Tag Archives: books

Letters from China

Chinese signWe don’t write paper letters anymore. Whether we want or not, electronic instant communication is replacing that fragile media, but it is like instant coffee — rarely have the full flavor. I got a book in a shop and between the pages I found that piece of paper, please see the scanned picture. The book was printed in China, so I guess it is where this sign is coming from. Well I understand that it is most probably meant a sort of “QA check by Yung Wu”, but still I’m pleased to keep it. It is like in Salinger’s “Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters!”:

My last guest had evedently let himself out of the apartment. Only his empty glass, and his cigar end in the pewter ashtray, indicated that he had ever existed. I still rather think his cigar end should have been forwarded on to Seymour, the usual run of wedding gifts being what it is. Just the cigar, in a small, nice box. Possibly with a blank sheet of paper enclosed, by way of explanation.

Best books to teach you Writing Well

on-writing-wellWhat are the best books to help you write well? I personally like very much the William Zinsser’s “On writing well. The classic guide to writing nonfiction” [2006, HarperCollins, ISBN-13: 978-0-06-089154-1]. I bought it few years ago via Amazon and enjoyed this book a lot, especially the first seven chapters. Here’s one of my favorite quotes about clutter in our language:

Clutter is the ponderous euphemism that turns a slum into a depressed socioeconomic area, garbage collectors into waste-disposal personnel and the town dump into the volume reduction unit. I think of Bill Mauldin’s cartoon of two hoboes riding a freight car. On of them says, “I started as a simple bum, but now I’m hard-core unemployed.”

In that book there are few forms of writing are described: Continue reading

Windows Firewall Rules. What we know from books.

Windows FirewallWindows Firewall is a built-in security tool you would never regret to have, even if you do not know what it is and what for. It is designed to protect your computer from hackers attacks from outside, that is not always solely Internet — local network (LAN) could be also an area where you want to be alerted. Firewall can also protect, if some malware is already planted and trying to communicate out of your machine. The latter is very unlikely though, that is once your machine is infected, the virus would most probably find a way to break silently through the firewall. I once already explained how to configure  Windows Vista firewall to filter outbound traffic [article link “Tweak Windows Firewall”]. Since then I expect Windows 7 firewall to be even more convenient and maybe more functional, let’s check.

Let’s see what we can learn from popular books. Let’s start with Windows 7. The missing manual. By David Pogue, Published by O’Reilly Media, 2010. At first it gives a nice definition of the firewall: “The firewall acts as a gatekeeper between you and the Internet. It examines all Internet traffic and lets through only communications that it knows are safe; all other traffic is turned away at the door.” But then on page 363 it describes the outbound versus inbound topic, where to my big surprise I see the following: “Windows Vista didn’t have an outbound-blocking firewall at all.” That’s wrong, Vista had almost the same firewall that Windows 7 has. Good suggestion for the errata, I think. But anyway, the author is right about the firewall: outbound-blocking feature is turned off by default. Why? “The theory is that if your PC is locked down tight enough with antivirus software, antispyware software, and an inbound firewall, you won’t get any infection that could send outbound signals in the first place.” That’s a fair explanation, but a bit too general for a book like that. Otherwise, there is a good guide in the book of how to tweak Windows firewall. One good point I would like to quote: “there’s no harm in having both a hardware and software firewall in place. In fact, having the Windows Firewall turned on protects you from viruses you catch from other people on your own network (even though you’re both “behind” the router’s firewall).” The book gives an interesting link to Microsoft TechNet library article Windows Firewall with Advanced Security Getting Started Guide, where you can learn a lot of interesting stuff. For example, I was wondering why my Avast Internet Security 5.0.677 did not disable the Windows Firewall once it has it’s own. As it turned out, that is a new feature in the Windows Firewall that it coexist with third party firewalls:

Continue reading