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Maurice

Huntersville, NC, USA | Member Since 2004

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  • Digital Fortress

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2122)
    Performance
    (650)
    Story
    (664)

    When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant, beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage, not by guns or bombs, but by a code so complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence.

    Amy says: "Meh..."
    "Don't read what you know"
    Overall

    Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed Da Vinci code and its prequel, so I was optimistic about this read. Unfortunately, I was horribly disappointed. I am not sure if the culprit is Mr. Brown's lack of knowledge about this subject (compared to the subject matter of Da Vinci) or my relative depth of knowledge about it (I happen to run data centers for a living) but I was extremely disappointed in the book.

    The characters were interesting and the basic concept to start with was OK, but from there it degenerated rapidly. By the end of the book I was figuring things out quicker than most of the characters (always a bad sign) and the majority of the plot line had become completely unbelievable. As with all techo-thrillers, the bottom line is that when the machine is run-amok or in horrible danger... simply turn the thing off. Since this solution is so elegantly simple, writers from Asimov to Star Trek have been inventing convulted ways to keep their machines from being turned off, and even more convulted reasons why those mechanisms would be built. Just in case Mr. Brown decides to write in this genre again, here are some good rules of thumb:
    1) Rule #1 of data center design - The EPO (emergency power off) is always located at a controlled and secure location near the exits (there can be multiple, after all) to the data center... not 3 stories below the data center in some goofy catacombe of generators and cooling equipment.
    2) Rule #1 of computer system design - If your $3 billion computer runs so hot it can explode... put a $10 temperature sensor in it so it can shut itself down to keep that from happening accidentally.
    3) Rule #1 of being an international assassin - silencers don't work very well on revolvers, sound escapes from between the cylinder and the barrel.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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