Time Management for System Administrators contains useful advice for
SysAdmins looking to use their time more effectively. If you are a
techie who wonders why you get bogged down with little tasks while not
getting your projects done, this is the book for you. If you don't have
the time to read this book, you definitely need to read it.
AppleScript: The Definitive Guide most certainly is a definitive guide,
with an awful lot of information about anything and everything you could
possibly want to know about AppleScript. The problem is that the nuggets
of useful information are often hidden deep within either complicated
examples revolving around expensive specialist software, or in amongst
extremely detailed in-depth examinations of the underlying processes
running AppleScript. Although interesting to some, this will be a
little daunting to the average programmer attracted to AppleScript.
However, the book is definitely an excellent reference for existing
AppleScript programmers, those who have some previous knowledge in
programming, or those interested in MacOS X technology.
As the title of the book suggests, this isn't about GNU/Linux. It's not
about the GNU programs that come with the Debian distribution. Instead,
the book with its 600 pages (including a Debian Sarge DVD) is fully
loaded. Martin F. Krafft, an active Debian developer, goes to great
lengths to describe the interplay of Debian's tools and the project's
I have been interested in practical software process improvement
initiatives for a number of years now, and I stress the word practical.
The world of theory is fine, but what most people want is help and
advice based in the real world, the world where companies, projects,
teams, people, and processes are not perfect.
At $14.95 CDN (approximately $10.00 U.S.), SQL in Easy Steps is very
reasonably priced for a computer book. If you're anything like me, you
probably have quite a few doorstop-sized books for which you paid a
fortune only to read once. It's a refreshing change to find a book that
doesn't cost so much. That said, the low price does come at a cost that
users new to SQL/MySQL may not want to pay: gaping holes in content.
Books on Artificial Intelligence (AI) have to walk a line between being
too scholarly and too fluffy. Some books are very academic, with lots
of formulas and symbols and a dearth of practical applications. Others
are high-level, with much visionary hand-waving but no code. M. Tim
Jones' book manages to maintain a nice balance between these extremes.
I first met this book at a bioinformatics course I attended at NCSU
last year. I've been reading books on bioinformatics since 1997, and I
was a little skeptical about this one. I thought it was "just another
bioinformatics book". I was wrong. It has some really outstanding
features I'd like to highlight.
I first read "Peopleware..." in the late 80s while working at a
struggling vibration analysis company that was mightily attempting to
create chaos out of order. The management was affronted by the book
(I had stupidly lent a copy to the V.P. of engineering) and I only
retrieved it when I proved that it was a public library book. At the
time, I was excited by its approach and readability, and I greatly
enjoyed reading it and sharing it with my downtrodden peers.
Some of you may know me, either by name or by my work with FreeBSD. I
will bet that even more of you are familiar with Michael Lucas and his
widely-read and highly-regarded articles at OnLamp. It should come as
no surprise to those people that he has written a very good book on
FreeBSD. "Absolute BSD" came out in July 2002 and has proven to be a
great resource for people new to BSD and those who have been using it
for years. Michael Lucas has a writing style which is very easy to
read and absorb.
Richard Blum's Open Source E-mail Security is poorly organized, rarely
topical, and betrays the author's fundamental failure to understand
the topic at hand. While some of the underlying technical material is
useful and relevant, the author seldom supplies the details needed to
proceed to a general understanding.
Maximum Linux Security's author is clearly ignorant of cryptographer
Bruce Schneier's claim that "Security is a process, not a product." At
its best, this book is a catalogue of useful security tools. However,
very little context is provided for these tools. There is no
discussion of particular vulnerabilities and how they are exploited,
of network architecture and the difficulties inherent in TCP/IP
networking, or of application-level problems.
Linux Routers is a quirky, very personal look at implementing TCP/IP
networks using Linux servers by an obvious master of the
field. Despite the book's subtitle, however, this book is much better
suited for Linux system administrators thrown into the world of
network administration than it is for network administrators who are
looking to save money on hardware costs by moving to Linux.
