A brief but comprehensive guide to cybersecurity for the technically unsophisticated.
Debut author and cybersecurity professional Bjarnason says that he observed, in his capacity as an information-technology worker, a “severe lack of training” regarding online safety on the part of the “average computer user.” He created this manual to provide an accessible introduction for that sizable and vulnerable class. For a brief volume of well under 200 pages, it covers a broad range of subjects, including what to consider when using shared computers and when to use multiple email accounts, as well as more technical topics, such as the distinction between synchronous or asynchronous encryption. Still, the book is clearly aimed at amateurs; at one point, for instance, the author provides a lucid analysis of the different parts of a URL (“a fancy term for a web address”). At the heart of his strategy is rational caution—a “skeptical mindset” that meticulously vets every situation for potential danger but stops short of paranoia. “Critical thinking skills play a pivotal role in your online safety, as you may have noticed already,” he writes. In short: “If you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it.” Overall, Bjarnason employs an informal and even cheeky style: In the service of demonstrating the power of clickbait, for example, he explains that his book’s subtitle is deceptively sensationalistic: “NSA,” in this case, stands for “network secure architecture,” he says, and “CIA” for the “triad” of “confidentiality, integrity, and availability.” In the end, the author largely delivers what he promises—a useful, sensible primer for the uninitiated on an essential and woefully esoteric subject. That said, the book lacks a clear organizational plan, meandering from subject to subject. It also lingers on subjects of limited practical value; for example, a discussion of threat modeling will be all but useless to Bjarnason’s target audience. His prose, though, is consistently transparent, and his expertise is beyond reproach, as he has decades of experience in the IT industry.
A concise and practical, if peripatetic, single-volume cybersecurity manual.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)