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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Python, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Mark Lutz, David Ascher
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good Beginner Language


Excellent for beginning programmers. Very clear, light reading. Nice sense of humor. Even for advanced programmers (who are new to python), I recommend "Learning Python " instead of "Programming Python" because it is better organized and takes up less shelf space.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Swing, Second Edition
Publisher: Manning Publications
Authors: Matthew Robinson, Pavel Vorobiev
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Invaluable source of techniques


I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to find out more about advanced Swing. It is packed full with good examples and explanations of those examples.
The examples are very detailed and can be used as a starting point for your own projects.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Forensic Discovery
Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional
Authors: Dan Farmer, Wietse Venema
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One of the best security books published in the last year


When most people think of forensics, television shows like Quincy and CSI come to mind. Where such shows deviate from reality is the unrealistic speed at which the actors are able to identify, apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators. In the real world, (unlike television, where the crime must be solved by the end of the family hour), crimes are solved with slow, deliberate and methodical steps. The prodigious incidence of digital crime has elevated computer forensics to a critical role within the field of information security. The focus of computer forensics is twofold: first is the attempt to determine whether a breach has occurred and to stop the perpetrator; second is prosecution of the offender, if the breach was a criminal activity.

Security luminaries Dan Farmer and Wietse Venema wrote one of the first vulnerability scanners (SATAN) almost 10 years ago; SATAN was the precursor to ISS Scanner, Retina and nmap. Venema wrote such well-known security applications as the TCP Wrapper program and the Postfix mail server. Farmer and Venema's new book Forensic Discovery is a valuable book that grounds a computer-savvy reader in the world of digital forensics.

An image of a pipe by artist René Magritte is on the cover with the caption Ceci nest pas une pipe. ("This is not a Pipe.") The picture demonstrates that an object exists on many planes; the simple recognition of the picture initiates the belief that we are seeing something, but it is only known in representation. Surrealist painting and digital forensics coalesce in that the digital forensic investigator must think broadly and unconventionally in order to reconstruct an incident, all the time keeping in mind that often what initially seems obvious is neither real nor correct.

The material in the book is an outgrowth of a one-time seminar the authors gave in 1999 on digital forensics and analysis. At the seminar, Farmer and Venema rolled out The Coroner's Toolkit (TCT), a collection of tools for gathering and analyzing forensic data on a Unix system. TCT is heavily referenced throughout the book.

The book initially seems thin, at just 198 pages, but there is no filler and the information is presented in a fast and furious manner. Part one of the book comprises 35 pages and is an introduction to the foundations of digital forensics and what to look for in an digital investigation.

Part two (chapters 3-6) is the nucleus of the book, which quickly gets into low-level details about file systems and operating system environments. While other forensics books focus exclusively on the discovery and gathering of data; Forensic Discovery adds needed insight on how to judge the trustworthiness of the observation and the data itself. Again, the idea is that not everything is as obvious as it may initially seem. An effective investigation often requires intense analysis, where meaningful conclusions take time.

Chapter 4, "File System Analysis," notes that while computers have significantly evolved since their inception, little has changed in last 30 years in the way that file systems actually handle data.

Chapter 5, "Systems and Subversion," is particularly interesting as it deals with system startup and shutdown, from a forensics perspective. The chapter shows that there are thousands of possible opportunities to subvert the integrity of a system without directly changing a file during startup and shutdown. A crucial decision that must be made during an incident is whether to shut down the system or let it remain on-line. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach, and the book details them.

Part three (chapters 7-8) is about the persistence of deleted file information. The authors' research reveals that data can be quite resistant to destruction. The book shows that a huge amount of data and metadata can survive intended deletion as well as accidental damage.

Forensic Discovery is unusual in that other books on forensics are often nothing more than checklists and step-by-step instructions on what to do during an incident. Forensic Discovery provides a broad framework on the nature of data and how it can be recovered for forensic purposes. By understanding the underlying operating system, the act of analyzing and dealing with a security breach becomes much easier.

The book's target reader is anyone who wants to deepen his understanding of how computer systems work, as well as anyone who is likely to become involved with the technical aspects of computer intrusion or system analysis. The topics are too advanced, to make it the right book for the novice system administrator. For the technical reader, though, Forensic Discovery is one of the best computer security books published in the last year. The value of the information is immense, and the extensive experience that the authors bring is unmatched.




Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Version 2003 (Book & CD-ROM)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Francesco Balena
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best Visual Basic .NET book so far ...


Let me just say that I have tons of Visual Basic .NET books which include my previous beloved Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming in Microsoft Visual Basic .NET (what a mouth full) that also author by Mr. Francesco Balena together with Jeffrey Richter.
Well, I don't know why I waited so long before getting Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET by Francesco Balena. It has something to do with the fact that I already have a copy of the Framework programming book, or so I thought.
Let's just say after reading countless books on the framework and the .NET idioms etc I still find the concepts somewhat elusive, until one day I accidentally flipped throught this book and it instantly made all the concepts clear to me. I put this book in the same category as Mr. Ted Pattison's outstanding Programming Distributed Applications with COM+ and Visual Basic 6.0 book.
I got to go study now, but will write some more after I'm through with it.
Thanks Mr Balena, and keep playing that Jazz saxophone. By the way, I am a Jazz guitarist as well.