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+ - Book Review: Networking for System Administrators->

Submitted by Saint Aardvark
Saint Aardvark writes: (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for writing a review.)

Michael W. Lucas has been writing technical books for a long time, drawing on his experience as both a system and a network administrator. He has mastered the art of making it both easy and enjoyable to inhale large amounts of information; that's my way of saying he writes books well and he's a funny guy. "Networking for System Administrators", available both in DRM-free ebook and dead tree formats, is his latest book, and it's no exception to this trend.

Like the title suggests, this book explains networking to sysadmins — both juniors new to this career, and those who have been around for a while but don't understand how those network folks live or what they need to do their job. If you're one of the latter, you might think "Oh I've read 'TCP/IP Illustrated' — I don't need another networking book." And it's true that there is overlap between these two books. But Lucas also explains about how to work with network folks: dealing with areas of shared responsibility, how to understand where your side ends, and how to talk to a network admin so that everyone understands each other — and more importantly, is both able and happy to help the other. This is something that is out-of-scope for a network textbook, and it's valuable.

So what's in this book? Lucas takes us through all the network layers, explaining how everything fits together. From physical ("If you can trip over it, snag it, break the stupid tab off the plastic connector at its end, or broadcast static over it, it's the physical layer.") to transport and application, he shows practical examples of how the OSI model maps (or doesn't) to the world of TCP/IP. He shows the happy path and the sad path at each layer, explaining how to understand what's going on and troubleshooting failures. This is the part with the strongest overlap with those other network textbooks. If system administration is a side gig (maybe you're a developer who has to maintain your own server), you'll have enough in this book to deal with just about anything you're likely to trip over. But if you're early in your sysadmin career, or you find yourself making the jump to Ops, you will want to follow it up with "TCP/IP Illustrated" for the additional depth.

Since you'll be troubleshooting, you'll need to know the tools that let you dump DNS, peer into packets, and list what's listening (or not) on the network. Lucas covers Linux and Unix, of course, but he also covers Windows — particularly handy if, like me, you've stuck to one side over the course of your career. Tcpdump/Windump, arp, netstat, netcat and ifconfig are all covered here, but more importantly you'll also learn how to understand what they tell you, and how to relay that information to network administrators.

That thought leads to the final chapter of this book: a plea for working as a team, even when you're not on the same team. Bad things come from network and systems folks not understanding each other. Good things — happy workplaces, successful careers, thriving companies and new friends — can come from something as simple as saying "Well, I don't know if it is the network's fault...why don't we test and find out?"

After reading this book, you'll have a strong footing in networking. Lucas explains concepts in practical ways; he makes sure to teach tools in both Unix/Linux and Windows; and he gives you the terms you'll use to explain what you're seeing to the network folks. Along the way there's a lot of hard-won knowledge sprinkled throughout (leave autonegotiation on — it's a lot better than it used to be; replace cables if there's any hint of flakiness in a server's network connection) that, for me at least (and be honest, you too) would have saved a lot of time over the years.

Who would I recommend this book to?
  • If you're a sysadmin at the beginning of your career, this book is an excellent beginning; take it, read it, and build on it — both with practical experience and further reading.
  • If you're coming into system administration the back way (as a developer who has to manage their own server, say, or who shares responsibility for a networked service with other admins), I can't think of a better single source for the practical knowledge you need. You'll gain an understanding of what's going on under the hood, how to diagnose problems you encounter, and how to talk to either system or network administrators about fixing those problems.
  • If you're a manager or senior sysadmin, buy this book and read it through before handing it to the juniors on your team, or that dev who keeps asking questions about routing and the firewall; you may learn a few things, and it's always good to read fine technical writing.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Core Infrastructure Initiative (Score 5, Informative) 51

by millert (#48998819) Attached to: GnuPG Gets Back On Track With Funding

This is exactly the kind of thing Core Infrastructure Initiative is meant to help with and I'm happy to see it being used for gpg. Anyone with an underfunded Open Source project that is in wide use can apply for a grant from http://www.linuxfoundation.org.... There's no need to wait until you are in dire straits.

United States

Shutdown Illustrates How Fast US Gov't Can Update Its Websites 77

Posted by timothy
from the when-to-drag-feet-and-when-to-leap dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Despite what we hear about how much the U.S. government is struggling with a website, it is reassuring that most of government entities can update their websites within a day after they are asked to. This conclusion is the result of research done by the Networking Systems Laboratory at the Computer Science Department of the University of Houston. The research team tracked government websites and their update times, and found that 96% of the websites were updated within 24 hours after President Obama signed HR 2775 into law, ending the Government shutdown. Worth noting that two websites took 8 days to update. It is interesting that the team was able to use the shutdown as an opportunity to study the efficiency of the IT departments of various parts of Government."
Earth

Energy Production Causes Big US Earthquakes 211

Posted by Soulskill
from the please-don't-break-the-planet dept.
ananyo writes "Natural-gas extraction, geothermal-energy production and other activities that inject fluid underground have caused numerous earthquakes in the United States, scientists have reported in a trio of papers in Science (abstracts here, here and here). Most of these quakes have been small, but some have exceeded magnitude 5.0. They include a magnitude-5.6 event that hit Oklahoma on 6 November 2011, damaging 14 homes and injuring two people."
Games

+ - Leisure Suit Larry remake will be "be dirtier than anything on the Internet"->

Submitted by chronodev
chronodev writes: Replay Games Inc's Kickstarter Campaign, Make Leisure Suit Larry come again!, has raised over $350,000 out of the $500,000 goal, with 16 days to go as of the time of writing this article.

