Latest addition to the bookshelf

I have just finished reading the autobiography of Duncan Bannatyne. Anyone who has seen Dragon’s Den on TV (not sure if its screened beyond the UK) will know who I am talking about.

I’m not usually one for autobiographies but this book caught my eye.

Its a very interesting read explaining how Duncan went from no money when he was 30 to being a millionaire within 5 years and on to becoming a multi-millionaire.

Definately worth a read.

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Google’s Amazing Story

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will know that I am reading quite a lot of books at the moment. Having finished Identity Crisis a few weeks ago, I was browsing through a local bookshop when I came across The Google Story. Since I have not really followed the ins and outs of Google as a company since they started, I thought it would be an interesting read. So, as you would expect, I immediately put the book back on the shelf and went home to order it from Amazon (far cheaper).

I have just finished the book and can certainly say it was an eye opener. Its amazing to think that when Google was started as a company by Larry and Sergey, they weren’t even concerned with how to make money. This came later when they actually needed some. To understand how they came to be the successful (and profitable) brand that they are today is an extremely interesting story.

I don’t want to give all the juicy details away so I suggest you go and read it for yourselves. Its definitely worth it. Even if you know the history of the company, its worth getting just for the last chapter which talks about where Google are heading with research into genetics.

Rating: Well worth it!

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Identity Crisis

After recommendations on their blogs from Dick Hardt and Phil Windley, I recently finished reading Identity Crisis by Jim Harper.

Phil gives a very good summary of the book here.

I was very impressed with the book from start to finish and found it hard to put down. It started off fairly light talking about the different types of identifiers that we have but then moved onto some very hot identity topics (especially prevelant in the UK at the moment) such as National ID cards. The book had some very good analogies which helped to explain topics or put them into context.

Jim lays out some very strong arguments for why Identification shouldn’t be the ‘default’ behaviour.

If you are looking for a book to read, I would highly recommend it.

From a slow start to a gripping end

I have just finished reading Philip Pulman’s Dark Materials Trilogy. It was recommended by my sister and brother in-law who both thoroughly enjoyed it. I always blow a bit hot and cold with fantasy fiction and have started but given up on a number of these types of books in the past. Terry Pratchett springs to mind as one of those authors whose books I have never managed to get into.

However, since my sister recommended the trilogy, I thought I would give it a go. I must say, I was hugely impressed with the trilogy as a whole. They encompass some great characters with a mix of storylines all hanging around the central theme. Individually, I had mixed thoughts about the individual books.

The first book is Northern Lights. Whilst I enjoyed the book, I found it a little slow to get into. However, it did give you a good introduction into the characters. The pace picked up in the second book, The Subtle Knife and started to bring the story together. However, by the time I got the rather large third book, The Amber Spyglass, I was hooked and couldn’t put the book down.

You can always tell a good book because you spend every spare minute reading it. This  was the case. My only slight embarassment was when I went into the library to ask for the 2nd book and was told it was in the “Teenage Fiction” section. Not sure a 31 year old guy should be reading teenage fiction. Oh well, at least it was recommended by my older sister!!

Secrets and Lies….thoughts!

This evening I finished reading Secrets and Lies by Bruce Schneier.

Compared to a number of technical books I have read recently, this is probably one of the oldest publications. Due to the way that technology moves, I wasn't sure how relevent this book would still be. However, having come across Bruce through his reputation and after reading his blog for some time I decided to give it a go anyway.

My first impressions of the book were very positive. It was very thorough in covering the subject matter relating to digital security. I must compliment Bruce on his ability to explain usually technical jargon in a very non-technical and understandable way. Whilst I found this refreshing, I must admit that as a 'techie', I didn't learn a lot technically that I didn't already know (I think all techies must know about Alice and Bob's keys by now!)

However, where I was impressed was a number of times throughout the book where Bruce has suggested non-standard uses of technologies, or, non-standard attacks, or, non-standard approaches to things. His ability to see the bigger picture and think outside the normal boxes is clever and shows someone who knows his field intrinsically. This was further demonstrated with the number of times Bruce translated his definitions into non-computer related scenarios. At one stage he even explained attacks using the film "Star Wars" as the example (How cool is that!!) I also thought his use of attack trees was very useful.

