Updated reading list
Well, finally got a little time to get through a few new reads. Two books come to mind. Sort of switched gears this time and focused on stuff I only knew about marginally or stuff I didn't spend a lot of time concerned with.
First on the list was .NET Security and Cryptography by Peter Thorstienson and G. Gnana Arun Ganesh. Now, at first I started to think that maybe the authors decided to be funny and use Tripledes to create some cypher text for Joe Johnson and that's where the second authors name was from. But no, it was his real name. Maybe I'm just a self hatinng American, but when I get a book on something with a lot of math in it, I definitely want to see some dude's name on it that I can't pronounce because, well, let's face it, “Japanese Men that are bad at math” or “Why Indian Men don't do well in Calculus” aren't titles of books that will ever be written in my lifetime. I know, I know, Europeans are all better than Americans at math , and according to them, everything else too, but Europeans like ridiculing Americans a lot more than other people do so I don't want to slip in a compliment there. So, I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to pronounce 'Gnana' and couldn't do it, but that's fine b/c both of these dudes are total bad a33e3. This book totally rocks and is very heavy on content. I don't know, it was weird. I can't really put my finger on it but they have a writing style that I haven't seen before. Very direct. Very concise. Very clear and yet even though some of the material is definite propeller head stuff, I got just about everythign the first time through. No, I didn't master it, but at no time did I feel like I was getting lost. It does a really good job on crypto which is important but the stuff on code access security was what I really liked. No - it wasn't better - both parts of the book are great. I just have read about and used crypto a lot more so I found the code access security stuff more enlightening. Then I felt like a total dumb a33 because I didn't demand minimum on any of the code I've written (please don't strip my MVP away for not realizing how stupid this was of me), but as silly as I might have been in the past, I'm all about security now. Think about it --- if you don't demand minimum on your code, then you might get to a block that you don't have permission for, and blow up there. Wouldn't it be a lot nicer to know up front that your code was going to fail? Even if you want to eat the exception and let the user go on, at least you can tell them that they are in for trouble - as opposed to letting them find out 99% way through the thing and have them potentially have to redo something or worse - lose their work (sure, this last one should never happen if you handle the exception correctly - but you probably weren't expecting it if you didn't think to make the demand in the first place so chances are you aren't handling it correctly anyway). This book totally rocks, it's wonderful - buy it!
Seeing Data: Designing User Interfaces for Database Systems Using .NET by Rebecca Riordan. A long time ago, someone asked me about her ADO.NET Step by Step book in a newsgroup and I said something like “David Sceppa and Bill Vaughn have the two best ADO.NET books I've read, but Becky Riordan's book is pretty good too if you are just trying to learn ADO.NET”. She read my post and, let's just say, that's the last time I'll ever call her Becky. That aside, I really like her new book. Addison-Wesley does it again! now, you are probably thinking “Oh no, not another .NET UI book” because there are tons of them. Chris Sells and Matthew Macdonald both have two killer books on the subject. But this book is really different. You get the vibe you are reading a philosophy book here, and it's written by a Philosopher sent down by Zeus to vanquish the demons of stupidity (and there are a lot of them in the software business). So she'll talk about a concept and then demonstrate it in code. Lots of code, lots of theory. All of it's good. Remember, though that this book isn't about UI's per se, or drawing, it's about databound UI's. She goes into depth here and although I knew a LOT of it, I definitely found a few areas that she enlightened me on. Her discussion of the currency manager, as well as integrating help systems justifies the price of the book alone. But code stuff isn't what makes this booik great. It's her “This is what users what. This is what a lot of dumb know it all types in software development think users want. Their ideas suck a33. <Inserts proof> This is what I think makes for a good UI based on user wants <Insert Proof>” Then you sit back and go “You know, I wish I would have made that argument last year when my manager told me to make the commit button blink” (At my last job, my manager actually threatened to fire me if I didn't make the “Submit” button of a windows forms application blink - and blink as well as switch colors from Red to White (our company's colors). “ I lied and said I didn't know how to do it because it was a lot uglier than it sounds. Anyway, as soon as I saw that AW press put it out I knew it would be good. They didn't disappoint. And Rebecca “Don't Call me Becky” Riordan ends up with another well done book under her belt.