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W Boudville (Terra, Sol 3)

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OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook - Third Edition
OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook - Third Edition
by Kevin Jackson
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 57.57

4.0 out of 5 stars use as textbook or cookbook, Sept. 26 2015
The Foreword of the book takes us to the birthplace of the Web - CERN. Where in the late 80s, Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first version http and HTML standards. Just as the data needs of that time spun out the Web, the continuing need for greater computing analysis motivated the use of OpenStack and the first version of this book. A very impressive pedigree for the text.

You can use the book either as a dive into a given recipe out of the 110 cited on the cover, or by reading it front to back. The latter is possible as the book is configured as a full text for the newcomer. The code snippets are extensive and seem clear. They explain the different roles in the cloud platform. Scattered throughout the book are actual screen captures of example input and output at the command line level.

Some of the potentially most complex parts are hidden, as they should be. The making and managing of key pairs for public key cryptography. From your perspective as a system administrator you can see from the text that the computational intricacies have been pushed below your explicit purview. See for example the section in the text on Nova and Compute, that deals with key pairs. None of the math bubbles up to your domain expertise.

One simplification present throughout OpenStack is the use of ssh. It avoids the typing of passwords. Good for you and the users. The book also favours Ubuntu for its linux environment. I am guessing that other variants of linux would largely also permit what the text describes for OpenStack.

Dart Cookbook
Dart Cookbook
by Ivo Balbaert
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 58.68
13 used & new from CDN$ 51.49

4.0 out of 5 stars ample examples, June 13 2015
This review is from: Dart Cookbook (Paperback)
The unified aspect of Dart is its raison d'etre, of course, if you have heard of Dart before. One nice aspect of this book is how it gives many recipes for common problems you are likely to meet in the course of learning or applying Dart. Not surprisingly, since Google originated Dart, there are deep connections to the Google Chrome browser. For some of you, that will be another reason to delve into this book carefully.

The chapter on Web applications is the best way to see how Dart and Chrome can be integrated easily. More broadly, this and other chapters give links to further documentation online. Where you might get other apps whose source code is accessible; letting you extend them as good learning exercises. Another plus is the use of examples involving WebSockets. The latter let you make web pages that are far more interactive than traditional HTML pages.

Experience with data formatted in JSON would help in the web server side discussions. Nothing really hard about this in any event.

WildFly Configuration, Deployment, and Administration - Second Edition
WildFly Configuration, Deployment, and Administration - Second Edition
Price: CDN$ 19.09

4.0 out of 5 stars no Tomcat, Feb. 21 2015
There seems to be some tension between Wildfly and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP). The book starts by clarifying the issue. Basically there has been a fork. Wildfly is the free open source application server [AS], while EAP has to be used with a license. EAP does come with support from RedHat. For some readers who are in companies, the latter will be the main reason to use EAP. But for the rest of you, perhaps WildFly version 8 will suffice. The text claims that if you start with WildFly, you can easily migrate [they don't use the word upgrade] to EAP later if necessary.

For the standards inclined users, the key aspect of WildFly is that it supports java EE 7. So anything you already have that uses the latter will run under WildFly.

Tomcat is gone! It has been used by JBoss since its inception. But now an entirely new web server Undertow replaces it. The text promises better scaling, of up to a million connections, and faster throughput. Apparently, it is a writing from the ground up of what constitutes a web server or container. It does feel a little strange not to have Tomcat nonetheless. There is an extensive chapter in the text about Undertow. What it seems to lack is a more detailed comparision with Tomcat. The latter is still supported by developers, and no doubt if Undertow has new features that Tomcat currently lacks, that will be remedied soon. For example, WildFly supports web sockets. But surely so will Tomcat if it does not already do so.

WildFly also has a command line interface. Sysadmins will like this for the direct access to the engine.

Tizen Cookbook
Tizen Cookbook
Price: CDN$ 35.99

4.0 out of 5 stars promising aspects, Feb. 14 2015
This review is from: Tizen Cookbook (Kindle Edition)
Gotta tell ya ... My first encounter with Tizen was not this book but at a hackathon in 2014 in Los Angeles. Samsung gave away smartphones to all attendees, where the phones were running Tizen. No kidding! Sounds great. But the phones were slow. And they could not be connected to a US carrier. Apparently they needed GSM, the European standard. So given my low expectations, this book came as an apparent improvement.

