For a book so packed with fascinating and informative details, Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty starts much too slowly. The author is so keen to tell you what he's going to tell you, what difference he hopes it will make to you and why design literacy matters that the first 40 pages are essentially an extended introduction (even if reminding people to sketch out ideas is always a good thing).
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Essential reading for technophiles
There's a simple rule that the more complex a system is the harder it is to secure. Once upon a time, the web was a simple system…Today, anyone trying to advise a web site owner on security has to balance elements within the site owner's control — fonts, domain names, sources of content, validation of user input, for example — against extrinsic elements the site owner can't touch.
Cybercrime is now allegedly a bigger problem in the UK than street crime, but hackers may not be the biggest problem.
During the 2003 London march to protest the beginning of the Iraq war, we shuffled very, very slowly over a clogged Waterloo Bridge. Monitoring helicopters waggled overhead.
If your industry hasn't been disrupted by Google yet, observed the New Yorker writer Ken Auletta in his 2010 book Googled, it will be soon. Two recent books look at the next stage of those disruptions — one academic, one popular.
Whenever possible, learn from other people's failures — it's cheaper than learning from your own. Eric Ries didn't have this advantage when, as a Yale undergraduate, he co-founded Catalyst Recruiting.
"Love makes the odds irrelevant," writes Lawrence Lessig at the end of Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It. "It is a commitment to doing whatever can be done — sometimes destructively so — to beat the odds and save the soul who taught you that love.
In 1996 I reviewed three books for New Scientist about the same 1995 events: the chase (through cyberspace and the physical United States) after and capture of Kevin Mitnick. Who's that, you say?
"I came for the crack," a woman once said to me reproachfully at a party. She was miffed that I and the third person in the conversation had embarked on an impassioned discussion of…cryptography.
What's it like to work at Microsoft? Better still, what do the people who write software at Microsoft actually do?