My book reviews


Recently, I've been doing a handful of book reviews, which I find to be a great honor and quite a bit of fun. Now, as one of the publishers wisely noted, having a dedicated book review page should allow readers to more easily find the content otherwise scattered across individual articles. Indeed, this is a very good idea. So here we are.

This page is a compilation of my book reviews, with a teaser screenshot and a few paragraphs of text. New reviews will be added when written and published, so you might want to come by and take a look once in a while, I hope you will find this resource useful, and if you have any ideas, feel free to ping me.

BackTrack 4: Assuring Security by Penetration Testing

Review published on May 12, 2011

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Packt Publishing and asked to review their book, BackTrack 4: Assuring Security by Penetration Testing, written by Shakeel Ali, Tedi Heriyanto. This was an interesting offer. On one hand, I'm well familiar with Linux security. On the other, I have used BackTrack 4 in the past. So what new and cool stuff can a book that combines these two topics teach me?

Quoting from the original site, BackTrack 4: Assuring Security by Penetration Testing is a fully focused, structured book providing guidance on developing practical penetration testing skills by demonstrating the cutting-edge hacker tools and techniques in a coherent step-by-step strategy. It offers all the essential lab preparation and testing procedures to reflect real-world attack scenarios from your business perspective in today's digital age. The book is written as an interactive tutorial and covers the core of BackTrack with real-world examples and step-by-step instructions. It is intended for IT security professional and network administrators with at least basic knowledge of Linux, interested in using BackTrack for penetration testing.

Link to book

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BackTrack book teaser

Blender 2.5 HOTSHOT book review

Review published on July 8, 2011

OK, I promised a book review - and here it is. Like I wrote a few weeks ago in my teaser update, I'm a man of art, soul and body. I really love 3D art and have been working with tons of drawing, sketching and rendering programs for several years now. My toolbox contains titles like Google SketchUp, Kerkythea, POV-Ray, and several more. All quite easy, intuitive and fun. But there's one application that lurks unconquered yet: Blender.

On a first look, Blender is an intimidating piece of software. But what if you had a book that could teach you all the neat little tricks you need to become proficient and cool without gnashing your teeth in frustration and anger? As it happens, Packtpub.com has released a book called Blender 2.5 HOTSHOT, written by John E. Herreno, 332 pages long and priced GPB28.04 for both the printed and PDF version. Its mission is to show you how powerful and capable Blender 3D is when you exploit its full potential. Move beyond basic tasks in Blender 3D and dive into more challenging territory. Ditch simple boring characters in favor of creating more detailed, visually rich, and polished results. In a nutshell, it says: Cool projects that will push your skills to the limit. Will they?

Link to book

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Blender book teaser

Blender 2.5 Animation Cookbook

Review published on September 29, 2011

If you're into 3D animation, then perhaps the one and only program you will ever want and need is Blender. Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it sure is a mighty program that does a lot. In fact, it does so much that you will feel quite intimidating even browsing the menus. Luckily, there are a plenty of books that can help you around.

A few months ago, I reviewed the Blender 2.5 HOTSHOT book, which taughts us lots of neat tricks into getting started with the software. Now, let's step it up a notch or three. Today, we will take a look at the Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cookbook, a 308-page work by Virgilio Vasconcelos. Officially, the book is a collection of 50 great recipes for giving soul to your characters by building high-quality rigs and understanding the principles of movement. Unofficially, it is a tremendously powerful guide to 3D animation, with focus on art and anatomy and patience. Let's take a closer look.

Link to book

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Blender animation book teaser

Cisco Unified Communications Manager 8: Expert Administration Cookbook

Review published on May 19, 2012

I must admit I was slightly apprehensive when I saw the mail asking me whether I might be interested in reviewing an administration cookbook on Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) software. It's not exactly a household item, nor is it easy to test one to its full potential, as it requires a handsome enterprise environment, replete with network communications devices. But I thought this could be an interesting reading challenge, more so as I would have to focus on the book only.

Anyhow, Cisco Unified Communications Manager 8: Expert Administration Cookbook, by Tanner Ezell, is a 310-page work on how to get the most from the call-processing system, including common tools and utilities, monitoring, advanced features, upgrades, recovery, security, and more. Let's take a look.

Link to book

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Teaser

Advanced Penetration Testing book

Review published on August 27, 2012

Welcome, readers. As promised, here's my review of Advanced Penetration Testing for Highly-Secured Environments: The Ultimate Security Guide, by Lee Allen, a 414-page book that teaches you how to breach networks and systems in a good and civilized manner. As a security skeptic, I sure love to take a look at this kind of works, and see whether my cynical sensory array will sounds its klaxon. Or whether we're dealing with some honest, no-nonsense hardcore hacking tips for the enterpreneuring system administrator.

On a more serious note, after having reviewed a very similar topic last year, this book comes handy, as it offers both a rather relevant comparison to another work, as well as gives me opportunity to potentially learn something new in the world of security. Anyhow, let us begin.

Link to book

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Teaser

Instant Penetration Testing book

Review published on March 31, 2013

Recently, I was asked to review a book named Instant Penetration Testing: Setting Up a Test Lab How-to, a relatively short piece spanning 88 pages, by Vyacheslav Fadyushin. As a tutorial, this is a focused, fast guide designed to teach you about a setup of a test lab that can be used for penetration testing scenarios, in a concise and clear manner.

I have previously reviewed several security-related works, including Advanced Penetration Testing and BackTrack 4 books, so in a way, this latest addition to the PacktPub arsenal ought to complement the earlier releases well, especially since it focuses more on the architectural side of the hacking business rather than actual methods and tricks. All right, let's see what gives.

Link to book

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Teaser

Rainmeter Desktop Customization book review

Review published on July 8, 2013

Recently, I was asked to review the Instant Rainmeter Desktop Customization Tool How-to e-book, written by Ken Lim. It's a short, 70-page book, intended for Windows enthusiasts, searching for an innovative way of making their desktop experience richer and livelier. All right, without much further ado, let's see what the book can do.

While the book spans about 70 pages, the useful content is limited to only about 50 pages, spread across five chapters. The book is a very, very quick read, with a plenty of screenshots and snippets of code, so you can breeze your way through in under one hour.

Link to book

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Teaser


To be continued ...

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