It's difficult for me to identify the target audience for this book. It's got some good stuff for lots of different people, including systems administ
It's difficult for me to identify the target audience for this book. It's got some good stuff for lots of different people, including systems administrators, Unix scripters, and Ruby developers.
In a nutshell, this book gives you a medium-level tutorial on creating, managing, and forking new processes on Unix-based systems. Specifically, the author shows you how to use many powerful features of the Unix system API using Ruby.
This topic may sound mundane or even useless to a lot of people, but if you spend time writing or managing applications that run in operating systems like Linux and OS X, then this is really fantastic knowledge to possess.
One really wonderful thing about this book is that it makes the Unix system API much more accessible to most systems administrators. Most books about the Unix API assume that you know how to program in C. The problem is that most systems administrators don't know how to use C, and they don't really have an opportunity to learn on the job.
This book uses Ruby, a high-level, interpreted, and popular scripting language to showcase the Unix API. In my opinion, this makes the API much easier to understand and much less intimidating. Also, if you don't know Ruby, then it is a) simple to learn and b) very beneficial to learn due to its popularity.
Another great thing about this book is that it really "put a lot of pieces together" for me regarding the Unix process model. I've been using Unix since 1995, and I've been administering large applications on it for 12 years. I definitely consider myself to be an intermediate user, but there's still a decent number of gaps in my knowledge. This book filled a couple of those major gaps for me, and I feel that I am a much more confident and knowledgeable Unix user as a result.
The only real downside of this book is that it's a bit short for what you pay. The latest version of this book weighs in at about 143 pages. Also, while the book does include a sample project called Spyglass, its related explanation is only treated as a short appendix. I would have liked a little more depth overall and coverage of the Spyglass project.
However, for me, this book was still definitely worth the money. I now know much more about how Unix systems work, and I now am aware of a whole new world of concurrent programming options. ...more
This book is a fascinating account of the history of the telegraph and how it changed the world. If you are a history and technology buff, you will deThis book is a fascinating account of the history of the telegraph and how it changed the world. If you are a history and technology buff, you will definitely get a lot out of this book.
Please don't be fooled by the title, however. This book does not make deep comparisons between the histories of the internet and the telegraph. A small chapter at the end of the book provides the only comparison between the two technologies.
Even with this flaw, this is a solid technical history book, and I really feel like I gained a lot of perspective....more
I need to start by saying that this is one of the best technical books I have ever read. To me, it's easily as enjoyable and useful as Code Complete,I need to start by saying that this is one of the best technical books I have ever read. To me, it's easily as enjoyable and useful as Code Complete, The Pragmatic Programmer, or The Mythical Man Month. If you're a sysadmin, an architect, or a developer that works with medium-to-large-sized systems, then do the following:
1. Stop reading this post 2. Order this book from your library or buy it from The Pragmatic Programmer's web site 3. Owe me a pint :D
What The Book Is Really About
Actually, there is one thing that I don't like about this book, but it really has nothing to do with the book. The description of this book on the Pragmatic Programmer's web site sucks. It's vague, and it really gives the potential reader a tiny amount of insight into the book's contents.
What it should have said is that this book contains *tons* of great information on designing, deploying, maintaining and *improving* medium-to-large-sized IT systems. It's filled with patterns, anti-patterns, and general best practices that should be part of the shared lexicon of every developer, administrator, and system architect. Also, it does a good job of giving you enough information to be useful without boring you to death. And finally, it's written very well and is a joy to read.
Thread Dumps & Garbage Collection Tuning
The internals of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) have been a black box to me for the majority of my career in IT. Thankfully, this book has provided excellent examples of how you can troubleshoot and improve your system using tools that interrogate and manipulate a JVM at runtime.
For me, this was the most interesting and useful part of the book, and I am looking forward to seeing what can be gained by tuning and "poking at" the JVM's that are in the system that I maintain.
Patterns and Anti-Patterns
It's great to finally find a book that codifies some patterns that administrators and architects can use.
I thought that I new a lot about monitoring and transparency before reading this book, but now I know better. I especially like the concept of a unified "OpsDB", and I am eager to build something like this myself for the system that I maintain.
Integration Point Risks
I always knew that integration points (e.g. data feeds, databases, LDAP providers, etc.) added risk to you system, but the author does a great job calculating the actual risk. Also, he shows you many ways in which you can avoid brittle integration points.
I have one warning about this book, but it's half-hearted. This book is what I would all Java-centric. All of the case studies involve systems that are written in Java, and some of the sections will only apply directly to you if you are working with Java-based software.
But does that mean that you should avoid this book if you are working with Ruby, PHP, or .Net-based software? Absolutely not. Even though there are a few small sections of the book that won't directly apply to your line of work, most of them will apply in an indirect way, regardless of your platform. And the other 94% of the book will directly apply to medium-to-large systems of every stripe....more
Overall, this book had a lot of very good information, and it was very helpful to me as I deployed my first Ruby-On-Rails application into a "ProductiOverall, this book had a lot of very good information, and it was very helpful to me as I deployed my first Ruby-On-Rails application into a "Production" environment.