I've been using Beowulfs for a while now and have seen a number of
tutorials, articles, and books on how to go about building a Beowulf
cluster or writing programs for a Beowulf cluster. However, when it
comes to job scheduling or cluster monitoring, the topic is usually
relegated to a small paragraph (or even a few lines) mentioning that
using a job scheduling package such as PBS makes one's life easier. I
can say from experience that such a statement is very true, but I
haven't seen many mainstream articles on implementing a job scheduler
or methods and techniques for measuring cluster performance. If you've
ever been interested in the implementation of a job scheduling and
performance measuring system, "Linux Cluster Architecture" by Alex
Vrenios is just what you (and I) have been looking for.
In "The Career Programmer", Christopher Duncan provides a very
understandable, cogent summary of solid project management principles
for technical projects. He also gives quite a few real world examples
of how projects can go awry. However, his style alienates the
audience that would benefit most from his message: Management.
"XML and PHP" is designed to teach you just one thing: How to use PHP
to create XML-based applications. Unlike some of the heavier books out
there, it does not attempt to cover every single PHP function; rather,
it zooms in on the XML API built into PHP and illustrates, with some
well-thought-out examples, how they can be applied to different
single easy-to-learn language platform. Since I am a computer language
junkie, it didn't take much convincing to get me to try Curl. To dive
into new technology, I like to quickly devour a book on the subject,
and, fortunately, there was one available. It proved to be sufficient
for the task, despite some shortcomings.
Pekka Himanen's "The Hacker Ethic" is an intriguing, if ultimately
disappointing, book. It suffers from being both unsure of its audience
and overly broad in its claims.
Zope is perhaps the best known of the Python Web publishing
frameworks. It includes its own Web server (though you can run it
behind Apache or IIS, for example), FTP server, and ACID-compliant
object database. There is more to it than that, but that's Zope in a
Musicians aren't always technically inclined. When they look for
music software to run on their computers, they're apt to buy something
for the Windows system they already have or believe the advice that
anything artistic is supposed to be done on a Mac. Linux systems
provide cheap and powerful alternatives, and this book tells you how
to get started with them.
Many Ruby programmers learned the language from Andrew Hunt and Dave
Thomas's excellent "Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's
Guide". For over a year, it was the only English language Ruby book
available. Now, Hal Fulton's "The Ruby Way" comes at just the right
time for those of us ready to move up to the next level.
I'm afraid to read Linux Device Drivers. It's not that I didn't do a
good first reading; of course I did. It's not that I'm not prepared.
I read K and R (The C Programming Language), lovingly doing every
exercise, around 1986, and have used C on-and-off since then. These
days, I read man pages and info documentation on a daily basis, and am
thoroughly comfortable with compiling and installing kernels. You
will need these skills to read Linux Device Drivers.
On my Linux Users Group's mailing list, an old question recently
surfaced again: What book would you recommend for someone who is new
to Unix (but not to computers)? I didn't have any suggestions at the
time, but after looking at "The Linux Cookbook", I do. It's a book I
wish I'd had when I started, and one I'm happy to have beside me now.
I've set up two Beowulfs so far, and in both cases it involved
gathering material from various Web sites and somehow putting it all
together. I got everything up and running, but it was quite a "time
sink" for me, so I was interested to receive a book entitled "How to
Build a Beowulf". Finally, information regarding Beowulfs would be
available in one place and I could save my bandwidth for other stuff!
I finally got around to reading the book everyone told me not to
bother with, and had a pleasant surprise, as I expected I might.
While I'll admit that it's heavy going at times, it's also sadly
underrated and misunderstood.
Thomas A. Limoncelli and Christine Hogan's recent book "The Practice
of System and Network Administration" breaks new ground in its
coverage of Systems Administration.
I really enjoyed reading this book. John "Overcode" Hall obviously
likes playing and programming games, and his enthusiasm is
contagious. His book is both an entertaining read and a useful
tutorial and reference for people who want to do game programming on