At least by taking the text at face value, Tizen offers a way for phone makers to break the iPhone and Android duopoly. The text suggests that Tizen offers APIs and features unavailable in the big two operating systems. Neat. But given the 90% ownership of the mobile phones by iPhone and Android, I am not sure Tizen is compellingly unique enough to knock over the table.

Certainly, the book describes many or all of the necessary aspects of a mobile operating system. Programmers amongst you will be encouraged by the breadth of the topics. Not least is the integration or use of social networking apps. A crucial chapter shows how to write apps for Facebook and do other integration to the Facebook data streams. The chapter also gives examples for LinkedIn and Twitter uses. Given this importance, my only quibble is perhaps the examples could have been more intricate, or that more examples might have been presented. But maybe you can take that on, if you want to extend your Tizen experience.

The hardest chapter is definitely the last one. On porting Tizen to devices. Here we are getting into the firmware. Luckily, Tizen development tools are now available on various linuxes - Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and CentOS. Hey, sorry to introduce a discordant note, but wasn't the raison d'etre of linux to eliminate such variants? Seems like we are back in the early 90s with the unixes of that time. Anyway, if you want to port Tizen, there is [some] support, according to the book.

Mastering Dart
Mastering Dart
Price: CDN$ 39.99

4.0 out of 5 stars easy to learn, Feb. 14 2015
This review is from: Mastering Dart (Kindle Edition)
The Dart book will be entirely comprehensible to an already experienced java programmer. None of the concepts are a great stretch from where you already are in java. For example, everything in Dart is an object. Ditto with java, which popularised this in 1996, in its first incarnation. You should follow the author's recommendations about putting in type annotations. This aids the static analyser and the runtime checking. Some programmers find annotations tedious; but if you invest some time in doing this, it can give more robust code and simpler long term maintenance.

I do agree with another reviewer who warned of the cost of using reflection. The latter is one of these really nifty aspects the first time you meet it. Later comes an appreciation of the computational load imposed when running it.

A good feature of Dart is the interoperability with javascript. A chapter in the book spends some space going over many of the details. An acknowledgment of the popularity of javascript, whereas Dart is just getting started in the coding marketplace.

Do not skip the chapter on client to server communication. The networking is straightforward, and will be important to many of your applications. There is also a quick discussion of WebSocket, which is a set of multiple standards, and is distinguished by letting the client or the server start a communication at any time. Push or pull coding.

Multimedia Programming Using Max/MSP and TouchDesigner
Multimedia Programming Using Max/MSP and TouchDesigner
Price: CDN$ 19.09

4.0 out of 5 stars au, Feb. 6 2015
Stylistically, the Max package differs from most procedural languages and even from declarative languages like HTML. Max is a dataflow language. You can or should visualise what happens to your data in each module of processing. It is attuned for audio analysis, where this approach is fruitful. And professionals in this field have been trained in this natural way of thinking.

One chapter on basic audio actually demonstrates sophisticated means of wave shaping, that come with Max by default. You do get a lot of powerful maths tools right upfront. The chapter is a quick skimming of how to use these to modulate your audio. Well, the following chapter calls itself advanced audio. Here, the screen captures show complex modules acting on the input audio. Like a compressor. Or how to do reverb easily.

Actually, the book is quite advanced. Well suited to an audio engineer or electrical engineer. It gets into topics like Karplus-Strong synthesis (for a plucked string) that were once research level areas not too long ago.

The discussion on video (ie. visual) algorithms also encapsulates advanced topics. Shaders are covered, where these are expected to run on the GPU of your machine. The images from the shaders that the book shows are all in black and white. Sorry, but for reasons of cost, the publisher needed to do this. Think of this perhaps as incentive to try the shadings out on your machines, to see the actual colours.

RESTful Java Web Services Security
RESTful Java Web Services Security
Price: CDN$ 13.79

4.0 out of 5 stars for, Feb. 6 2015
The book may be pertinent to programmers of cloud computing. The authors strive to make the discussion relevant in the context of you having applications that hook up to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and others. Often, sites like these expose an API for an overlay of independent firms (like yours?) to build analysis engines.