In a Reddit IAmA, addressing a concern that "adult jokes and saucy environment in a computer game" are no longer a novelty today because of the web, creator Al Lowe promised that the remake will be "dirtier than anything on the internet."

Link to Original Source
Government

Jailbreaking the Internet For Freedom's Sake 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the until-the-next-patch-anyway dept.
snydeq writes "With so many threats to a free and open Internet, sooner or later, people will need to arm themselves for the fight, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. 'If the baboons succeed in constraining speech and information flow on the broader Internet, the new Internet will emerge quickly. For an analogy, consider the iPhone and the efforts of a few smart hackers who have allowed anyone to jailbreak an iPhone with only a small downloaded app and a few minutes,' Venezia writes. 'All that scenario would require would be a way to wrap up existing technologies into a nice, easily-installed package available through any number of methods. Picture the harrowing future of rampant Internet take-downs and censorship, and then picture a single installer that runs under Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux that installs tor, tools to leverage alternative DNS servers, anonymizing proxies, and even private VPN services. A few clicks of the mouse, and suddenly that machine would be able to access sites "banned" through general means.'"
Transportation

Hybrids Safer In Crashes — Except For Pedestrians 392

Posted by timothy
from the downloadable-cartones-soon-enough dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Hybrid vehicles are safer than their conventional counterparts when it comes to shielding their occupants from injuries in crashes with the odds of being injured in a crash 25 percent lower for people in hybrids than people traveling in comparable non-hybrid vehicles. "Weight is a big factor," says Matt Moore, of the Highway Loss Data Institute. 'Hybrids on average are 10 percent heavier than their standard counterparts. This extra mass gives them an advantage in crashes that their conventional twins don't have.' The study's findings are good news for green-minded drivers who are also looking for safety in their cars, but it's worth noting that hybrid vehicles are much quieter than gas-powered cars, posing a risk to pedestrians. "When hybrids operate in electric-only mode, pedestrians can't hear them approaching," says Moore. Earlier this year, Congress gave the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration three years to come up with a requirement for equipping hybrids and electric models with sounds to alert unsuspecting pedestrians."
Businesses

UBS: Our Risk Systems Did Detect $2bn Rogue Trader 151

Posted by timothy
from the meant-to-do-that-says-pee-wee dept.
A few weeks ago, UBS employee Kweku Adoboli (universally described as a "rogue trader") ran up a $2 billion loss for his employer; many readers wondered how it is the systems which allow trades to happen at all aren't better tuned to catch such massive cash flows without triggering alerts. Now, reader DMandPenfold submits a report from Computerworld UK in which the bank claims that such triggers were in place — they were simply not acted on. From the article: "UBS has insisted its IT systems did detect unusual and unauthorised trading activity, Interim chief executive Sergio Ermotti, who is running the company following Oswald Grubel's resignation last month, sent a memo to employees saying the bank is aware that its systems did detect the rogue activity. In the memo, Ermotti wrote: 'Our internal investigation indicates that risk and operational systems did detect unauthorised or unexplained activity but this was not sufficiently investigated nor was appropriate action taken to ensure existing controls were enforced.'"

Comment: Astrolabe, Inc. v. Olson et al (Score 5, Informative) 433

by millert (#37628776) Attached to: Civil Suit Filed, Involving the Time Zone Database
Microsoft

Microsoft Announces Web-Based Office365 210

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the case-of-the-me-toos dept.
suraj.sun writes "Aiming to bolster its hosted software for businesses, Microsoft announced today that it is adding Web-based versions of Office to its collection of hosted software for business, Office365. It will also offer traditional Office as a subscription-based service. Microsoft is pricing the service as low as $6 per user per month, though that version includes only the Web-based versions of Office."
AT&T

AT&T To Allow Xbox 360 As U-verse Set-Top Box 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the convergent-evolution dept.
suraj.sun sends this quote from Engadget about U-verse subscribers soon gaining the ability to use an Xbox 360 as a set-top box: "A so-called Wired Release will roll out to AT&T U-verse customers next Sunday, and it'll bring the long awaited feature with it (though you'll have to wait until November 7th for that particular aspect). This means an AT&T U-verse customer's Xbox 360 will have a Dashboard app, and when launched, it'll let it function exactly like any other U-verse set-top. The only major catch is that it can't be the only set-top — you'll need at least one DVR at another TV in the house to enjoy one of the four HD streams that could be funneled into your home."
Government

Unique ID In India Causes 'Fear of the Beast' 725

Posted by timothy
from the seems-fair-enough dept.
bhagwad writes "India's attempts to tag everyone with an ID number has run into a roadblock is some Christian villages. Apparently the villagers fear they will be associated with the devil since according to the Bible, everyone having the 'mark of the beast' will go to hell. These people are not afraid of punishment. They relish this opportunity to prove their faith because the Bible also proclaims that they will be persecuted."
Image

Plagiarism Inc. 236 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the cheating-is-easy-money dept.
Here's an interesting article on the life and times of 24-year-old Jordan Kavoosi, who has made a business of plagiarism. His Essay Writing Company employs writers from across the country, and will deliver a paper on any subject for $23 per page. In addition, his company will get it done in 48 hours, and he guarantees at least a B grade or your money back. From the article: "'Sure it's unethical, but it's just a business,' Kavoosi explains. 'I mean, what about strip clubs or porn shops? Those are unethical, and city-approved.'"

The perversity of nature is nowhere better demonstrated by the fact that, when exposed to the same atmosphere, bread becomes hard while crackers become soft.

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