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Wil Wheaton, Dancing Barefoot, O'Reilly

This is, as you've guessed, from the non-tech pile of the O'Reilly ouput. It has a link though. Not only is the author a blogger and self confessed geek, but also an ex teen heart-throb actor of Star Trek TNG. Teen heart-throb? Geek? ... in the same sentence?

Well, whatever - the book is a collection of five short stories with a warmth and honesty that is quite compelling. Along the way you'll learn that the actor William Shatner is a .......... Hah, hah, not telling. You'll have to read the book to find out.

The only criticism is that this is a very slim book, which the font size set to stun doesn't disguise. The solution? Write more Mr. Wheaton, write more.

Jon Erikson, Hacking, The art of exploitation, No Starch

Books like this are a double-edged sword. They allow people who want to beef up their security to know more about the problem and they allow people who want to crack things a fairly concise guide to the techniques to do so.

This book opens with a very nice essay about the history of hacking that shows the pure intellectual joy of a certain sort of problem solving along with the sense of community that goes with it.

After that, the book goes into enough detail in its various sections that the uncommitted or unintelligent will soon tire and go elsewhere. In my book, that's a good thing.

The sorts of things covered are buffer overflows, shellcode, sniffing, spoofing, DDOS, port scanning, and various attacks on encrypted streams.

And to paraphrase the ending, there is no such thing as bad knowledge, only bad people. For those who think this is simplistic, consider the badness of censorship.

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