In conclusion, whilst I found the core of the book a bit limiting in terms of learning new subject matter (for someone with a technical background), Bruce's different angle of approach to each subject area meant that there was still plenty of material worth reading in the book. For someone who is fairly new to the field of digital security, this book is an absolute must.

My next read is Bruce's, Beyond Fear. I'll let you know how I get on…..

Secrets and Lies….thoughts!

This evening I finished reading Secrets and Lies by Bruce Schneier.

Compared to a number of technical books I have read recently, this is probably one of the oldest publications. Due to the way that technology moves, I wasn't sure how relevent this book would still be. However, having come across Bruce through his reputation and after reading his blog for some time I decided to give it a go anyway.

My first impressions of the book were very positive. It was very thorough in covering the subject matter relating to digital security. I must compliment Bruce on his ability to explain usually technical jargon in a very non-technical and understandable way. Whilst I found this refreshing, I must admit that as a 'techie', I didn't learn a lot technically that I didn't already know (I think all techies must know about Alice and Bob's keys by now!)

However, where I was impressed was a number of times throughout the book where Bruce has suggested non-standard uses of technologies, or, non-standard attacks, or, non-standard approaches to things. His ability to see the bigger picture and think outside the normal boxes is clever and shows someone who knows his field intrinsically. This was further demonstrated with the number of times Bruce translated his definitions into non-computer related scenarios. At one stage he even explained attacks using the film "Star Wars" as the example (How cool is that!!) I also thought his use of attack trees was very useful.

In conclusion, whilst I found the core of the book a bit limiting in terms of learning new subject matter (for someone with a technical background), Bruce's different angle of approach to each subject area meant that there was still plenty of material worth reading in the book. For someone who is fairly new to the field of digital security, this book is an absolute must.

My next read is Bruce's, Beyond Fear. I'll let you know how I get on…..

A Whole New Mind….really does open your mind

A couple of weeks ago, one of my work colleagues told me about a book he was reading called A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. Having just finished "Digital Identity" and fancying a change from the usual technical books that I usually engross myself in, I thought it sounded worthwhile giving it a try.

Having finished it in a few days, it is one of those books that I couldn't put down. The book examines how our brains work today and the way that we survive today. It then goes on to discuss how we must change the way that we think in order to survive in what Pink calls the "Conceptual Age".

This book is very informative and gives a number of exercises that can be done to help stimulate the correct parts of the brain.

Being a typical 'techie' I found this book a refreshing change from my normal library.

VERDICT: Well worth a read!

A Whole New Mind….really does open your mind

A couple of weeks ago, one of my work colleagues told me about a book he was reading called A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. Having just finished "Digital Identity" and fancying a change from the usual technical books that I usually engross myself in, I thought it sounded worthwhile giving it a try.

Having finished it in a few days, it is one of those books that I couldn't put down. The book examines how our brains work today and the way that we survive today. It then goes on to discuss how we must change the way that we think in order to survive in what Pink calls the "Conceptual Age".

This book is very informative and gives a number of exercises that can be done to help stimulate the correct parts of the brain.

Being a typical 'techie' I found this book a refreshing change from my normal library.

VERDICT: Well worth a read!

Digital Identity…..finally finished

During a completely unrelated conversation I was having with a colleague a few months ago, they happened to mention that they had just read a book called Digital Identity by Phil Windley and they highly recommended it.

Well, not being one to ignore recommendations, I bought a copy and have just finished reading it. The book is a good guide for anyone working within the 'Identity' space and provides some very good insights from Phil's experiences. In particular, I found the framework proposed for defining an Identity Management Architecture very useful. There are some areas where the book gives a good insight but leaves you needing to go and research topics further. However, all the major components of digital identity and covered and the links between them defined.

This book should certainly sit on the bookshelf of any identity management consultant.

Digital Identity…..finally finished

During a completely unrelated conversation I was having with a colleague a few months ago, they happened to mention that they had just read a book called Digital Identity by Phil Windley and they highly recommended it.

Well, not being one to ignore recommendations, I bought a copy and have just finished reading it. The book is a good guide for anyone working within the 'Identity' space and provides some very good insights from Phil's experiences. In particular, I found the framework proposed for defining an Identity Management Architecture very useful. There are some areas where the book gives a good insight but leaves you needing to go and research topics further. However, all the major components of digital identity and covered and the links between them defined.

This book should certainly sit on the bookshelf of any identity management consultant.