Archive for June, 2011

Jun 09 2011

Zero Day

Published by under Books

by Mark Russinovich
I’ll call this a techno-detective story as it has a dose of violence and mystery to complement its main cybercrime story. Somewhat similar to Arthur Clarke’s “Breakpoint” but more clearly tied to the here and now risks of a terrorist attack on current Internet based technologies. Russinovich is an expert on the internals of the Windows operating system and is now a senior technical person at Microsoft whereas Clarke is security policy expert. This is more realistic and is the better book of the two.
The plot is pretty straight forward and in the beginning seems like window dressing for some very readable information on internet crime and some techniques used to gain illicit access to computer systems. After a while, the story line does get going and becomes a light entertaining story. While there is a lot of accurate information related to computer malware in the book, it doesn’t get in the way of the story.
Russia and Russian criminals play a significant part in the story and this book paints a picture of Russia which is similar to the decay and corruption portrayed in Snowdrops which I recently read.

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Jun 04 2011

Sum – Forty Tales from the After Life

Published by under Books,Speculative

by David Eagleman
This is a very short book of about 40 pages but since I read an electronic version it consisted of 107 screens. The subtitle is a exactly what you get: forty short imaginings of what comes after death. Mostly imaginative and clever ideas sketched out quickly. The author is a neuroscientist and that shows through in a few of the scenarios. The book can easily be read in an hour or two, but probably better to read it one scenario at a time (which I didn’t do).
This was the first digital book that I ‘checked out’ of our library, and reading it was hindered by “Digital Rights Management” controls (AKA DRM). DRM required using a particular application from Adobe to read the book and that application was ‘stale’ and old looking with clunky page transitions and without the ability to scroll even scroll through a whole scenario (about a page if on paper). The DRM paranoia prevents copying any text anywhere

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