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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Art of Intrusion : The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders & Deceivers
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Enroaching in Cyberspace

In this book we find 9 well documented true stories or shall we call them lessons of breaking into the main frame of household name organizations. I will first say this was a very entertaining read, if you like crime stories you will will definitly enjoy this. Kevin Mitnick and William Simon have created a brand new True Crime genre "Cyber Crime". However some of these cyber thieves are in all actuality your best weapon against computer vulnerability. Oneday someone will take the time to start a company that employs these skilled individuals to test your companys computer vulnerabity and instead of them paying restitution to save your hide you will be paying them a fortune. Having said that I must follow by saying some of these "Hackers" can also be a terrorists right hand man, just read chapter 2. My personal favorite was the story of Adrian Lamo known in this book as the Robin Hood Hacker the direction he uses to hack into servers is more Carl Jung than Computer Programmer extraordinaire. What makes this book exceptional is that the authors go an extra step to inform the reader how to prevent such computer attacks in a very detailed manner. Many of you have probably looked at a copy of this duo's first book "Art of Deception" - (Which is also a great book) well this one is altogether different the stories are more indepth, have the element of human emotion and are real. Just don't go hacking into the online bookstore trying to get a free copy.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: How to Do Everything with Photoshop CS
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Colin Smith, Colin Smith
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have!

This books serves as an excellent teaching tool and all around great resource for Photoshop users of any level. It's well structured, with easy to understand content. What I like the most is that the book is filled with full color images and screen shots for easy reference. It's very hands on. Excellent value for the price.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Unabridged Pentium 4 : IA32 Processor Genealogy (PC System Architecture Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Tom Shanley
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Possibly a definitive manual of the P4?

Well should the title say Unabridged. It would not go nicely for you to drop this 1633 page tome on your feet!

The book is aimed squarely at a traditional electrical engineering hardware person. Who hopefully already has extensive experience in designing a chipset or motherboard around a microprocessor. Where, needless to say, it would be even more advantageous if that cpu was an earlier Pentium or x86.

A lot of familiar type material here. The details are specific to this latest cpu, of course. But you should been well conversant with state transition diagrams for various pins on a chip, as functions of input signals on other pins. The book also has many details like setup and hold time requirements for how long a signal must be stable at a pin, relative to some other parameter, like the edge of a clock cycle. These ideas have been around for decades. So it is nice that what you might have learnt in the 70s and 80s are still applicable here, albeit at much higher clock speeds.

The book is a reference manual, in case you haven't figured that out already. I cannot imagine someone reading this cover to cover. It also shows that the company, Mindshare, that authored the book (and similar others), has chosen to reside in a very specialised niche. Where the sheer complexity may deter competition.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Object Thinking (DV-Microsoft Professional)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: David West
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
I really wanted to love this book

And I did - but I'm not sure how broad the appeal of a work such as this will be.

Readers looking for a 'pure' programming book will be disappointed; readers expecting a theoretical introduction to object-oriented programming will probably find themselves overwhelmed. The other groups of readers for whom I feel saddest will be those where English is their second language and readers predisposed to hostility towards Agile programming methodologies (http://www.agilealliance.com/home) - for them, this book will be an exercise in frustration.

The language in this book is written at a higher level of vocabulary than is typical - perhaps not atypical of a philosophy textbook (which is much closer to what this book is), but certainly outside the norm for books about programming. And it is because of this emphasis on philosophy that I find myself only able to give the book 3 stars. I loved it - but a lot of people will be put off by Dr. West's vision of titanic struggle between formalist culture and relativist culture, technocrats and managers against geeks and code poets.

On an emotional level, I get it. At an intellectual level, I get it. The process he's describing, the methodology he proposes, totally gel with the way I've long thought about my programs. Even when I was writing largely procedural code, I was holding in my head metaphors that made it a lot easier for me to visualize what I was trying to achieve. West believes that by training developers to accept fuzziness and chaos, to embrace uncertainty and relativism, to adopt an almost Zen-like approach to software-by-metaphor, better software will come about.

This book is almost a Gnostic text of sorts - to the believer or not-quite-believer actively seeking the message this book tries deliver, it will be a wonder. To a skeptic or traditionalist, it will seem like heresy. Ultimately, that's too bad - I think there's a lot of wonderful material in this book that'll be lost, and I do think my profession will be the less because of it.