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From the PublisherWebster’s New World Telecom Dictionary is an excellent piece of work. A handful of other telecom dictionaries and encyclopedias are currently in print, by far the most popular of which is Newton’s Telecom Dictionary. Because Newton’s dominates the market and has done so for many years, any telecom dictionary or encyclopedia is inevitably compared to that work. Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary is no exception, particularly because Ray Horak was the contributing editor to Newton’s from the 12th through the 22nd editions.
Although Webster’s defines only 4,600 terms in comparison to Newton’s highly dubious claim of some 24,500 terms, Webster’s definitions are much better researched, much more precise, and much more efficiently worded (that is, there is much less “fluff”). Even if Webster’s almost certainly will gain in bulk as future editions expand the coverage of the telecom domain, it contains all of the essential telecom and IT terms, and defines them clearly and concisely. Webster’s includes many humorous definitions but, unlike Newton’s, they are all relevant and meaningful. Newton’s, on the other hand, is so full of personal observations and anecdotes, irrelevant humor (?), and inaccurate definitions as to make you wonder why bother to make the comparison at all.
Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary is an excellent piece of work. Ray Horak and his technical editor, Bill Flanagan, have collaborated to create a well-written, authoritative work that clearly sets a new standard for telecom dictionaries. I highly recommend it to anyone serious about telecom. (John R. Vacca, The Internet Protocol Journal (Cisco Systems), December 2008, pp. 36-38)
Webster's New World Telecom Dictionary by Ray Horak includes more than 4,600 terms essential to a clear and complete understanding of voice, data, video and multimedia communications system and network technologies, applications and regulations. Although the book is an excellent technical dictionary, Horak‘s plain-English, commonsense style yields definitions that are as thoroughly understandable to the business professional or student as they are to the electrical engineer. It is thoroughly researched, highly objective, absolutely accurate and includes just about every essential term, phrase, abbreviation, acronym, backronym, contraction, initialism and portmanteau you might encounter in the telecom and datacom domains. Many entries are encyclopedic in nature, discussing applications and issues, as well as technical specifics. The book clearly is the most authoritative contemporary telecom dictionary. (NATD World, October 27, 2008)
Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary by Ray Horak is comprehensive with more than 4,600 terms essential to a clear and comprehensive understanding of voice, data, video and multimedia communications system and network technologies, applications and regulations. Although the book is a technical dictionary, Horak’s plain-English, commonsense style yields definitions that are as thoroughly researched, objective, accurate, and includes just about every essential term, abbreviation, acronym, contraction, initialism and portmanteau you might encounter in the telecom and datacom domains.
The book is the perfect companion to his Telecommunications and Data Communications Handbook, published by Wiley-Interscience in October 2007. Taken together, these two are all you need to get your arms around the essentials of telecom. (Reviewed by Mark Simon, Founder/CEO of EvinceMedia, Telecom Reseller, May/June 2008 Edition)
Many folks who entered the telecom trade during the 1980s and the go-go years of the 1990s came to rely on Newton’s Telecom Dictionary, from long-time BCR columnist Harry Newton, as their guide to the wild and wooly world of telecom.
Unfortunately, those of us in the trade didn’t think very highly of Harry’s contribution. While it did not lack for wit, Newton’s Dictionary was woefully short on quality information. In fact, one of the ways the veterans identified the rookies was by the latter’s dependence on what we looked at as a rather lame source.
For those who are entering the field today (and even for those who have been around for a while) there is a new dictionary that is worth the investment. Ray Horak, President of The Context Corporation, has written the Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary, and it’s a gem. It’s 559 pages of well-written, insightful information on everything from "A" (for Ampere) to "Zero-Water Peak Fiber", not to mention symbols like Octothorpe (i.e. the "#" sign) and all those terms we have that begin with numbers starting like "0B + D".
Mr. Horak’s book is thoroughly researched, and contains an unfathomable wealth of detail. I have taught data networking for over 25-years and pride myself on precision- this book is precise. Where you might think you know the definition of that term, here you’ll find that definition expressed with absolute precision and find three other definitions you weren’t even aware of.
Ours is a challenging field, and good sources of information are few and far between. The Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary is a source you can count on. If they have a Jeopardy category on "Telecom Trivia", my money’s on Ray Horak.—Reviewed by Michael Finneran, dBrn Associates (NoJitter.com, May 29, 2008)
What’s remarkable about this work is it defines over 4,600 telecom terms and, scanning through it, it appears there are more TLAs (three-letter acronyms) involved than the mind can comfortably encompass. I’ve found the dictionary incredibly useful when researching, and every now and then I find an interesting snippet of trivia (did you know Bob Metcalfe’s middle name is "Melancton"?) (Reviewed by Mark Gibbs, Network World, 4/30/08)
Books about telecom subjects generally fall into one of two categories: Very Basic or Incomprehensible. For the vast majority of us that fall between these two extremes, there is a new dictionary of telecom terms that is neither too technical, nor condescending.
The standard text, and one of the most widely read books in telecom, has been Newton’s Telecom Dictionary, now in its 23rd edition. But, the man who edited Newton’s for much of its history, has now published his own version of a telecom dictionary. Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary (Wiley, 2008, ISBN 978-0-471-77457-0) is written by Ray Horak.
A dictionary is one of the most difficult books to write. Just coming up with a comprehensive list of terms is onerous enough in itself. But, to define each of these terms in a way that is understandable by the unwashed masses, is mind boggling.
Horak has done an admirable job, and created a work that can be used where Newton’s can cause problems. For example, in the expert witness work I sometimes perform, Newton’s funny or flippant definitions can be used to impugn the credibility of the source itself. You will not have this problem with Webster’s; it is a work that will never cause you a red face if you use it in a hostile environment.
In all, I will continue to keep both on my bookshelf, and value them both, cognizant of the differences. (Reviewed by Gene Retske, The Prepaid Press, April 2008)
I found a lot to like about Webster's New World Telecom Dictionary. First, it is indeed very easy to read, and contains a lot of detail, as well as good cross referencing in the entries where needed. Second, it provides good illustrations and diagrams that get the point across. Finally, while touted as a dictionary, it feels more like an encyclopedia in that it does not have that dry dictionary form—but rather a more inviting feel that makes you want to come explore. Whether you are a telecom or IT professional, do yourself a favor and get Webster's New World Telecom Dictionary as it is highly recommended. (T. Michael Testi, BC Books, October 31, 2007)