Want to know why I'm a programmer? Because everyone in my family is good with their hands except me. My siblings are a goldsmith, an occupational therapist, and an industrial designer; my dad built a house around us as we were growing up; and if you gave my mom some steel wool, she could knit you a Volkswagen Beetle. Me, I got the gene that codes for "make stuff!", but not the one for dexterity. People who know me hold their breath whenever I pick up a can opener.
That's why I went into software: I can satisfy my craving to make things without losing any fingers. And while I don't know whether Eldad Eilam has my tendency to hammer his own thumb, his book on reverse engineering is enough to convince me that he has the same insatiable drive to take things apart and put them back together.
Reversing is exactly what it promises: a step-by-step guide to taking software apart to figure out how it works. For obvious reasons, Eilam focuses on code for Intel-compatible processors. After some fast-paced introductory chapters on assembly programming, the Windows API, and useful tools like disassemblers and debuggers, he dives right in and shows his readers how to find and call an undocumented function in one of the standards Windows DLLs. He then moves on to decrypting file formats and reversing various kinds of malware, before looking at piracy, copy protection, and various anti-reversing techniques. It's all very hands-on, and the author's fascination with his subject shines through.
Herrington's book on podcasting has that same "dive right in and do it" feel. For those who haven't been paying attention, a podcast is an audio blog (and what does it say about the pace of the world that I don't have to explain what a blog is?). The 75 tips and tricks collected in this book explain everything from how to set up a home studio on the cheap, to doing phone interviews, to ways of publicizing your message. As with O'Reilly's other "Hacks" books, there are copious cross-references, plenty of illustrations, and lots of links to help you find more information.
Eldad Eilam: Reversing: Secrets of Reverse Engineering. Wiley, 2005, 0764574817, 589 pages.
Jack D. Herrington: Podcasting Hacks. O'Reilly, 2005, 0596100663, 428 pages.