Computer Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, March 2001
Page One of Two

Database Nation by Simson Garfinkel

O'Reilly & Associates, January 2001.
Paperback, 336 pages.
ISBN: 0596001053
Ordering information:
Amazon.com. | Amazon.co.uk


Database Nation
by Simson Garfinkel Do you know who is looking at your credit file? Or who has access to all of your medical records? The numerous technological advancements which have resulted from the creation of continuously smaller microchips have an unfortunate downside: privacy has been sacrificed along the way. When the data discovered by these technologies is incorporated into detailed databases containing information about you it becomes alarming, especially if the information falls into the wrong hands, is used against you or causes you major grief because of a computer glitch. Database Nation reveals the potential privacy risks from these new technologies in a manner which is sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Some of the technologies and privacy issues covered include: iris scans, surveillance satellites, DNA identification, medical data, cell phones, genetic autonomy, intelligent computing, terrorism, video cameras and the Internet.

Author Simson Garfinkel, a high-tech entrepreneur and journalist, presents some of the worst-case scenarios that could come of these new technologies, as well as from technologies which already exist. His detailed and well-researched book also provides facts and insight into the ways databases containing information about you are used by companies, organizations and the government today. Although Garfinkel does take an alarmist tone, he backs up his facts. He alerts the reader to potential situations that will alarm and frighten even the most steadfast skeptic. Database Nation is a great reference for anyone who wants to become more familiar with emerging technologies in security and data collection and the problems and risks associated with them. It also provides solid historical coverage of privacy issues and their origins. Highly recommended.


E-Volve-or-Die.com by Mitchell Levy

New Riders Publishing, December 2000.
Trade Paperback, 272 pages.
ISBN: 0735710287
Ordering information:
Amazon.com. | Amazon.co.uk


E-Volve-or-Die.com
by Mitchell Levy E-Volve-or-Die.com covers the concept of ecommerce management, and guides readers through different phases of building a web business. Part One of the book covers transformation, including ecommerce thinking and identifying new business models. Part Two covers the deployment phase and includes business planning, customer relationships and the importance of content, global presence and outsourcing options. Part Three is focused on how to maintain momentum, with chapters on managing customer service, organizational issues, Internet marketing and legal issues. Part Four is about the future, and addresses the shifting markets going into the future as well as managing change. Each chapter in the book includes a helpful summary of the chapter's E-Volutionary Tactics or major points. The text also includes interviews with leaders of well-known technology and dot-com companies including Michael Silton, CEO, Rainmaker Systems, Inc. Alfred Chuang, Founder, President, and Chief Operations Officer, BEA Systems, Inc. Peter Neupert, President and CEO, drugstore.com, inc. Rob Wrubel, CEO, Ask Jeeves, Inc. and Rick Steele, President and CEO, kinkos.com.

Author Mitchell Levy, the president of ECNow.com, an Internet consulting and marketing firm, has been through the development phases of ecommerce companies many times with different corporations and start-ups. Levy provides readers a complete picture of starting an online business and developing Internet strategies for an offline business. Some of Levy's focal points include the importance of customers, how customers relationships are different online and the importance of content. Levy also covers partnerships, planning, outsourcing, marketing and legal issues. The case studies of ecommerce projects for UPS, Office Depot and Cardinal Health are also extremely enlightening. E-Volve-or-Die.com is an excellent introduction to the concepts and techniques of content management and ecommerce.


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