books I read 2020

Once when I picked up a book from the local library, the librarian asked to tell her what I thought about the book when I would bring it back. Well, why not write a few lines about all the books I read so everybody could see what I thought about it? I'm often also happy to have friends recommend a certain book or tell me this and that is not really worth reading. I won't comment about the tons of books I have read so far, but about books I read from now on.

1-star recommended not to read it empfehlung das buch nicht zu lesen
2-star not too interesting nicht allzu interessant
3-star average durchschnittlich
4-star good reading gutes lesematerial
5-star highly recommended sehr empfohlen

Overview of all Books


Overview of all Books


titleKrakatoa
authorSimon Winchester
ISBN-100-141-00517-3
ISBN-13978-0-141-00517-1
impression4-star
date2020-Jan-18


If schoolbooks were written the way Simon Winchester writes his books, history and other boring subjects would actually be fun. Winchester makes things personal. For example: it is not simply "some of the more concerned people, who seek to go to higher ground for better safety", but it is "Mrs. Beyerinck, the wife of the Dutch contrôleur in Ketimbang, who makes the strange request to her husband that the family not go home on their return from the market, but instead make right away for their rented holiday cottage in a tiny village in the hills".

Of course, the book describes what happened in the summer of 1883, when the volcano Krakatoa ferociously blew apart and completely vanished. However, it is not only the event itself, the how and what, but also why this happened and how it affected not only the environment, but also the people, why and how it changed science, what effects this disaster potentially had on politics and religion... Some of the effects were not even local, but in other parts of the world. To understand some of the effects, it is important to understand the situation before this dramatic eruption and how this situation came to be, which is presented as well. Winchester goes into botanics, plate tectonics, trade, Dutch colonization, and more; all the time making the presented information approachable and interesting to read.


titleOpenSSL Cookbook
authorIvan Ristić
impression4-star
date2020-Jan-22


This is a small book and definitely does not cover all the ins and outs of openssl. It is not the intention of this book. What this book does, and does pretty well, is to teach the basics a sysadmin might need to know about openssl and SSL/TLS. Chapter 1 contains a nice step-by-step guide if you want to create certificates, say for your webserver, or even for building your own very simple PKI. It also gives recommendations on selecting cipher suites and discusses some performance considerations. Chapter 2 shows how to use openssl to test and verify various SSL/TLS aspects for your servers. Appendix A is equally informative and gives you real recommendations for working out a good the transport layer security concept you might need. It shows which ciphers to use and which to avoid, how to prefer stronger encryption standards for clients which support it, while still allowing older clients to connect and also performance is taken into consideration.

All in all, Ristić offers a very valuable guide for anybody who occasionally has to deal with SSL/TLS certificates. The guide is short enough to easily find what you need and even to read everything in a relatively short time. At the same time it is comprehensive enough to be useful in many situations.

A guide like this would have been helpful way back in the days when I designed a simple PKI for an enterprise. And I can recommend it to anybody who needs to create certificate or certificate sign requests on the command line without any special tools.


titleI ♥ Logs
authorJay Kreps
ISBN-101-491-90938-2
ISBN-13978-1-491-90938-6
impression1-star
date2020-Jan-25


How you perceive this book probably depends on what you consider to be a 'log'. As a guy having spent the last 7 years running a company-wide log-analysis system, I find the notion of 'log' in this book rather narrow-minded. What Kreps writes about clearly is 'transaction logs' and 'message queues'. So unless this is exactly what you are looking for, it is probably not the book you're interested in. It also clearly shines through that Kreps is a big fan of Kafka.

Even though the author claims to have lots of experience with designing systems around (transaction) logs at LinkedIn, he never gives any technical advice or hard facts on how to interconnect various systems, not even on how to structure the messages you are passing between the systems. Working more than 25 years in IT building various company-wide systems and services myself, I have read dozens of books published by O'Reilly and have come to appreciate this publisher for their high quality technical books. This book definitely does not even come close to the standard I have come to expect from O'Reilly. I ♥ Logs is more suited to a blog post or one of the cheap write-ups found with some other publishers.


Overview of all Books

Page last modified on 2020-Jan-01 21:24 GMT