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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Network Security Hacks
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Andrew Lockhart
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good simple reference

When I first got this little book, I was unimpressed by its idea: a seemingly random collection of network security tips, combined under the same cover. However, when I started reading, more and more often I exclaimed "ah, that is how it is done", etc. The book is one cool collection of tips, ranging from mundane (`how to configure iptables on Linux') to fairly esoteric (`how to use MySQL as an authenticating backend for an FTP server'). Always wanted to use `grsecurity' or `systrace', but thought it is too complicated - grab the book and give it a shot. Want to set up a fancy encrypted tunnel between two networks - it covers that too. Admittedly, a lot of advice given in the book can be found on Google, but it is nice to find it in one place. The book covers selected topics in host security, SSH and VPNs, IDS, monitoring and even touches upon forensics. I also liked its multi-platform coverage, with a slight, but unmistakable UNIX/Linux bias.
Overall, it is a great simple book, provided you don't try to find in it something it isn't: a neat collection of simple network security tips. I somewhat disliked that many tips don't go beyond `how to install a tool' and stop short of discussing `how to use it best'.
Anton Chuvakin, Ph.D., GCIA, GCIH is a Senior Security Analyst with a major security information management company. He is the author of the book "Security Warrior" (O'Reilly, 2004) and contributor to "Know Your Enemy II" by the Honeynet Project (AWL, 2004)). His areas of infosec expertise include intrusion detection, UNIX security, forensics, honeypots, etc. In his spare time, he maintains his security portal info-secure.org

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Visual Basic.NET How to Program, Second Edition
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Harvey M. Deitel, Paul J. Deitel, Tem R. Nieto
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Deitels are deities. Book is worthy of worship.

Having worked through the Deitels' C++ book two years back, I was delighted to find their VB.NET book. Training programmers is the business of the Deitel family. This book, like the others, is finely detailed. The book uses color to enhance the text and full-color on every screen shot. It's up-to-date with Beta 2 of VB.NET and the .NET IDE.
The 1517 pages cover each topic from the ground up, but it is so well written (and beautifully printed) that it makes a great text for learning VB.NET even for programmers who are already expert in another language. Remember it's for learning, not for reference, and for those learning VB.NET from the ground up. Those with a good foundation in VB6 will want to look elsewhere unless they have the patience and desire to review fundamentals.
The book is loaded with code samples, which are on an enclosed CD, and chapters are followed with long problem sets. Solutions to some of the problems can be found on the web site. ASP.NET, SQL Server, ADO.NET, and Web Services - the other fundamental technologies in the huge Microsoft .NET initiative - are all covered in enough detail to permit completing simple real business applications. Spend the extra $30 if you are serious about programming. The Deitel books are used on many college campuses for programming courses. If you are moving into programming from another technical area, you will be well grounded and ready to apply for entry-level jobs in the exciting world of .NET after you complete this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Assembly Language Step-by-step: Programming with DOS and Linux (with CD-ROM)
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Jeff Duntemann
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Book

If you don't have any programming knowledge then this is a great book to start with. However if you are an experienced programmer trying to learn assembly then you may find this book annoying in certain parts.The book does not actually go into assembly langauge until you get past a good number of chapters.This may be a good or bad thing depending on the way the reader likes to learn.Personally I think teaching pc architecture before going into assembly langauge is a good thing but I also believe the author could have saved a lot of space and still got the pc achitecture tutorial through.The book also covers 3 assemblers MASM,TASM and NASM but sticks with NASM for the most part. It also covers 32 bit assembly in Linux only.Overall, this is a good book to learn the basics of assembly language but be prepared to spend money on more books e.g "revolutionary assembly language" and "inner loops" if you want to be a good assembly language programmer.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Managing Gigabytes: Compressing and Indexing Documents and Images
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Ian H. Witten, Ian H. Witten, Alistair Moffat, Timothy C. Bell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Book on Information Retrieval

This is the only book there is that will actually teach you how to build an information retrieval system (aka search engine). It discusses all the algorithms and tradeoffs, and comes with free downloadable source code to experiment with. Some of the material is standard, but covered in more implementation detail here than anywhere else. Some of the material is novel: you won't find better coverage of compression unless you hand-assemble twenty research papers, and reverse-engineer them to figure out how they're implemented. But with "Managing Gigabytes", it's all here. (Although, after a particularly envigorating discussion of how to string together a bunch of techniques to compress their corpus and save a couple 100MB, I did a check and found you could buy 512MB of RAM for less than the cost of the book. Knowledge is Power, but sometimes a little cash is more powerful.) The only negative is that this book is not called "Managing Terabytes", as the first edition promised/threatened it might be. RAM and disk are cheap, but not that cheap, and for now terabytes (and sometimes petabytes) are managed only by NASA, Google, and a few others. I can't wait to see the third edition!