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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Effective Oracle by Design (Osborne ORACLE Press Series)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Thomas Kyte
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Oracle design book

If you've ever looked over anything about the Oracle database, you've likely come across the name of this book's author, Tom Kyte. Like his articles, this book is designed to help the reader get the most out of the Oracle database. This is an excellent book for understanding the inner workings of Oracle database engine.
The theme of this book is that by understanding how Oracle works, you can write highly scalable, high performing applications. If you don't know how your database works, you'll always be frustrated and less likely to have a well-performing database. The author is absolutely serious about this point and drives it home by dispelling many myths surrounding Oracle (e.g. partitioning is always better than not partitioning). By discussing these technical details, the reader is equipped with the knowledge to build an application designed to perform.
If you're looking for a book to learn how to write effective PL/SQL, then you might be slightly disappointed by this book. While there is a great chapter on the Oracle specifics of writing SQL, this book is designed to architecting the entire database, not just the SQL statements run inside the database. I think this a very effective (and sadly novel) approach to database design. There are all too many books out there which concentrate on writing fast SQL, with little regard for the underlying data design and structure.
This is by far the best book I have read on understanding how Oracle works. The author covers everything from design to disaster recovery. If you are responsible for maintaining an Oracle database, I would highly recommend this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Flash Math Creativity
Publisher: Friends of ED
Authors: Keith Peters, Manny Tan, Jamie MacDonald
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Good for Inspiration, but not on concepts

While this book can encourage you to explore the creative aspects of Flash, it will not be much use to the practical designer/developer.There are plenty of pretty pictures, and the source code in printed in the book (but not included on a CD). However, I found it lacking descriptions of the underlying mathematical principles and concepts.This makes a great coffee table book for geeks.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Future of Our Privacy

We now live in the Age of Information. The protection of information transmission from interception and use by unintended recipients might be the most important issue during our lifetimes.
This book tells us where we were, where we are, and where we are going with the protection of information. The history of encryption of information has been the history of code makers and code breakers fighting to get the upper hand. We explore the Caesar shift and the Vigenère square to RSA encryption and quantum cryptography.
Monoalphabetic substitution ciphers are rather easily deciphered using frequency analysis of the most often used letters of the plaintext language. Polyalphabetic ciphers such as the Vigenère square require longer text to break, but eventually the keyword is discernable and the rest of the message is decipherable. Although the onetime pad cipher is absolutely secure, it suffers from a practical and logistical problem of random key generation and key distribution.
The German Enigma machine of WWII provides an example of mechanized machine encryption. This inspired the Allies to construct the first programmable computer in 1943, named Colossus. It is interesting to note that the very machine that would be the first computer of the Information Age was itself created to decrypt information.
Presently, our data transactions can be protected with a system of asymmetric cryptography, known as RSA, also known as a form of public key cryptography. With a sufficiently large number derived from the factor of two prime numbers, RSA is presently impregnable.
Thanks to Phil Zimmermann, in 1991 his program incorporating RSA and called Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, was posted on the internet as freeware. We can now encrypt messages and send digital signatures using certification authorities with a high degree of security.
The greatest threat to our privacy seems to be from our own government restricting or weakening the use of encryption. This is where policy questions and politics becomes an issue. Do we side with privacy of individuals? Or do we side with law enforcement?
According to the author, whatever the decision today, it can be changed tomorrow to accommodate changing circumstances. Personally, I prefer not to give up any privacy rights at any time. Restoring rights to citizens once those rights are surrendered is probably as difficult a task as repealing the income tax laws. If I am not mistaken, the U.S. federal income tax was proposed as a temporary measure for generating government revenue in 1918.
The holy grail of cryptography is quantum cryptography. Although quantum computers and quantum cryptography are only theoretical ideas, if quantum cryptography becomes a reality, then a truly unbreakable system of encryption would exist.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Interconnections: Bridges, Routers, Switches, and Internetworking Protocols (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Radia Perlman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book

This book is one of the better out there in the field. Written by someone with great insight in the material and a touch of humor now and then it gives you a good understanding of the technology available at the moment and the history behind it. Seldom found; is that it does not only explains the technologies, but it does also discusses the pros and cons. Valuable is also the section on protocol design, the only I came ever across.