Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway

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Anchor Books, 1996 - Computers - 249 pages
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In "Silicon Snake Oil", Clifford Stoll, the best-selling author of "The Cuckoo's Egg" and one of the pioneers of the Internet, turns hisattention to the much-heralded information highway, revealing that it is notall it's cracked up to be. Yes, the Internet provides access to plenty ofservices, but useful information is virtually impossible to find and difficultto access. Is being on-line truly useful? "Few aspects of daily life requirecomputers...They're irrelevant to cooking, driving, visiting, negotiating, eating, hiking, dancing, speaking, and gossiping. You don't need a computerto...recite a poem or say a prayer". Computers can't, Stoll claims, provide aricher or better life.

A cautionary tale about today's media darling, "Silicon Snake Oil" hassparked intense debate across the country about the merits--and foibles--ofwhat's been touted as the entranceway to our future.

"Internet enthusiasts would do well to heed [Stoll's] advice: Proceed withcaution and keep an eye on the rear-view mirror".-- "Business Week"

"Just in case everyone is getting too carried away with the apparent wonders ofthe computer age, Clifford Stoll is here with a warning...There may beroadblocks up ahead". -- "The New York Times"

" "Snake Oil" is a manifesto. It comes at a propitious time; the on-lineworld has been hyped beyond recognition...Few people have more impressivecredentials to trash the Internet than Stoll".-- "Washington Post"

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Silicon snake oil: second thoughts on the information highway

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Stoll, a Berkeley astronomer who chronicled how he broke a computer spy ring in The Cuckoo's Egg (LJ 9/15/89) and who has been netsurfing for 15 years, does an apparent about-face here, warning that ... Read full review

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About the author (1996)

Clifford Stoll is an astrophysicist who wrote The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage, a non-fiction work about Stoll's discovery of a hacker accessing sensitive U.S. government networks and then selling the information to the KGB. Stoll has also written Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway, a book analyzing the present Internet usage.

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