AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate All-in-One Exam Guide (Exam SAA-C01)

Yes, I know that the name of this book is unbearably long but please stay with me as this book as not as it bad as it looks judging by its name

Actually, it's the opposite of a book that aims to teach you the basics of AWS in just a few hundred pages. I read it to brush up my AWS knowledge before coming to interviews. And for this exact purpose this book is just perfect.

It doesn't provide you the same breadth of information as for example Cloud Guru's videos. It gets you straight to the point where you need to be. AWS course on the Cloud Guru platform is worth it only when you can get it for free. Paying for it is pointless in my opinion as it gives you lots of information that you don't even need but doesn't prepare you good enough for the AWS exam.

This book gives you just enough knowledge you need to pass the exam though I would recomend to go through test exams at least a couple of times before going to the real one.

My score is 4/5. This book is relatively new but the pace of change in AWS is so fast that this book is already outdated in some of its aspects.

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Battlefield V impressions

I don't usually play video games, but the Battlefield series got me hooked during my days at school. I've never played it online, instead I always preferred the single player flavor of it

Battlefield 1 looked like a disaster to me, though it had historically precise arms and vehicles its single player looked unbelievably lackluster in comparison with what the players were given in Battlefield 3/4/Hardline. It was OKish, but looked more like a tutorial to all the bells and whistles that the game had. That was the first Battlefield that I hadn't completed as it was tood boring to my taste. How wrong I was back in those days.

Battlefield V has the worst single player across the whole Battlefield series. Yes, the decorations are nice, the arms and vehicles are there. But apart from one "chapter" every other part of it can be described as overwhelming waves of foes that you need to go kill in order to finish the game. That's it, no scenario at all.

Battlefield V is a good benchmark for your videocard, but I'd not recommend anyone to play its single player if the one doesn't want to be disappointed.

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on life

Brave is awesome, but it has its problems

Brave is a great browser. Nice and slick. Fast and secure. The only problem I had with it is its annoying lack of good quality third party extenstions.

Unfortuntely, since this week it's also prohibited to use at my work due to security reasons.

That's why starting from this week I'll give a try to Yandex browser on the Mac that my employer gives to me. The first impression it made was unexpectedly good, not considering the integrations with Yandex services that you need to switch off almost immediately after the browser launches as they are annoying as hell.

After the last update of Git to 2.20 through brew it started to show all of its output in Russian due to some Brew misconfiguration. Yandex browser has partly the same problem, though it also could be considered as the marker of the number of non-Russian speakers using YaB or how the Yandex QA department works. Good to have a browser aimed exclusively to those who know Cyrillics =)

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on life

Bye bye to Google's user-tracking services

We had one and off relationships with Brave before, but I couldn't jump off the Google's dreadnought as I had problems with using email with Brave.

The wait is over. After watching how convinient Protonmail is on my collegue's laptop and mobile I decided that it's my turn to fully embrace Brave as well as the ability to read my emails without being constantly watched by Google with a goal to serve me better ads

Bye bye Gmail, bye bye Chrome

Privacy is Key

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on life

Terraform Up & Running book review

I would say that Terraform is the most unsophisticated tool from Hashicorp that I know. However, if you're thinking that's a bad thing then you're wrong.

It does a bunch of things that anyone else who has a glimpse of AWS/Openshift/Azure/etc SDK plus a bit of any scripting language can easily do without loosing a sweat.

But that's its main ace in its sleeve. It does a simple thing and does it very well. It encapsulates all the knowledge about different providers in itself allowing you to use one interface amongst them all.

Considering what Terraform is I would say that this book is too much long and it goes in too much detail. But as with Terraform itself that's not bad because the more you know the less you fear. And this book allows you not fear Terraform and be productive with it since the very beginning.

My score is 5/5

 

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Everyday Rails Testing with RSpec book review

I always had a strange perception towards writing tests in Ruby. Ruby is a language where making a change is so easy that you feel empowered to do more than you planned. And it forgives you a lot, allowing you to increase the amount of tech debt that you app accumulates during the development. And sometimes you realize that you can't progress anymore without sacrificing on the stability of your application.

And at this phase usually tests come into play to help you to gain control over your codebase and make it robust.

This book is a great introduction to start writing tests in Ruby. It teaches you concepts that are common, with very little emphasis on RSpec features. In my opinion the coverage of Rspec features is shallow, after reading the book I had to refer to the documentation a lot. Mocking frameworks are covered very poorly.

But as an introductory, especially if Ruby on Rails is your bread and butter this book is great as it's nicely written and doesn't get you bored which is very rare amongst the books about testing.

My score is 3/5

 

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

It's even more useless than the "4-hour work week". Tim is a cool guy, but the book looks like his diary with all the recipes that he has been meticiously testing on himself without any scientific or medical proof whatsoever.

Don't waste your time on it, just read a few of his blog posts.

My score is 2/5

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov

The author considers his book as an introductional tutorial, which it's definitely not.

I was a bit disappointed first as it goes into too much detail on the basics of web development and Rub y the language, but then I got enlightened. This book is called "Introduction to Web Development with Ruby on Rails", therefore it doesn't expect its reader to have any experience with RoR, Ruby or web dev whatsoever.

This book allows its reader not only to grasp the basics, it empowers him to do apps that's are production ready without any prior frontend experience. Javascript is not very well covered though. However, in the world of RoR that doesn't matter that much.

I wish I had read a book like this before. Unfortunately, the heyday of RoR has been long gone, but this doesn't make this book any worse.

