Beta Books and You

Regarding the new book, second in the Dissecting the Hack series, “Dissecting the Hack: The V3rb0t3n  Network.”

I have never run into any projects that started out in Beta, which you immediately realized were so flawless that they could go straight to production. After rushing out this book to make sure that it made it to you at Black Hat and DEF CON, I still have not seen any projects that have started out in Beta that are immediately flawless.

When I approached Syngress at the RSA Conference just a few months ago, I spoke to Chris over dinner and explained the very demanding demands for the book. It became clear very quickly that one of the most important ones was time. I wanted – no, needed – this book to be done and published by Black Hat and DEF CON of this year. It had been too long since the last one – the story of the reason for that delay is a saga all unto its own which we’re not going to get into here.

Amazingly – miraculously! – he said yes. They would give it a shot, they would do their best to meet those deadlines… which meant we would have to have the book sent to the publishers ASAP (this is in April), though the tireless Brian Baskin was still finishing up the technical section. With the hard work of everyone involved, we would still have it done and ready so that it would be able to go into processing (by the publishers) by June. This is a process that with a normal book takes months to do. Many eyes will look at it, many people will have a back and forth exchange about it, discovering minute errors in the production process and the text – making sure that it’s vetted and done the way it needs to be.

I asked them to do it in weeks. Needless to say, there were fewer eyes on it, fewer edits, fewer back and forths, and way less luxury of time to ensure that it was the final product that we would want to release to you. Therefore, it is my undeniable, somewhat questionable, pleasure to be able to tell you that for only the first 200 lucky buyers of the “limited edition” run that we have at Black Hat and DEF CON will be holding in their hands a collector’s item.

The content inside the book is intact. It’s a great story. It’s a great technical section (if I do say so myself). It just isn’t formatted to the specifications that a final product should be and will be. Even on Twitter (from the very beginning) I’ve always said that this was a pre-release, one-off run of the books just so it could make it to Black Hat and DEF CON.

In addition – and most importantly! – I would like to make a special note that the biggest error was to accidentally not have the names of Kristen Sims and Brian Baskin on the cover where they belong! I greatly appreciate all that they’ve done and you should know that this book would not be in your hands if not for the time and hard work that they’ve put in. So I’ve taken it upon myself to fix that immediately by purchasing stickers with all our names printed uniformly on it. That sticker will be placed over where my name (with an error in it as well) is on the book! Yes, we are patching our book in production… but it’s still only a beta so it should be fine!

So please enjoy the story. Please learn from the story. And please try not to giggle (too much) at the errors you will find in the book. I’ve never run away from owning up to my mistakes, and I believe I was over-ambitious to try and get this project done so quickly and to expect there would be no hiccups or mistakes. But just like Bob likes to say – “I’ve never let reality get in the way of me trying to accomplish something.”

And sometimes, that even succeeds.

See you at Black Hat, see you at DEF CON! Awkward hugs will be given out, and this version of the book will be available at the Pwnie Express booth…. for a very limited run (and at a discount). And after Black Hat and DEF CON, the final run will be edited, revised, and perfected!

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