Book review: Learning PHP Data Objects by Dennis Poppel

Learning PHP Data Objects by Dennis Popel (Packt Publishing, 2007) introduces the PHP5 extension PDO. If you've ever worked on a LAMP server, you must know how tedious it is to go through the results of an SQL query, and to manage the connection--even worse, if you happen to change database, your work is pretty much lost: PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite don't have the same driver nor functions! Not so with PDO.

Get your classes and objects ready: PDO will make using a database under PHP5 a snap.

Book review: Pro Tomcat 6 by Matthew Moodie

The Apache Tomcat server is the most well known and deployed Servlet container for dynamic Java based web applications. Pro Apache Tomcat 6 by Matthhew Moodie (edited by Kunal Mittal and published by Apress) explains in exacting, systematic and well covered detail how to manage the latest version of this high quality, popular free software product.

Book review: Security PowerTools by Nicolas Beauchesne et al

Security has always been a concern when using a computer. First, we thought physical security was enough. After all, if the computer is in the house, how could anyone else get to it? But in today’s world, many of us live with our computers on-line twenty-four/seven. Security is not just loading up the latest protection software, but being aware of how the “bad guys” attack. Good security also requires vigilant testing and, since no one wants to simply issue a challenge to the “bad guys” and see what happens—they don’t typically fill out trouble tickets—we need to use tools that can simulate these attacks.

Book review: Practical Ruby for System Administration by André Ben Hamou

Practical Ruby for System Administration, which was written by Andre Ben Hamou and published by Apress, is a lightning introduction to this modern scripting language and is a reasonably detailed, example based, explanation of the potential strength of Ruby for System Administrators and thus the enterprise.

Book review: Virtual Honeypots: From Botnet Tracking to Intrusion Detection by Niels Provos, Thorsten Holz

Honeypots look like victim systems waiting or searching for malware and other nefarious attacks, registering the enemy's practices in high-resolution gory, blood-ridden detail. Virtualization allows one system to act as a network of disparate victim OS’s and services. Security experts can observe attacks live or stored for detailed analysis, learn the methodology of Dr Evil and generate statistics for internet wide attacks.

Book review: SQL for MySQL Developers: A Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference by Rick F. van der Lans

MySQL is one of the dominant players in the database market—a solid pillar in the Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP or LAMP stack. SQL for MySQL Developers, written by Rick F. van der Lans and published by Addison Wesley covers all significant topics of SQL with specific references to the MySQL dialect.

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Book review: Writer for Writers by Dmitri Popov is a fantastic office suite, finally undermining Microsoft’s monopoly on Office-like software (word processing, presentations, etc.). Out of all of the programs, Writer is by far the most used: writing a document, a letter, or anything else is definitely more common than writing a presentation. This book is all about’s Writer.

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Book review: Linux Appliance Design

I am not paranoid... honest, but we are all surrounded, surrounded by consumer appliances such as wireless network routers, media centers and even some clever fridges and microwaves. I am even sure that my elder sons Robosapien is out to get me! At least the book Linux Appliance Design: A Hands-On Guide to Building Linux Appliances by the experienced Engineers (and now writers) Bob Smith, John Hardin, Graham Philips, and Bill Piece allows us to know our hidden enemies and build better appliance mousetraps.

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Book review: Backup & Recovery by W. Curtis Preston

Linus Torvalds once wrote on, “Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)”. While his humorous comment might not be feasible for most, the topic of backing up important files (along with recovering them) is very crucial to any person or business. One excellent book which covers this topic is Backup & Recovery by W. Curtis Preston and published by O’Reilly. The book covers not only specific solutions but methodologies as well. It is a very complete and detailed look at the whole process of data backup and recovery.

Book review: Linux Programming by Example by Arnold Robbins

One positive example of a book that is ageless when measured against internet time is Linux Programming by Example by Arnold Robbins and published by Prentice Hall. Don’t let the 2004 publishing date fool you, the book is just as useful today as it was all those long, long three years ago. A C biased book on the subject of the fundamental core API’s such as file and memory management within GNU/Linux and based on the explanation of free software core commands, this is a powerful and valid helper for needy learners of the fundamentals.

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Book review: Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-World Network Problems by Chris Sanders

Knowing what information is traveling across your network is what keeps you out of trouble. Are there unknown hosts chatting away with each other? Is my machine talking to strangers? You need a packet sniffer to really find the answers to these questions. Wireshark is one of the best tools to do this job and this book is one of the best ways to learn about that tool. Chris Sanders, the author of this handy book, brings you the information cleanly and clearly. His style is to show you—to walk you through exactly what to do. This method works well and the book is quite readable.

Book review: Qmail Quickstarter by Kyle Wheeler

Qmail is an old, well-written, reliable security friendly email server that has proudly stood the test of time and corrosive use. Architecturally solid, with its components divided across workflow with numerous configuration files, the beginner system administrator needs a gentle push up the slopes of learning. Qmail Quickstarter: Install, Set Up, and Run your own Email Server by Kyle Wheeler and published by PACKT has been concisely written for the learning task at hand.

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Book review: The Definitive Guide to SQLite by Michael Owens

With so many database engine choices, it’s not easy to choose one. For those that choose SQLite, Michael Owens makes it easy to configure and operate. As the original creator of PySQLite, he knows a thing or two about this free and powerful database engine.

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Book review: Pro Open Source Mail: Building an Enterprise Mail Solution by Curtis Smith

Setting up an enterprise mail system can be a daunting task for anyone. Curtis Smith shows you how to do it easily.

When you first open this book, you may think it’s merely a software guide. Curtis Smith shows you everything from installing Fedora Core all the way to setting up mailing lists. If you only skim through the book, you’ll think it’s just a software guide. However, if you read through the book, you will find it rich with valuable information. There is history, RFC summaries, server issues, and much more.

Book review: ImageMagick Tricks by Sohail Salehi

ImageMagick, as many would know, is a software suite for image manipulation and display, supporting a wide variety of formats. But, what is less widely known is the many facets it has, and the wide array of things that can be done with it. This book gives you more than a hint of all that’s possible.

Book review: AJAX: Creating Web Pages with Asynchronous JavaScript and XML by Edmond Woychowsky

AJAX is the broadest of broad acronyms for a series of technologies that enable fashionably dynamic Web 2.0 applications. Edmond Woychowsky’s valid, technically correct and humorous book AJAX: Creating Web Pages with Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, published by Prentice Hall, plots a careful and viable path through the underlying complexity and smoke.

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Book review: Beginning Ubuntu Linux by Keir Thomas

I picked up Beginning Ubuntu Linux, Second Edition with a sense of familiarity; I also had the pleasure of reviewing the First Edition and found the experience to be a gentle and very complete introduction to Ubuntu. It’s as though Keir Thomas wants to ensure that anyone starting out with GNU/Linux won’t feel like a worthless newb being thrown to the proverbial geeks, who will guffaw and point and weeze asthmatically and incomprehensibly.


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