again, it's very professional, well stuffed and worth it. (No comments yet)

Communications of the ACM

May 19, 2004
You get the "Communications of the ACM" as part of your membership. Both (mag and membership) are recommended. The content of the magazine is thematic. Each issue is about 140 pages with very slick layout and editing. It's an entire level above the usual newsstand magazines. Some issues can be devoured in their entirety, others can be entirely ignored. It all depends on the theme. Note that with the membership you can get access to ACM's digital library for a very decent extra and that contains loads of interesting mags and journals. To keep up with computing on a professional level, I really think you should cough up the dough to join both the ACM and IEEE/CS. (No comments yet)

The Delphi Magazine

May 19, 2004
Of the two new Delphi magazines I've just begun getting, this one has impressed me most. It has more pages and the stuff in there interests me more. Also, the back issues CD is really useful. It's too early to tell, but I'm happy so far with this rag. Rough paper, though. (2/2002) (1 comment)
 
 
(martin)
May 28, 2004
 Haven't seen any issues since December 2003, so I guess my boss stopped paying for it. Not only did the mag start to veer into .NET (which I don't mind) but from a Delphi perspective (which seems a bit perverse, sorry guys, but C# is better than Delphi will ever be under .NET). But I'm also not up to arguing about it with my boss, so I let it pass.

Delphi Informant Magazine

May 19, 2004
This is the second of the two Delphi magazines I just started getting. It's only some 50 pages (while the Delphi magazine is 80+). I'm sort of sceptical about this one. Except for the extremely glossy paper. The cover's so glossy I bet you can't stack it very well. But maybe you won't want to. (2/2002) Hi, I'm back, and now it's 2004 and I still don't like this mag. All the really interesting articles seem to be badly researched, often plain wrong. I've seen some hair-raising errors. Not details, but real fundamental misunderstandings. Amateurish. Stay away. (3/2004) (1 comment)
 
 
(martin)
May 28, 2004
 I got another proof of the inferiority of this magazine: I submitted an article proposal and they didn't even reply. No "thank you, but sorry", no nothing. On the other hand, maybe they saw my review of their mag above and concluded my proposal must have been just a sick joke... these guys have no sense of humor. I mean, I could have changed my mind, couldn't I?

New Scientist

May 19, 2004
I've been reading New Scientist on and off for thirty years now and it only keeps getting better. Very highly recommended. (1/2002) (No comments yet)

C++ Report

May 19, 2004
Here the big C++ names play around. The level of the content is very variable, from medium level tutorial to over-the-edge dark corners of the language programming to pure juvenile. It's also infrequent and expensive and generally inpractical. But I wouldn't miss it for anything. Recently, Herb Sutter took over as chief editor and it looks as if the mag is getting more of a definite direction. It does look as if it's going for the high-level tutorial style. Templates, idioms, patterns. If so, it will be even better.
...Oops... it just went out of business! So much for my predictive capacities... I got the OOP Journal as a replacement. (No comments yet)

Dr. Dobb's Journal

May 19, 2004
Actually, it shouldn't be in this list, since I cancelled the subscription a while back. With sadness and regret. I've had this mag on and off for 10 years or so by now, my longest running subscription. But recently DDJ has been leaning more and more towards Java and Corba, becoming a kind of opposite to the MS camp. I think that's a good idea, since there's hardly anything out there with clout on the non-MS side of things. But personally, I'm totally into COM and C++, so it would be more of a distraction than a gain to keep following it. But it's a much too important mag not to be mentioned here. (1 comment)
 
 
Actually, it should be on the list (martin)
May 24, 2004
 The Windows Developers Journal subscription turned into a Dr. Dobb's subscription when WDJ died. That was a really good substitution and I'm happy about it. Seems Dr. Dobb's got more interesting over the years; more little articles over more interesting things.

C/C++ Users Journal

May 19, 2004
P.J. Plauger left! Can you believe that? I hope the mag will find new material to replace his stuff. Simpy by having PJP, this mag feels like the outlet for the C++ standards work. This is also the place where STL and new algorithms, seen with standards eyes, get good treatment. Highly recommended (at least if PJP didn't leave an unfillable hole). Ah... the death of C++ Report revitalized CUJ! Several of the good guys moved from there to here. ...2004 and PJ Plauger is back. The whole magazine, though, is becoming very thin. I didn't renew. (No comments yet)

Windows Developer's Journal

May 19, 2004
Ron Burk's private rag. That's how it feels, and that is good. It's not that Ron Burk writes everything in there, but whatever enters his mind is written in there somewhere. He's also totally human and knows a lot less about many things than many readers do, and doesn't hide it. But he also knows how to find information and writers, and the stuff he himself writes about, is just great. His writing style is so good I always try to read his articles first, whatever the subject. The tools he uses are Windows (duh), VC++, COM, etc, so in this rag I very often find very useful tips, tricks and techniques. Highly recommended. (That this journal actually accepted one of my articles further underlines their exceptional sense of taste and talent.) Jan 2002: Now what happened is Ron Burk left, and the journal changed name to Windows Developer's Magazine. It also got C#'ish and less C++'ish. We'll see where this ends. For the time being, still thumbs up. ... 2004: it's getting very, very thin. Down to 42 pages. I'm sorry to see it die. ...now it's 2004 and it's dead. (No comments yet)

MSDN Magazine

May 19, 2004
Until very recently (march 2000), there were two other MS rags (MIND and Microsoft Systems Journal), that merged into MSDN Magazine. I've subscribed to MSJ for years and always loved it. MSDN Mag (MSDNM?) is the same plus much more. You can actually get it for free over the web at the microsoft site, but it's so good I'm perfectly prepared to plunk down money to get a paper copy. If you do COM, XML, or anything relating to the century in computing, you need this one badly.

(11/2002) Have to add a note here. The last year, MSDN Mag has been doing nothing but .NET and Web services and stuff 99% of the time. If you, like me, haven't picked up on .NET just yet, there's only the editorial and Lascia's C++ column to read. I'm counting on the last year becoming useful backissues soon, though. I hope. (No comments yet)

PC Magazine

May 19, 2004
It's thinning out and becoming a very populist "buyers" mag. Hardly any technique at all worth mentioning in there. I still have it because I paid for three years and also because it's my only contact with the what-to-buy part of computing. I wonder what will run out first: my subscription or the life of the mag. (jan 2002 note: my subscription ran out first.) (No comments yet)

Journal of Object-Oriented Programming

May 19, 2004
I didn't get this one by choice, but as a replacement for the remaining paid-for issues of C++ Report (R.I.P.) Most, almost all in fact, authors fled C++ Report not to OOP but to C/C++ Users Journal. So that's what's recommended from now on. Not this one. It's actually bloody awful. (No comments yet)

IEEE Security & Privacy

May 19, 2004
This magazine is new. It was born at the beginning of 2003 and focuses entirely on exactly what the title claims: security and privacy issues. It's of the same high quality as the other IEEE and ACM publications and I find it hard not to read it cover-to-cover. (No comments yet)

Software

May 19, 2004
Another one in the long series of IEEE publications that is good enough to get on paper, too. It's about general software development and software engineering as a science. It's been out there for more than 20 years now, so it was high time I found out it existed. (No comments yet)
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