Customer Review

15,425 of 15,913 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ping! I love that duck!, January 25, 2000
This review is from: The Story about Ping (Viking Kestrel picture books) (Hardcover)
PING! The magic duck!
Using deft allegory, the authors have provided an insightful and intuitive explanation of one of Unix's most venerable networking utilities. Even more stunning is that they were clearly working with a very early beta of the program, as their book first appeared in 1933, years (decades!) before the operating system and network infrastructure were finalized.
The book describes networking in terms even a child could understand, choosing to anthropomorphize the underlying packet structure. The ping packet is described as a duck, who, with other packets (more ducks), spends a certain period of time on the host machine (the wise-eyed boat). At the same time each day (I suspect this is scheduled under cron), the little packets (ducks) exit the host (boat) by way of a bridge (a bridge). From the bridge, the packets travel onto the internet (here embodied by the Yangtze River).
The title character -- er, packet, is called Ping. Ping meanders around the river before being received by another host (another boat). He spends a brief time on the other boat, but eventually returns to his original host machine (the wise-eyed boat) somewhat the worse for wear.
If you need a good, high-level overview of the ping utility, this is the book. I can't recommend it for most managers, as the technical aspects may be too overwhelming and the basic concepts too daunting.
Problems With This Book
As good as it is, The Story About Ping is not without its faults. There is no index, and though the ping(8) man pages cover the command line options well enough, some review of them seems to be in order. Likewise, in a book solely about Ping, I would have expected a more detailed overview of the ICMP packet structure.
But even with these problems, The Story About Ping has earned a place on my bookshelf, right between Stevens' Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, and my dog-eared copy of Dante's seminal work on MS Windows, Inferno. Who can read that passage on the Windows API ("Obscure, profound it was, and nebulous, So that by fixing on its depths my sight -- Nothing whatever I discerned therein."), without shaking their head with deep understanding. But I digress.
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Comments

Tracked by 11 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 112 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 28, 2006 3:36:25 AM PDT
D. Flower says:
Absolute genius...

Posted on Oct 2, 2006 3:20:09 PM PDT
Lost Gecko says:
A great whooping laugh of delight!

Posted on Oct 14, 2006 10:29:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jan 30, 2014 8:09:56 PM PST
"I can't recommend it for most managers, as the technical aspects may be too overwhelming and the basic concepts too daunting."

heh-heh.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2006 12:28:55 PM PST
Philip Medes says:
Why haven't we heard about Ping's brother, Pong?

Posted on Dec 14, 2006 5:26:20 AM PST
J. Goosby says:
Great to see this back, but the original posting of this is recorded on the webpage of the guy who originally wrote the PING protocol

http://ftp.arl.mil/~mike/ping.html

Posted on Jan 26, 2007 10:06:27 AM PST
Cool writeup. Not soo cool that the poster did not attribute the source of it.

Posted on Apr 19, 2007 2:35:56 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Dec 10, 2008 10:21:08 PM PST]

Posted on Jun 28, 2007 7:05:43 AM PDT
Eric Mill says:
One of Amazon's best reviews.

Posted on Jul 23, 2007 3:24:19 PM PDT
Brilliant

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 9, 2007 7:29:06 AM PDT
aa-Pam says:
No. I'd say humor wins out. There are plenty of lame reviews for moms like me to read. One might never discover a gem like this if it were buried amongst the others.
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