This book is a must read if you're thinking to touch any RoR project.

My score is 5/5

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov

The 4 hour work week book review

The most valuable asset that this book gives is its reading list given at the very end of it.

Tim Ferriss is a cool guy with a long list of achievements, I just don't agree with some of the things written in this book. Plus, as it was written in 2007 a lot of stuff that he tries to explain in detail like the easiness of creating your own info products and remote work ubiquity are considered as trivial and don't need a lengthy multi chapter explanation as, I assume, was the case in 2007.

The "low information diet" principle coined by Ferriss will take a place at the top of my own list of the things that I strive to do for self improvement.

My score is 3/5

 

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Москва Петушки book review

Хорошо что я не прочитал эту книгу ранее когда ездил каждое утро по маршруту Москва-Петушки, достаточно тяжело ассоциироовать себя с героями и происшествиями этой книге.

По моему мнению эта книга это квинтэссенция повести о российской интеллигенции: маргинализированная, никому не нужная, ждущая когда же откроется магазин чтобы купить херес который поможет приблизиться к сути бытия и чтобы не так тянуло блевать.

Да, это герой уровня Гоголя и Пелевина. В каждом времени есть свои герои, но Венечка для меня навсегда останется примером того что ждет каждого беспомощного российского интеллигента нашедшего спасения от обыденных проблем в пьянстве: Сфинкс и нож в горле.

My score is 4/5

 

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Linchpin. Are you indispensable? book review

This book doesn't reinvent the wheel, it will not teach you anything new that you haven't heard of before. This is simply a cookbook of recipes on how to always stay relevant and drift with the flow in the right direction.

Very motivating, if you're a fan of Lifehacker that's definitely the book you need to read instantly.

My score is 5/5

 

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Thoughtful Machine Learning book review

Well, if you're looking for a brief introduction to ML that book could be of some use for you. Unfortunately, it doesn't go far beyond that.

Code examples that are bundled with the book have-not been updated for a long time, therefore some of them don't work.

I reckon that If you had read a few blog posts from 2017 titled "Introduction to Machine Learning" with no Ruby code examples you would have known more than what this book teaches you.

My score is 3/5

 

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Go in Practice book review

Go in Practice is a nice small book that in my opinion should be the starting point for every Golang programmer. As the language is so small you can learn it in a few days, but its libraries are its biggest value if you ask me and this book tries to explain why those libraries have allowed to scaffold such projects as Docker and Kubernetes.

The book is boring sometimes, it goes in too much detail without a particular need. Explaining the methods of this or that class is too much of a burden for the readers in my opinion.

The biggest flaw of the book is also its biggest virtue. Even though I had no problems with running some of the code that's embedded in the book ( the version of the book in Safari is awful BTW) as the book promises to be a practical guide some the solutions to the problems the the author thinks one can face are a bit outdated. If you claim to give practical solutions than you need to update your book with the best solution that's currently available

My score is 4/5

 

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Vue.js 2 and Bootstrap 4 Web Development book review

VueJS is the new kid on the block, though it might look familiar to most of frontend developers who had experience with Angular 1.x prior to that. And that's not an coincedence due to that VueJS author was one of the former core contributors to Angular therefore he claims that he took the features that we of the most importance to community and got rid of the unneccessary complexity that Angular 2.x presents as its features.

I can't agree more on that. For me as a former Angular addict VueJS looks like a breath of fresh air in comparison with React. React was a good thing in its times, it helped to educate frontend engineers who usually lack formal CS education therefore are prone to reinvent the wheel with every project they touch. React has brought a lot of fundamental CS concepts like immutabilty and referential transparency that they called "pure functions" to the attention of the Javascript developers. But if you're not a frontend developer than React will take a heavy toll on you as in my opinion it makes creating a simple app unbearably hard as you need to learn JSX, Redux and other things just to start. React ecosystem changes so quickly that it's not worth the effort to enter it as it could change at any moment.

Here VueJS comes into play. It has adapted some of the most valuable React features which is Redux in my opinion, but to write a VueJS app you don't need to know anything besides Javascript and HTML. It's unbelievable, but you don't even need NodeJS to write a frontend app in Vue.

Ok, let's go back to the book. The book is great, I can't say more about it. It reminds me of the Head First book series that was iconic to the IT newcomers back in the mid 2010's. Olga reminds Kathy Sierra a lot as they have a similar narratory style though Kathy usually gets in too much details as she expects her readers to have zero knowledge and Olga sometimes skips some of the concepts and gives a referrence to the book's complementary source code. It's hard to find it therefore I've made a fork that's will be more accessible for anyone https://github.com/mkoltsov/Vue.js-2-and-Bootstrap-4-Web-Development

The book gives a lot of practical examples on how to start writing actual webapps with Vue, it even goes to such extent as how to deploy it and manage its data.

My score is 5/5

 

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books

Go in Action book review

I always thought of myself as of a quick learner, therefore I prefer to practice and hone my skill rather than reading long and lenghty books.

But this book is an exception. It’s not long, it’s not boring. But after reading it I felt unsatisfied as the code examples were far from what’s needed in the real life, some parts of the language are shallowly described and the whole impression of the language it gives is that Go is very close to Javascript and you can easily learn it over the weekend.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with Go. I’ll give a try to “Go in Practice” from the same publisher in a hope that it will not leave me with lots of unanswered questions as this book did.

My score is 2/5

 

Author's profile picture Michael Koltsov on books