Here's the high points:
* Lots of good information on tools such as Capistrano, MySQL, Mongrel, Apache, and nginx. * The authors clearly know what they are talking about. * It's helpful if you're deploying a "toy" application (like I am) *and* if you're deploying a large, clustered application. * It doesn't assume that you're already an expert on either Web app deployment or Ruby-On-Rails.
Here are some of the things that could be better:
* This book was published over a year ago, and it already feels out-of-date. For example, there isn't one mention of Phusion Passenger, even though this tool seems to be the new standard app server for Ruby-On-Rails in Production environments. * This is very subjective, but I feel like the information could have been organized a little better. I felt as if the author jumped around a bit sometimes. * Also, some of the passages were a little difficult to read due to their incorrect sentence structure. My writing isn't perfect either, but I believe that the editor should have fixed more of these mistakes.
If you're deploying a Ruby app in any setting, then this is a good book to get. I just don't know if I would actually buy it. ...more
In general, this book does a fairly good job of helping you create a rails-based application. Part 3 includes some great in-depth information on the tIn general, this book does a fairly good job of helping you create a rails-based application. Part 3 includes some great in-depth information on the topics that are briefly discussed in Part 2.
I only have one real gripe about this book. It packs in lots of topics (e.g. db theory, AJAX, unit testing, security, deployment), but it doesn't really tell you much about them. Therefore, if you have a problem, then good luck figuring it out using the content in the book.
A good example is the final chapter which covers deployment. The chapter devotes only a few small paragraphs to configuring Apache for passenger. To me, this section was completely useless unless you were already an expert with Apache configuration. I ended that chapter with a broken Apache server and no resources (from the book) to begin fixing it.
Another problem that I had with that chapter is that it really didn't follow the pattern that the chapters in Part 2 used. In those chapters, the authors would should you how to do something relatively small, show you how to test it, and then provide some troubleshooting information if the task was particularly complex. The deployment chapter gave you a *very brief and generalized* tutorial in each section, and then just assumed that everything went perfectly. It didn't show you how to test anything, and it didn't help you troubleshoot any possible problems.
Don't get me wrong. I know that no book will provide all of the information that I would ever need about a subject, and thank goodness for the internet in these situations. I was just hoping that all of the chapters in a book that I actually bought would provide better information than some person's blog.
So in general, I guess I would have to say that this was a very good book with some bad chapters that were tacked-on at the end....more
This book really made me appreciate the Career Services department at my alma mater (Illinois Wesleyan University). A lot of the material in the firstThis book really made me appreciate the Career Services department at my alma mater (Illinois Wesleyan University). A lot of the material in the first few chapters, while solid, was advice I had already received. I wouldn't call this a flaw in the book, however.
The main reason I bought this book was so I could learn how to effectively search for jobs using sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. To my surprise, the author only devotes a single paragraph to such sites, but he does it for a good reason. Instead of focusing on how Facebook can help you find a job, the author shows you how important *relationships* are, and how they transcend address book and communication applications.
He then gives excellent advice on the types of online activities that are crucial for technical professionals who want to build relationships, enhance their reputation, and sharpen their skills. This was my favorite part of the book, and for my needs, worth the price tag....more
This is a great book if you are looking for ways to cook and eat in a more wholesome, frugal, and tasty way. Also, it has great information on cookingThis is a great book if you are looking for ways to cook and eat in a more wholesome, frugal, and tasty way. Also, it has great information on cooking techniques and equipment....more
Good general overview of Ruby and where it's going in large businesses. My only beef is that it's already a bit out-dated. I would love to recommend aGood general overview of Ruby and where it's going in large businesses. My only beef is that it's already a bit out-dated. I would love to recommend a new edition of this book to all of the technical managers with which I work....more
This book had some great advice that our family uses every day. The only bad thing I can say about it is that it's ridiculously verbose. The same amouThis book had some great advice that our family uses every day. The only bad thing I can say about it is that it's ridiculously verbose. The same amount of information should have only required half as many pages. ...more
This book completely changed the way I viewed money, personal finances, and my career. *Highly* recommended for anyone who ever feels lost when it comThis book completely changed the way I viewed money, personal finances, and my career. *Highly* recommended for anyone who ever feels lost when it comes to money or finances....more
A few chapters are worth reading, but for the most part, this book wasn't very helpful for me as a BPM server administrator. All of the parts where heA few chapters are worth reading, but for the most part, this book wasn't very helpful for me as a BPM server administrator. All of the parts where he digs into the XML of a BPEL workflow seem especially unnecessary....more
This isn't as funny or insightful as Franken's earlier books. Franken is very angry and bitter in this book, and he doesn't add much to the argumentsThis isn't as funny or insightful as Franken's earlier books. Franken is very angry and bitter in this book, and he doesn't add much to the arguments that he's made in his earlier books. Only read this if you're the type of fan who needs to read everything by the same author....more