Austin Computer Book Club

Vote: Late 2018 & Early 2019 Titles

Time once again to pick our next books! The two highest-rated books from this poll will be the ones we read for our meetings in October and January. Look over these selections and make your choices using the form at the bottom of the post. Voting closes at noon on August 31.

Cryptography Cryptography, by Fred C. Piper

– A Very Short Introduction, by Fred C. Piper
176 pages, 2002, $6-$12
On Goodreads, Amazon

This book is a clear and informative introduction to cryptography and data protection – subjects of considerable social and political importance. It explains what algorithms do, how they are used, the risks associated with using them, and why governments should be concerned. Important areas are highlighted, such as Stream Ciphers, block ciphers, public key algorithms, digital signatures, and applications such as e-commerce. This book highlights the explosive impact of cryptography on modern society, with, for example, the evolution of the Internet and the introduction of more sophisticated banking methods.

Weaving the Web Weaving the Web, by Tim Berners-Lee

– The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web, by Tim Berners-Lee
246 pages, 2000, $1-$16
On Goodreads; Amazon

Named one of the greatest minds of the 20th century by Time, Tim Berners-Lee is responsible for one of that century’s most important advancements: the world wide web. Now, this low-profile genius–who never personally profited from his invention–offers a compelling portrait of his invention. He reveals the Web’s origins and the creation of the now ubiquitous http and www acronyms and shares his views on such critical issues as censorship, privacy, the increasing power of software companies , and the need to find the ideal balance between commercial and social forces. He offers insights into the true nature of the Web, showing readers how to use it to its fullest advantage. And he presents his own plan for the Web’s future, calling for the active support and participation of programmers, computer manufacturers, and social organizations to manage and maintain this valuable resource so that it can remain a powerful force for social change and an outlet for individual creativity.

Life in Code Life In Code, by Ellen Ullman

– A Personal History of Technology, by Ellen Ullman
320 pages, 2017, $10-$17
On Goodreads; Amazon

When Ellen Ullman moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s and went on to become a computer programmer, she was joining a small, idealistic, and almost exclusively male cadre that aspired to genuinely change the world. In 1997 Ullman wrote Close to the Machine, the now classic and still definitive account of life as a coder at the birth of what would be a sweeping technological, cultural, and financial revolution.

Twenty years later, the story Ullman recounts is neither one of unbridled triumph nor a nostalgic denial of progress. It is necessarily the story of digital technology’s loss of innocence as it entered the cultural mainstream, and it is a personal reckoning with all that has changed, and so much that hasn’t. Life in Code is an essential text toward our understanding of the last twenty years—and the next twenty.

Building Microservices Building Microservices, by Sam Newman

– Designing Fine-Grained Systems, by Sam Newman
280 pages, 2015, $8-$25
On Goodreads; Amazon

Distributed systems have become more fine-grained in the past 10 years, shifting from code-heavy monolithic applications to smaller, self-contained microservices. But developing these systems brings its own set of headaches. With lots of examples and practical advice, this book takes a holistic view of the topics that system architects and administrators must consider when building, managing, and evolving microservice architectures.

Microservice technologies are moving quickly. Author Sam Newman provides you with a firm grounding in the concepts while diving into current solutions for modeling, integrating, testing, deploying, and monitoring your own autonomous services. You’ll follow a fictional company throughout the book to learn how building a microservice architecture affects a single domain.

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