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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Secrets and Lies : Digital Security in a Networked World
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
More like a cookery course than a set of recipe cards

During the course of writing this book, Bruce has broadened his focus from the rather theoretical realm of cryptography to a far more pragmatic and, in my opinion, valid view of security/controls in the round. The central and frankly rather demoralising thesis of the book (that perfect security is unattainable in the real world) is convincingly argued throughout, but Bruce develops the point that a `reasonable level' of security is in fact a realistic goal for any organisation. This book helps the reader challenge widespread assumptions about IT security to form a much clearer view on what constitutes `reasonable'.
In a nutshell, strong cryptography, by itself, is never enough but has to be properly integrated with the total controls environment. Technical and procedural controls must work on concert to prevent, detect and react to security threats. In my view, the book is very well written but is not an easy read. It's certainly stimulating, if you understand the issues, and has prompted me to review the way I approach IT security risk analyses and controls design. I'm particularly intrigued, for example, by the concept of building (and perhaps sharing via the web?) a library of `attack trees' to examine security risks. But this is no cookbook of security controls - the real world is just too complex and dynamic. It's more like a cooking course by a top chef than a set of recipe cards.
The bottom line: a fascinating insight and a worthy successor to his last classic, Applied Cryptography. Absolutely first rate.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Data Center Fundamentals
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Mauricio Arregoces, Maurizio Portolani, Mauricio Arregoces
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A Ton of Information

I recently read the title "Data Center Fundamentals", by Mauricio Arregoces and Maurizio Portolani. ISBN: 1587050234. This title has a ton of information in it. It covers just about every technology that could make up a Data Center environment. The authors have done a good job of cover detail about the several technologies in this title. Some technologies are covered in more detail than others. For example there's a lot of information on HTTP related technologies and not so much detail on say routing protocol. This makes sense, because the title is "Data Center Fundamental".

This is a great title for someone that is not well versed in several technologies, because the authors have covered a great deal of information and has done a good job presenting the basics of each. This will give someone that is not familiar with a certain technology the information they need to get an idea of the technology so they can continue to expand on what they've learned. Even though most of the basics are covered, the authors throw in great advanced information on technology that would pertain to Data Centers. I've learned a few nice advanced techniques on how to speed up network convergence when failures occur. The book is littered with nuggets of advanced techniques on ways to improve the overall architecture and performance of a Data Center.

I would recommend this title to all IT personnel that are responsible for either Networking, System Administration, System and Network Operations, even Managers and Project Managers should have a copy on their desk. In this day and age, it's imperative that technical support personnel have knowledge that crosses over their job function and into other technologies that make up the rest of the 'Network'. This makes them more proficient at their work and more valuable. I would highly recommend this title to personnel responsible for Small to Medium Business Networks especially, because those folks don't always have the exposure to the many different technologies that are covered in this title and will give them a great start to doing it right.

I think the Authors make good use of figures, diagrams and tables to augment the text where needed. The title isn't loaded with diagrams, but there are plenty to support the author's objective.

There is enough information in here about the lower level working of protocols; to give protocol analyzer enthusiasts there money's worth. There are other books out there that cover protocol analysis, but few books do it well. This book covers protocol analysis well and with an easy to understand format with supporting window diagrams.

The Authors have kept the sections straight and to the point. There is little wasted ink in here. There is some repetitive information in the book, specifically pertaining to HTTP header error codes. Not sure how the topic got covered three times. I suppose instead of having the reader reference one chapter/section on the topic, it was included in the text when needed. The information isn't exactly the same and by the time your done reading the book, you should have a solid understanding of Hyper Text Transport Protocol (HTTP).

I think the information contained in this book is a little heavier on the system side more so than the data networking side. I'm not suggesting there is a lack of information on the data networking side, only that there is more pertaining to systems.

Overall I thought this was a great title. It crosses many boundaries of responsibility in the Enterprise Networks and ties them all together very nicely. I would certainly purchase another title written by these authors. They are thorough in their writing, with not a lot of fluff.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ASP.NET Website Programming: Problem - Design - Solution, C# Edition
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Marco Bellinaso, Kevin Hoffman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Such an excellent book to the web developers

I read this book from cover to cover. Now I feel very confident to design and develop a web site using ASP.NET. You have to have some priliminary knowledge about .NET , before you start to read this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Dan Birlew
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not Very Helpful

First of all I have seen a few guides from Brady Games, and in my opinion, this one has to be one of the worst that they have ever written. This guide contains very little information about secrets, boss strategies, general tips, hints, etc. Throughout the entire guide (yes beginning to end, and it gets worse the further you get into the guide) the book consistantly wants you to go to a website to get information about parts of the game. The majority of the time the information that you would like (and sometimes need) is not included in the guide, and is only located on the website. This gets very aggrivating very quickly. Suppose I don't have a connection to the internet, or have a computer that connects to the internet over a slow phone line. Now what does the reader do Brady Games? I can get on the internet and download a guide off of the internet that is more comprehensive than the one written by Brady Games. If I'm going to buy a guide, I would like it to cover everything in the game, and contain every little piece of information contained in the game as well. If you want to get all of the information about Final Fantasy IX from this guide you have to visit playonline and give out your personal information which isn't a good idea. Why would playonline need your personal information anyway if all you are going to do is view their website? If you are looking for a guide that will only give you the basics, and tell you which direction to go, then you should buy this guide, but if you are looking for a real comprehensive guide, then look for a different guide.