Review: Match Up

Match UpMatch Up by Lee Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had only read a couple of these authors and I am always on the lookout for new books to read so this was a great way of trialing them out. The unique idea of blending characters from different authors together in multiple short stories was intriguing and worked really well. None of the tales felt awkwardly written. Each story was different and engrossing – the only sad thing is that they are short stories and I often wondered what would happen next! Highly recommended – especially if you’ve read at least one of the authors and want to see one of the characters in a completely different scenario.
Netgalley was kind enough to give me an ARC for this book but it would definitely be a book I would get for myself.

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The Silent Corner – Book Review

The Silent CornerThe Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As usual, a great book from Dean Koontz. However this was pretty different to his usual stuff.
Similar in style to a Jason Bourne movie, this action packed thriller is the first book in a new series about the wife of an ex military person who kills himself in mysterious circumstances and her endeavours to find out why.
This book ended pretty suddenly to my surprise – a kindle version doesn’t have that clue that you are getting to the end like a paper book would – but I was pleased to see the next few chapters continue the story….but why.do.I.have.to.wait………
Needless to say I enjoyed this book and recommend it.

This book took a while to read due a hectic lifestyle but normally this would be read nonstop in a couple of days.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book and the opportunity to review and recommend.

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Book Review – The Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnik

The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin Mitnick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cautionary tale of just how visible you are on the internet and in todays connected society.

First off I am fully aware of the irony of posting a review of this book online on Goodreads, my blog and Facebook after reading a book on how to be invisible on the internet…..

This was a an entertaining read and although I work in the IT field, there were still some security facts in the book that I was not aware so I learnt a fair amount. There are also some useful references for security tools that I had not been previously aware of (although I’m not a security professional).

Despite the above, the book isn’t too technical to make the non IT person bored but it may well make them paranoid! There is a huge emphasis on becoming invisible in the book through extreme measures such as paying a complete strange to buy some gift cards at a store that doesn’t have cameras in the store OR on the way to the store, then using that to buy bitcoins – twice to ensure they are completely laundered and then using those new coins to purchase various items. Not something that the average person in the street is likely to ever do ……and I must admit I do wonder if someone needs to go to all that trouble, would they be reading this book?

There are useful hints and tips about using secure messaging, email etc that can be used by everyone just to keep their internet usage secure which are not too extreme for the day to day consumer.

But for the ultra paranoid/nefarious, this book will either help you solve some of your issues or make you even more paranoid as it brings up points you hadn’t thought of before….

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Book Review: The Tunnels – Escapes under Berlin Wall.

When I was a kid, I enjoyed the exciting tales of tunnels and escapes from prisons such as Colditz and as a young kid, that was basically all they were – thrilling tales of adventures and escapes. So naturally, a book about the Berlin Wall and the escapes (mainly) underneath it was going to be intriguing reading. I can clearly remember the night that it was announced that the wall was coming down and free movement was now available so although the ending of the book was not a surprise, it was still going to be an interesting read.

The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell front cover Greg Mitchell writes a very detailed and exciting book that gives details on several escape methods used to leave East Germany, not just tunnels although they are the primary focus. The depths that the diggers went to,their heroism and the risks that the escapees took deserves a wider audience and this book provides a very detailed account of what happened.

Apparently both NBC and CBS were trying to capture exclusive footage of tunnel escapes for their network and some of the book details the political twists and turns as the producers and networks attempt to get the films released despite the protestation of various governments who feared the political fallout and risks during this cold-war era. It was pretty scary to see just how close the US was to war with Russia in the cold-war era and how big of an impact the Berlin escapes were having.

The pictures included in the middle of the book give an additional indication of what happened under the streets of Berlin. I had not heard details of the escapes or seen pictures of the Berlin Wall so this book also provided a detailed history lesson from this era.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and got a new appreciation for what happened back during those years and an appreciation for the freedom of movement that we currently enjoy. Highly recommended.

As a follow up to the book, I will be watching the NBC video, East Germans escape through tunnel that will provide an extra insight into the situation. I would recommend that you read the book before watching the film though.

A special thanks to Blogging for Books for the review copy of this book.

Zero Downtime Migration seminar in Cincinnati tomorrow

I’m currently reading The Network Migration Workbook: Zero Downtime Migration Strategies for Windows Networks as can be seen on my Goodreads shelf. So far it’s been very useful and there have already been lots of tips that would save our company time (and therefore) money in doing migrations. Even if we didn’t go down this particular route for migrations, the tips applied would be very beneficial for other types of migrations, especially when it comes to planning and quoting for the migration itself. The only hard bit is to get the customer to agree to the restrictions in the plan – it is vital to quote for *only* the migration – everything else results in another helpdesk ticket, project or work order.

I’ve been reading the book for a couple of hours straight through – I’ve resisted the lure of jumping to the checklists – and still have some way to go, which is why I’ve not posted a review of the book yet – but so far I’m definitely recommending it – but note that some significant time needs to be invested for each person in the migration project from the sales person, to the project manager to the team lead down to the tech doing the work. In some companies this could be one person – in our company it’s probably three people.

Anyway, the point of this blog post was to mention that the author is going to be at An Introduction to Zero Downtime Migrations – and More in Cincinnati tomorrow (Saturday) for an all day training event which I am attending. It was worth the cheap admission to get an in person overview of the book and also some tips and previews of the other books he has written – I’m particularly intrigued by the Network Documentation book as this is something that is typically hard/time consuming to do yet so valuable when troubleshooting customer networks (and is NEVER provided by the client).  If you’re going to this training day, be sure to say Hi.

If you want to browse Karl’s store then you can click on my affiliate link or click through directly to the books from the links above (not affiliate linked). Currently the cheapest place to buy the book is either used from Amazon or new from the Good Little Books store. It did amuse me to see that someone has the Zero Downtime book listed for $1165 and a used version for $564 which is crazy when the book brand new is currently $250 (will be $300)

Network Migration Workbook arrived.

The Zero downtime migration strategies for Microsoft Networks book by Karl and Manuel Palachuk has arrived in the post this morning. An expensive book but I’m hoping this will reduce the number of weekends I have to work. Even if the book saves me 5-6 hours once, it will be well worth it.
590 pages to read, full of checklists and stuff – I’m looking forward to going through this. Unfortunately it came 5 days late for last weekends migration.
I’ll be writing a review later when I get a chance to start reading on it.