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Editorial errors, etc.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:16 am
by morpheus
Reader Brian has turned my attention to a scathing review on Amazon of my book by one, Glenn Story. Mr. Story lamented the book is "full of errors". I beg to differ, and on Amazon he didn't really bother to back up any claims. Brian took up my mantle (thank you!) and referred a discussion he had with said individual, (, if you want to follow along). The highlights are some editorial errors, and one factual error. Let's start with the factual:

"At location 7575 in the ebook, it describes a “double fault” as “an abort, as if a fault is triggered twice in the same instruction, it does not make sense to retry. ” In the preceding table, it says that a double fault is “Generated the second time a fault occurs on the same instruction.”

In fact, a double fault is when a fault is generated while handling another fault. This is generally not on the same instruction. "

That is indeed correct. Mea culpa. I don't know how that inaccuracy slipped.

An example of an editorial error, at location 16932: “…(due to the number of erase operations in a journal, which could shorten the underlying flash).” I assume this is meant to read, “shorten the *life* of the underlying flash.”

Yes, that does mean shorten the life, and not short circuit. Most readers would get that (Editors might not)

Location 5249: “…a BIOS has a processor interface, which is usually accessible by means of a specialized machine instruction (commonly INT 13h).” This sentence has two problems: (1) the BIOS is *always*, not *commonly* accessed via an INT instruction. (2) There is a separate INT number assigned to each service in the BIOS.

Hence, the word *commonly* in that sentence, which Mr. Story got in the wrong context.It is meant to provide an example of the most common access (as old DOS programmers may recall, along with 10h, and others). There is a full interrupt vector. Nobody said INT 13h is the only one, or that there are other ways for the BIOS. It's surprising that someone can be so pedant in an introductory section (I make the point that BIOS is old, and not relevant in Apple anyways, since they adopted EFI from the get go).

As for the editing.. well.. I can't defend the editing. Astute readers such as Mr Story may see that as soon as in the acknowledgement section poor editing dropped a full stop in the middle of the most important part, where I thank Amy (so much for being romantic..). Makes one think why they bother going with a publisher in the first place (and, indeed, I won't be making THAT mistake in my next book..).

I do apologize for the oh-so-poor-editing and cases wherein there may be a double-entendre (or double-lire, more fitting). People like Mr. Story are welcome to give scathing reviews, 3 star, or 2 star (like another guy on Amazon accusing me of collecting amateur blog posts, when in fact it's the other way around - e.g. the iPhone Wiki, which is where I post stuff before and after the book). But.. We (still) live in a (mostly) free country. To each his own.

It would be wise, however (as Brian and Leon point out in the thread with him), to not lose the forest for the trees. A work of this scope has to round an edge or two - and irrelevant ones were (this is a book about OS X, not about BIOS or Intel architecture). The salient points (those relating to iOS and OS X) are all correct and verifiable (which is part of what the "experiments" were). The other main point - "brevity" is because Wiley capped at 500, and (following much arguments) accepted nothing after 800 or so. parts that I couldn't write in the book are exactly why I started the site for, and put more articles.

In general, It would be wiser still if rather than dismissing, Mr. Story and other readers would point out any errors they spot or anything they contest/disagree with/etc. After all, it's easy to say "there's a mistake" irrespective of whether there is one, but just expressing disdain is hardly helpful - people would want to see where the mistake is, if the disdain is at all warranted, and I would certainly love to clarify and/or admit.

So, to quote the MBTA - "If you see something, say something" - And you are welcome to say it right here.