One practical consequence is that unlike a book on RESTful web services from a few years ago, there is now an explanation of authentication using API keys. Perhaps earlier texts had underplayed this, not appreciating its then significance. As you can appreciate, web security is now a crucial part of practical deployed web services. The book devotes quite a bit of space to the topic.

Some readers will appreciate that you don't need a background in the deep level maths of public and private keys. The book keeps the discussion at a level that deprecates the essential maths to lower level routines that can be safeful ignored. Your remit is to understand and use the management of these keys.

The closest we get to the maths is in the last chapter. But even here, it is not the maths you need to understand, but the tasks above it, like verifying signatures and encrypting a message body.

Learning OpenStack Networking (Neutron)
Learning OpenStack Networking (Neutron)
by James Denton
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 48.10
20 used & new from CDN$ 41.60

4.0 out of 5 stars big, Dec 21 2014
There has been a vast addition to network administration since I was a sysadmin in the 1990s. Now OpenStack has emerged as a way to greatly simplify the administrative tasks. Using the idea of Software Defined Networking [SDN]. This enables the cloud computing that you have heard so much about.

The book explains the considerable features of the OpenStack components. From load balancing to routing to firewalls and others. From your previous experience with any network tasks, you should recognise the importance of these topics. The narrative also places emphasis on virtual machines. So packages like LinuxBridge are used to connect VMs. And you have VLAN interfaces. All this and more are a refactoring of tasks made possible within OpenStack.

Maybe the oldest idea in the book is VPN - virtual private network. This was first used in the 90s, predating OpenStack by several years. Then, a VPN was used to connect two or more machines into a single network that actually spanned at least 2 physical networks. But typically, those machines did not have virtual machines on them. Now the book shows how VPNs have been generalised to include the latter.

In terms of scaling, the book explains how to use a virtual load balancer. This acknowledges the need in actual industrial deployments for heavy duty task loads.

Unity Game Development Blueprints
Unity Game Development Blueprints
Price: CDN$ 35.99

4.0 out of 5 stars for a new programmer, Dec 21 2014
The screen shots in the book of the Unity development platform show a comprehensive array of options. All of which you can use to write a compelling interactive game. The book walks through extended examples that give source code snippets. So while you are interested in how the end user would play a game, the book describes another type of interplay. Between using the Unity GUI and the resultant source code as well as (of course!) the images seen by a player.

The presumption is of little prior game writing. The easiest way to see this might be in chapter 3, where the switch statement is introduced and explained. This is pretty basic stuff to anyone who has programmed in any language! What is happening is that the book is pitched towards a reader who has a good [presumably] game idea to storyboard, but perhaps has little actual programming nous.

The chapters end with a section called Challenges. These have suggestions about how to extend the example in each chapter. If this is indeed new programming to you, good advice might be to take up those suggestions. You can learn more by doing. Deepens your knowledge of using Unity.

Mastering Eclipse Plug-in Development
Mastering Eclipse Plug-in Development
Price: CDN$ 18.69

4.0 out of 5 stars powerful tools, Dec 7 2014
Hmm. The book came out in August 2014. Strange that no reviews have been posted by now (Dec 2014), so I will try to remedy the situation.

Eclipse is perhaps the most common development environment for java programming. Blewitt shows the latest developments in its support for adding plug-ins. A good aspect of the book is that it jumps right in. You are expected to be already using Eclipse and hopefully have written some prior plug-ins.

Chapter 2 has a long discussion about how the classpath is used. As a practical matter, complexity and bugs can arise from problems with the elements (jar files) listed in the classpath. This is not restricted to programming with Eclipse. But the chapter delves into the details of, for example, the loading of all extensions via the classpath. To this ends, you might also check out chapter 6, which is a companion description of class loaders. Historically, this was the crucial idea that drove the very successful use of java inside enterprise computing on the Internet in the dot com years. You can now see here what the latest features of the class loader can do for your code.

The text also goes into OSGi services and runtime. For dynamically hooking up your executable to existing services.

Another useful feature is the Gogo shell and a console view, where the latter comes with Eclipse. Likely, you have run the console to see output from your programs. But the text shows how other consoles can be invoked, with various advantages for each.

Throughout the book are many code snippets and examples of running programs from a console or terminal window. Useful guidance.

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