Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security
Authors: Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon, Steve Wozniak
Having read several positive reviews and recommendations of the book, I picked up a copy. Only a quarter of the way into the book, a growing sense of dread came over me as I realized that in finishing the book, I would put it down unsatisfied and disappointed. Having just completed the book, I can report that my initial feelings held true.
The book provides little insight and repeatedly makes the same points: 1) the quality of one's security is only as good as the weakest link. 2) you must analyze your security, determine the weakest link, and take appropriate measures to correct for the weakness. 3) there are numerous individuals who for innumerable motives wish to compromise your security in order to achieve some gain. 4) if it just doesn't look right (jdlr), it probably isn't. 5) be wary.
The book prosaically presents various forms of social engineering attacks to demonstrate how a given attack may achieve its purpose. None of the examples were very artful, enlightening, or innovative. Many center around the art of conning others and bootstrapping bits of information for maximum effect.
Very little insight was provided within. The book seems a rehashing of existing warnings and knowledge, but a rehash provided by an infamous author (and, therefore, saleable).
This is not a how-to book either for executing an attack or preventing one. There are far better volumes to understand both of these. It will tell you no more than what you already knew or should know from other security resources which can provide much more helpful information much more succinctly. At best, it can depict potential compromises for those who haven't the time to put their imagination to work.
This is certainly not a book for information security professionals. I think it would prove a dull read even for those unfamiliar with the topic.
Product: Book - Paperback
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Tom Negrino, Dori Smith
Your money will be better spent elsewhere.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Designer's Guide to VHDL
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Peter J. Ashenden
Too many VHDL books dilute their point by trying to double as logic design texts. The problem is that VHDL is a complex (or "rich") language, and needs an intense focus of its own. This book does the best job I've seen.
I've learned lots of languages, usually one or two a year. I know what to look for. I want a book that lays it all out clearly enough that I can find what I want. That includes complex data types, overloading, and especially configurability. VHDL really does have almost all the capabilities of a C-like language, plus a few more features, and the author has succeeded in making them accessible.
Configurability deserves special attention - it is an explicit part of the VHDL language. It's a pre-Object-Oriented language but was developed when OO ideas were solidfying in the industry. Although it lacks OO flexibility, Ashenden does point out how "use" and "configure" can give a few of the same effects.
Hardware description languages aren't like regular programming languages, and shouldn't be, and can't be. Still, they're not that different, either. Perhaps you're already a good programmer and already comfortable with digital system basics. If so, this may be the book to give you the language knowledge you need with minimal repetition of what you already know.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Delphi for .NET Developer's Guide, First Edition
Authors: Xavier Pacheco
Xavier has continued his excellent Delphi Developers Guide tradition into the .NET space, but don't let the title fool you. This is first and foremost a book on .NET software development, using Delphi for .NET for the examples and to demonstrate the concepts seasoned programmers need when moving to .NET. This book is not a simple "here's how to drop a component onto a form" type of introduction to programming. It is written so as to not insult the intelligence of the seasoned programmer, yet is written in such an easy to read approachable manner that intermediate programmers will easily pick it up and beginning programmers will easily figure out what they need to research when they go to the more introductory texts that already exist elsewhere for Delphi. Xavier has included a nice variety of topic matter, assisted by a plethora of contributing authors. There's even a chapter on using Delphi for .NET with Mono! (How's that for being up to date?) Other chapters cover the newest changes to the Delphi language, writing database applications using ADO.NET, as well as ASP.NET and a variety of very useful topics like multithreading in .NET as well as memory issues and collections, and .NET remoting. The writing is top-notch and very readable. This is a book you can take with you on the plane, or sit next to the fireplace, and actually read. If you are a software developer that has been sitting on the fence in regard to .NET, you owe to yourself to read this book and use it as your guide to .NET and Delphi for .NET.