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A Review of Webster's New World Telecom Dictionary by Ray Horak 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.
A Review of Webster's New World Telecom Dictionary by Ray Horak
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.
For people who need to "know what the words mean" this is an excellent resource. However, for those of us who thrive on telecom trivia, this is truly a delight. Whatever term you look up, you will inevitably be drawn to some other definition on the same page that is pure trivia. In the past few weeks I've learned everything from the name of the first telephone operator to the altitude of the ionosphere.
The great thing is that it covers all the new technologies but still includes terms you haven't used in years (remember "INWATS"). What's more, it has a table for every thing you conceivably put into a table, from the American Wire Gauge Standards to the ITU's Q Series Recommendations.
While it is highly unlikely that any sane person is going to read a dictionary, this one might actually be worth the effort. I actually kept it for "bathroom reading" for a few weeks, and it proved an ideal companion. You start by looking up a few random terms, and before you know it, you're sucked into a delightful journey of discovery.
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.