REVIEW - Hackish C++ Pranks & Tricks


Hackish C++ Pranks & Tricks


Michael Flenov



A-List (2004)




Francis Glassborow


December 2005



I thought I had already written a review of this book, but if so it fell into a black-hole. Perhaps it is because that is where I believe copies of this book should go.

The author likes to think that he has drawn the line between 'hacking' and 'cracking'. As most of us know, a hacker is a skilled programmer and might reasonably be applied as a complimentary term. Unfortunately the author thinks that playing tricks (or jokes as he likes to call them) on users such as making the clipboard misbehave is OK. Sorry, I do not find such things fun and they can cause thousands of hours of lost time, missed deadlines and deep frustration to the innocent recipient of such jokes. No I am not a spoil sport, but I think that authors should be more responsible and that publishers should filter out such book proposals.

Of course, the books subtitle, 'Pranks&Tricks' does give a warning and there is the argument that understanding abuse allows us to spot it and remove it from other code is not good enough. The author shows no awareness of the cost of pranks in a world with the level of connectivity that we have today.

As most of the books material depends on using some version of MS Windows, the sufferers from his misplaced sense of humour will be those who are unable to handle them. They finish by paying considerable sums of money to others to sort out the mess these jokes have made.

No, I do not like this book, and even if the C++ were impeccable rather than heavily reliant on features of MS Windows (that are not part of C++), I would still not recommend it. I strongly urge that the publisher show a greater degree of responsibility and remove it from sale. If they do not, I can only assume that they do not use machines running Microsoft operating systems.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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