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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Mastering Windows 2000 Server
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Brian M. Smith, Doug Toombs, Mark Minasi
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Not kidding, it has mystical powers...


A co-worker of mine owns the third edition. We call it "The Oracle". It provided us with answers to several somewhat common problems we encountered with Windows 2000, so it was handy to have around.
We set up a RIS server at a client site to upgrade about 50 workstations to 2000 Professional. We kept having problems with workstations on other VLANs connecting to the RIS server. We checked the switches and everything was connecting perfectly. Finally, we consulted The Oracle. The author casually relayed that he worked at a site where they "couldn't get a PXE boot to work to save our lives. Then someone noticed that the Ethernet switches had a feature called 'minimal spanning tree' enabled".
We checked with the guy who originally set up the switch and sure enough, it had spanning tree enabled. We turned it off and the workstations connected and upgraded without a hitch!
This is better than any Microsoft-sponsored books out there that do nothing more than tell you how things SHOULD work; this tells you how things DO work.
Highly recommended.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java Servlet Programming, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jason Hunter
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
too boring


Firstly, this book is obsolete. It doesn't even cover Servlet 2.2. Next thing, I don't understand why it contains JDBC and RMI. There are a lot of other books which cover these API match better. It was boring to read this book And I think this book is unuseful in any sense.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: sed & awk (2nd Edition)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Dale Dougherty, Arnold Robbins
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Easy. Organized. To the point.


I suppose if the proof of the teaching is in the learning, the authors' idea (in this edition) of interlacing their discussions of Sed and Awk throughout the volume is vindicated, because I am learning easily from the book. Yet this organization detracts seriously from its reference value, especially when one uses the index.
You can look up a feature which you need to review, turn to one of the listed pages, begin reading, and then realize that you have no idea which program is being described. While the approach is an interesting experiment, I question whether its benefits are worth such drawbacks. If the authors decide to continue the approach in later edition, a simple device such as different type faces of page references in the index (e.g. Roman for Awk, the more elaborate package, and Italic for Sed) would help relieve this problem.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The C++ Programming Language (Special 3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Bjarne Stroustrup
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Amazing Content, Questionable Writing


Stroustrup clearly shows that his expertise is in computing and not in writing with this book. If you comprehend everything that is in this book, you will definitely have an unbelieveable knowledge of this language. This book *might* work for a beginner to C++ but has significant expertise in other programming languages, but is certainly too advanced for a person that is new to programming altogether. His writing style leaves something to be desired. Stroustrup sometimes phrases ideas an an unnecessarily obscure/long-winded manner when concise wording is available. Sometimes his choice of adjectives/adverbs is questionable. This book can benefit from the input of someone with more expertise in writing. To his credit, I have yet to find anything actually *wrong* in this book, so at least the book is well-proofread (which, unfortunately, is not true for all C++ books....)
However, his writing flaws are nothing that cannot be overcome by a technically competent reader with a reasonable amount of diligence, and I strongly recommend this book for someone looking to take their C++ skills to the next level.