Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: DNS & BIND on IPv6

Author: Cricket Liu
Format: Paperback, 52 pages
Publisher: O'Reilly Media (May 27, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1449305199
ISBN-13: 978-1449305192

I have a relationship with a number of publishers whereby I can request review copies of their books and then, after going through them, write my reviews. This is a perfectly normal transaction and a win-win for both the reviewer and the publisher. The publisher gets some free marketing and the reviewer gets a book.

I requested Cricket Liu's DNS & BIND on IPv6 from O'Reilly...twice, along with several other titles. They never came and never came and never came, which is unusual, especially after they told me they'd sent the package twice.

Ordinarily, I would have moved on, but I really have an interest in IPv6 and Liu is the DNS and BIND guru, so I did something I normally wouldn't have done. I bought the book. I had a gift certificate so technically, I wasn't out-of-pocket, but a little less than $30.00 for 52 pages is still a tad spendy (as you can tell, I live on a budget).

All that aside, when the book came, I tore into it with a passion.

Liu's book, and a number of other similar "thin books" being put out by O'Reilly are really more of an appendix to larger tomes. Just imagine the content of DNS & BIND on IPv6 fitting into the back pages of DNS and BIND 5th Ed. (2006). I can imagine when the 6th edition is published, the IPv6 book content will be folded in, but that's just my wishful thinking.

Don't expect a lot of background from the IPv6 book. It assumes that you are well versed in DNS and BIND and don't need a lot of hand holding. In fact, you are expected to know a fair amount about how IPv6 works before beginning to read as well. The "background to IPv6" part of the book is barely a page long, then you launch right into IPv6 forward and reverse mapping.

If you are a DNS administrator and just need to understand how IPv6 figures into your job, this book is a good introduction. Like the other books in this series (last August, I reviewed Migrating Applications to IPv6 which is only 50 pages), the limited page count allows the reader only a taste of the topic at hand. You're not going to dig very deep (slight pun there for dig fans). Actually, a certain amount of the content can be traced back to RFC 1886 which is the IETF documentation for DNS Extensions to support IP version 6.

I was just a little disappointed that Liu didn't mention that RFC 1886 has been obsoleted by RFC 3596, especially since the latter RFC was released eight years ago. It may not have made any difference in how he wrote the book, but keeping up with standards is the lifeblood of understanding IPv6 implementation.

Still, the book doesn't disappoint as long as you keep the intended audience and scope in mind. If you're a DNS/BIND administrator and you need a brief ramp up on IPv6 and name resolution, Liu's book is the source to check out.

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams (2nd Edition)

OK, I realize that the name on the cover says "Ben Conry" and he wrote the original content that was submitted to the publisher, but for unknown reasons he abruptly dropped out of the project. Meanwhile, the technical and production editors had marked up his content with a ton of questions and proposed changes and somebody had to deal with them.

Enter "me".

If you go to page "v" in the frontmatter, you'll see "About the Author" which tells you about Ben and then you'll see "About the Contributing Author" which is my bio. I don't get "cover credit" because the primary content isn't mind and I was brought into the book late in the game, on the other hand (sorry, Ben), I had to "fix" a lot of the content so it would make sense in relation to the current A+ exam domains. Hopefully, this will make the book more successful on the market, but you, the reader, will have to judge that for yourself.

If you're studying for the A+ exams and you want to give yourself an intense 31-day review prior to exam day, please pick up a copy of 31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams (2nd Edition), published by Cisco Press.

Please keep in mind that you must do your primary studying from some tome like Mike Meyers's CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, Seventh Edition or the McGraw Hill book CompTIA A+ Certification Study Guide, Seventh Edition (I wrote the companion to the McGraw Hill publication: CompTIA A+ Certification Practice Exams).

After studying with one (or more) of these "big books" and then using the "31 days" book, take the exam, then let me know how you did by commenting on this blog. I also encourage you to post a review on Amazon (be nice) to let others know how well the book helped you out.

Good luck to all A+ test takers. Cheers.