Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Effective Monitoring and Alerting" By Stawek Ligus, 1st Edition.

The art of monitoring and alerting

The main audiences for this book are system operators and system/network administrators who work extensively with monitoring and plan alerting configurations that strive to maintain high availability and deliver a high quality of service at the lowest cost.

The first chapter of the book is an introduction that explains the concept and definition of monitoring and alerting and the following chapters discuss monitoring, alerting, scale, monitoring in system automation, work environment, measure success, and principles. The author’s writing style is clear, informative, and practical. I was worried that the content would be dry but I have to admit that the information was interesting and engaging. The only real issue I had with the book was that there is no index.

Although this book is recommended for system operators and system/network administrators, I believe that anyone in information technology can benefit from it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

"Gray Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Reverse Engineers" By Justin Seitz, 1st Edition.

Gray Hat Python for Windows

In my career, Python was the first programming language that I have learned.  I then learned programming in Java and C++.   I looked back to Python for it’s simplicity and versatility.  That is why I decided to pick up this book to learn what Python can do in hacking and reverse engineering since that is something I am interested in.

The author’s writing style is clear, direct, and mature.  The format of the book is clean and well structured which makes it easier to maneuver.  The problem I had with the book was that the code in the book is unreliable.  The code in the book and the code in the website do not match.  Also, the book is Windows oriented which may be a disappointment for some people.

Overall, there was an abundance of valuable information in the book that grabbed my attention such as fuzzing and the debugging.  The book covers a lot of subjects such as debugging, hooking, code injection, and more.  The author does a very good job with consolidating the information in the book.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Windows PowerShell for Developers" By Douglas Finke, 1st Edition.

A great book for PowerShell developers

This book is meant for anyone who wants to know more about PowerShell, however this book is not a beginner’s guide.  It is recommended that the target audience for this book to be experienced developers or IT professionals.

The first chapter of the book gives a brief introduction to PowerShell and gives you an overview of what PowerShell is and why we would use it.  From that point on, the chapters cover a variety of different subjects such as imbedding PowerShell into C# apps, building GUIs, writing little languages in PowerShell, and many more.  The first two chapters of the book are an introduction and then from chapter three and beyond you jump right into the fun.

The author’s writing style is clear, informative, and mature.  I was able to navigate through the book from start to finish with ease.  The sample codes are easy to read and identify.  The book gives you a link to their website to give you the option to download all the sample codes in the book.  In my opinion, typing the sample code as you go along with the book is the best way to learn.

The only issue I had with the book was that it did not include an index.  Not having an index makes it hard to use the book as a reference book. This book is definitely a must if you want to learn more about PowerShell.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Building a Server with FreeBSD 7" By Bryan Hong, 1st Edition.

Easy step by step instructions

I am not familiar with UNIX-like operating systems but after following this book step by step, I have gained so much knowledge then I could have ever imagined.  I was aware of applications like Samba, Lynx, Drupal, and some others but I never really knew what they did or their purpose.  Going through this book is one of the best decisions that I have made in my career to further my knowledge in the UNIX world.

The format for each chapter includes the summary of the application, requirements for installing the application, what preparations you will need to install the application, how to install the application, how to configure the application, how you can test the application to make sure you installed it properly, and etc.  Throughout all the chapters, the author uses this format which is nice.  The layout of the book is organized and pleasant to navigate through.  The author’s writing style is easy to understand and to the point.

If you want to know more about UNIX or if you have a spare computer lying around that you want to turn into a server, definitely invest in this book.


"Cisco Routers for the Desperate: Router and Switch Management, the Easy Way" By Michael Lucas, 1st Edition.

Quick startup guide for Cisco routers

This book is ideal for people who are network administrators for a small business or if you need something to reinforce your CCENT or CCNA studies. The format of the book is well structured so that you can easily follow along with the examples. The author's style is clear, direct, and straight to the point.

The book covers a variety of different topics such as how to get a router up and running, router interfaces, WAN connections, troubleshooting routers, how to enable SSH, how to upgrade the IOS on a router, and etc. In my opinion, there are little bits and pieces of missing information that should be included. For example, the book explains how to enable telnet and SSH but does not explain how to telnet or SSH into your router. Also, it would be nice to recommend software that you can use to establish telnet and SSH sessions. The same could be said about the chapter dealing with IOS changes. In the chapter, it explains how to copy files to the router but does not explain how to copy files from the router. The chapter explains how to copy over files over FTP and SCP but there are other methods that can be used to copy over files such as TFTP. The book is called "Cisco Routers for the Desperate: Router and Switch Management, the Easy Way" however there is only six pages dealing with Cisco switches. There should be more information about Cisco switches to have included "Switch Management" in the title.

If you are looking for a quick crash course to Cisco routers, this book is meant for you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Regular Expressions Cookbook" By Jan Goyvaerts & Steven Levithan, 2nd Edition.

The ultimate regular expressions cheat sheet

The authors say it best when they say that the book is intended for those who:

regularly work with text on a computer, whether that’s searching through a pile of documents, manipulating text in a text editor, or developing software that needs to search through or manipulate text.

The first three chapters of this book cover useful tools, basic regular expression skills, and programming with regular expressions.  Chapters 4 through 9 contain the practical regular expressions recipes.  The programming languages that are covered in this book are C#, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, and VB.NET.  Every recipe that is in the book has solutions and explanations for all eight languages.
The recipes are organized and easy to look up.  For example, finding regular expressions that deal with validation, words, lines, URLs, and etc can be easily located in the table of contents.  The author’s tone is straightforward, direct, and informative.  This is not the kind of book where you read from start to finish, but rather a book where you just skim through to find the recipe that you need in whatever given situation.

With all the languages that the book covers, there are just too many languages to put into a single book.  I feel as though instead of having a book with all the languages, it would be better to have a book with a single language.  However, I must give praise on how well the authors were able to consolidate detailed solutions in 8 programming languages.

For everything that the book is and everything that it covers, the book offers a lot of information at a bargain.  If you work with regular expressions and need a reference book, this book is definitely the way to go.