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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Unix Network Programming, Vol. 1: The Sockets Networking API, Third Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: W. Richard Stevens, Bill Fenner, Andrew M. Rudoff, Richard W. Stevens
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great book, while code exmp could be more straight forward


I learned both network programming and threaded programming (pthreads) from this book (the 1998 2nd edition), and it was a great teacher. I used it to design and implement a client server protocol for a research project involving 10 machines and about 15 communicating processes. One of the things I really appreciate about the book is the detailed examples.
After the concepts (a server 'listens' for a connection; a client initiates a connection) and basics of packets and sockets, the book presents a simple tcp server and client -- the server simply echos back whatever the client sends. Next, it discusses what can go wrong with the simple version, and presents an improved echo server that behave better when the client crashes (and likewise an improved client).
The book continues to improve on the basic client/server, including address resolution, and servers that handle multiple clients using forks, threads, non-blocking I/O. This is all I needed to learn from the book, and it's all in the first half of the book.
Particularly useful is Chapter 27, Client-Server Design Alternatives. To me it alone was worth the price of the book. Here the book discusses concurrent servers with three basic architectures:
(1) non-blocking I/O, no threads or forks (advantage: full control of resource allocation; disadvantag: complexity);
(2) spawn a thread or fork for each client (simplest implementation; potential problem of too many children);
(3) servers that pre-allocate a pool of threads or forks (a happy medium; faster).
Other chapters discuss broadcasting, multicasting, out of band data, routing sockets, and raw sockets; all topics I hope to learn some day. Again, this is a great book. The 3rd edition brings it up to date for IPV6 and numerous small improvements.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon--The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Authors: Steven L. Kent
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Lives up to its name--a must-read


Combine Leonard Herman's accurate but dry Phoenix with the intimacy of David Sheff's Game Over and you've got The Ultimate History of Video Games, the best account of video game history to date. Numerous anecdotes from the people who made the games that made history--from Atari's Al Alcorn and Nolan Bushnell through to Square's Hironobu Sakaguchi and Sony's Kaz Hirai--give the book an personal, friendly tone. Gamers should note that this is a reprinted but noticably improved version of Kent's self-published The First Quarter, with a full index, more photographic examples, a more attractive layout, and the removal of all the confusing typos and minor errors (sadly, the original book's clever title was removed as well, but the amended facts are worth it). Ultimate History's conversational tone, broad scope, and authoritative direct quotes make it very compelling as a narrative but just as useful as a reference. Along with David Sheff's Game Over, it's an entertaining must-read for students of gaming history.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Concurrent Programming in Java(TM): Design Principles and Pattern (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Doug Lea
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Awful! Save your money.


The author provides no insight into how Java concurrency actually works, or how to best exploit it. His style is full of obfuscation and needlessly difficult to read. Just as K&R's C is known commonly as "the white book," Lea's "Concurrent Programming in Java" is known around here as "the badly written book." Skip it.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Search Engine Optimization for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Peter Kent
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Wonderfully useful book


I can't recommend this book highly enough. Lots of great info. A must read for any web designer who wants to get those hits.