Geek book reviews

Billy Ray coins the term 'Booktober'

I like the month of October. Not only is it my birthday month, it's also when the leaves turn up here behind the cheddar curtain, great fall seasonal beer starts flooding the market, the bass are on bed will normally hit any lure tossed out and of course I get to hear which tag line the marketeers come up with to promote their crap using a variant of October. There's; "ShockTOBER" for shocking deals on Electric type Pokemon cards, "ClockTOBER" at your local watch selling place, "HawkTOBER" is going on at pawn shops around the globe and of course every FM wacky zoo morning show has a "RockTOBER" promo between them laughing at the time and temperature. Well, might as well join 'um! So this "BookTOBER" I thought I would review some of my favorite reads over the past few months for us geek type folks. Reading is a huge part to staying on top of the IT chess game we all play everyday. These books do not have the three throw away chapters on the OSI model and Internet model, they get right into the meat and tators of the subject and take you for a magic carpet ride into the world of heavy duty geekdom. So open up a cool Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale, toss a log on the open fire and see if you agree with my picks or even recommend your own! Book: 00x01: IP-Enabled Energy Management I have always liked technologies that change the game. Technologies that actually allow an engineer to fork their career and really make a name for themselves. I personally believe the facilities planning/green networking is going to be a huge one. The problem is, finding stuff out that is not written by vendors pushing their own crap. This is a very refreshing book on energy management through IP and truthfully one of the first I have read that really deals with the reality of going behind the "green curtain". Now I have interviewed the authors Aldrich & Parello and truthfully for a book this honest, it had to be written by believers. These two dudes walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to energy. If you just pick it up to read chapters 2 & 3 (benchmarking and assessing value) you will be way ahead of the game. Trust me here, you'll want to read the rest of it also. If I was to teach a class on energy management I would use this book exclusively and make it required reading. Awesome read, highly recommended! Rating: 5 out of 5 chicken legs wrapped in bacon Kindle ready: YES Book: 00x02: TCL Scripting For Cisco IOS As I mentioned before, I love that extra stuff to boost an engineer from geek to ALPHA GEEK. It just doesn't get much better then having a solid grasp of the embedded systems inside of Cisco gear. Having the ability to interact with the base OS code at the lower detector level with a high level language like TCL is a massive benefit to all networks you come across in your career. The problem is, some of us may have tried getting rudimentary info by walking MIBs and trying to translate OID strings and just got turned off by the whole process. Hey, SNMP sucks so don't blame yourself, shake it off and pick up this book. The authors; Blair, Durai and Lautmann do a great job walking you though the process of basic TCL 101 scripting up to some very advanced stuff. I really enjoyed the common sense approach to adding security to your TCL scripts. This is a process that is overlooked nine out of 10 times in high level languages. Another awesome read and permanent ready reference. Rating: 5 out of 5 chicken legs wrapped in bacon Kindle ready: YES Book: 00x03: Where Wizards Stay Up Late I love history. I could have easily just listed history books here that I thought rocked the house as well! The thing I have observed with history is that it is always from someone's view point. History is very interpretive so it helps to have a few different viewpoints on a subject. I grow up in Tennessee, then I went to college in Illinois. The first college class I had on the American Civil War was a whole lot different from what I learned!! Think you know the story of the Internet? This is a great book and a lightening fast read on the histories and the personalities behind one the greatest inventions in the World. It's one of those books that when I started I had to finish it in a sitting because I was so captivated and invested in the storyline. I learned a ton of stuff about BBN that I never knew and certainly a deep dive into the founders' personalities and...weirdness... us IT folks are kinda weird anyway but dad gum man!.... Great book by Hafner and Lyon without being boring, political and no mention of Al Gore... Rating: 4 out of 5 chicken legs wrapped in bacon Kindle ready: YES...but it cost two bucks more, WTF?? Book: 00x04: iPhone Programming; The Big Nerd Ranch Guide I was commissioned by my peer and TechWiseTV co-host Robb Boyd to write an iPhone/iPad app for TechWiseTV. Now, I am not an object oriented coder. The highest level I poke my head up at is C and sometimes C++ on months with R's in them. I needed a book to teach myself how to use the Apple SDK/Xcode/Cocca. I picked up the Sam's book and it sucked, the O'Reilly book was OK but the real winner for me was the Big Ranch Guide. This is really more of a hands on classroom guide. Wrote with many hands on practice labs to build up your confidence and skills as you progress though the book. The best part of the book is how it walks you through using many of the hardware features like the accelerometer, camera and even tying XML into your app. This is a great book if you are just starting out and wanting to learn how to cut code on the iPhone/iPad. I really enjoyed learning with this book. By the time you finish you'll really feel confident. To get the best use out of it, take no longer than two weeks to finish it or you'll forget the fundamentals. Great learning tool! Rating: 4 out of 5 chicken legs wrapped in bacon Kindle ready: YES Book: 00x05: Network Flow Analysis This is the only book on the list I picked up because I like the authors writing style. Michael Lucas also wrote the equally awesome "Absolute FreeBSD". This dude has that rare gift to get very detailed without getting too dry. Let's just face it, network analysis is as dry as a popcorn fart in the desert. If you can make that interesting, you could probably make mopeds cool! You are not going to get tips and tricks on how to use various software collectors in this book. That's a lame-o trick some writers use by grep-ing USENET groups for info, then presenting it as their own. Nope, Michael goes much deeper here into looking at what the flow is really telling us. This is the real meat and tators of flow-based technologies. Not just an exclusive NetFlow only book, this book digs into how to use flows to gather some amazing data. I really liked how he showed how to build and use various open source packages to design a very nice flow based monitoring system. Hey, if you just picked up this book for the section on installing the friggen pain in the tail it would be worth your time and then some. This is the surprise sleeper read for me! I am looking forward to his next book for sure! Nice job Michael. Rating: 5 out of 5 chicken legs wrapped in bacon Kindle ready: YES and half price of the bound edition! Those are some of my favs I have read over the past couple months. What would be your favorite reads? Have you any of these on this list and agree or disagree? Oops, I just got an appointment reminder that I am running late for WokTOBER at the local Japanese restaurant... Jimmy Ray Purser Trivia File Transfer Protocol Bolt Beranek & Newman who later became Internet powerhouse BBN was chosen to analyze the famous 18-minute gap in one of the White House tapes involved in the Watergate investigation and also a tape of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that included gunfire noises, from which BBN concluded that four rather than three bullets had been fired.


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