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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Smart Card Handbook 3rd English Edition
Author:
Rankle&Effing
ISBN:
0-470-85668-8
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
1096pp
Price:
£95
Reviewer:
Chris Hills
Subject:
embedded systems
Appeared in:
16-3
What is there to say about this book? At 1086 Pages it is 40% larger than the second edition, which was 80% larger than the first. Of the first edition I said: "This isThesmart card book against which all others will be measured". It is still the case. All smart card Engineers should have access to this book. Buy it!

For those with the second edition: the third has new sections on PKCS #15, USIM, Tachosmart, Smart card terminals (MUSCLE, OCF, MKT, PC/SC) contactless data transmission. Revised information on the telecoms sector (GSM, UMTS, (U)SIM App toolkit, and decoding GSM files) also smart card security including attacks and counter measures. Apart from that the rest of the book has been updated and revised. You may want to get this edition anyway.

For those who don't have the second edition (including those with the first)buy this edition. It contains everything you need to know about smart cards as development engineer. However, it is too much for project managers, marketing etc there are other books that give an overview. This is the encyclopaedia.

It is expensive at 95 GBP (around 140 E) but compared to the standards you will need to buy it is good value for money. You might ask why you need this book if you have the standards. Simply put: this book is the commentary on the standards; that is standards plural. It fills in the gapsbetweenthe standards. I have seen an Engineer solve a problem with this book in 20 minutes that had left him stuck for two weeks with just the standards. I cannot promise that will always happen but it gives you the edge.

As I said it contains "everything" you need to know about smart cards. I would be hard pressed to find something that engineers would need that is not covered. No, it does not tell you how to hack cards, recharge satellite TV and telephone cards etc but it does have card OS information including Linux, windows for smart cards, Java and Multos.

This book gives you all the building blocks for you to construct your own systems but it does NOT contain source code. For obvious reasons it cannot.

The useful part of the book is that it covers (almost) "everything". Making it an ideal reference for areas you are not directly working on. I found the section on card physical testing and production useful. Usually I grab this book before the standards for problem solving.

The style is factual and clear. It has been well translated from the original German.

This isTheSmart Card Book, there is no other. Highly Recommended.Other Languages