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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MCSA/MCSE Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment Exam Cram 2 (Exam Cram 70-290)
Publisher: Que
Authors: Dan Balter, Ed Tittel
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Dont expect to pass with this book...

Well i must say I felt inclined to write and say how disappointed I am with the new exam cram series. This book is terrible. I have been using exam crams for years now (at least when they were printed by Coriolis) and they have always been great. I got my first MCSE with them as well as my CCEA. You will not pass this exam with this guide. I took the exam without studying and failed (dumb idea). Anyway this book does not cover things that I saw on the exam itself. I wont say much here so I dont break my confidentiallity agreement with MS but this book doesnt cover things like scripting and OU design and where is the GPO stuff? Instead it is a beginner guide to Windows 2003 which is not what the exam is. An example of this is on page 348 and I quote: "Catastrophies such as fire, theft, acts of nature, or acts of violence can completely destroy an entire data center..." This is the kind of crap I expect to see in a beginner guide to Windows 2003. It's important to cover the disaster recovery parts that are relevant to the exam but this is the kind of crap you get instead. Exam cram used to be the nitty gritty of what you need to know for the exam but this book is loaded with crap that is completely irrelavant. How can you call it a cram guide when it has 542 pages? Again, I am very disappointed and will be searching for an alternative.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Setting Up LAMP: Getting Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP Working Together
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Eric Rosebrock, Eric Filson, Eric Rosebrock
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A valuable book for setting up a web and e-mail server

Linux, qmail, PHP, MySQL and Apache form a rewarding and rock-solid combination. Authors Rosebrock and Filson and the good folk at Sybex deserve accolades for conceiving a book directed at just this combination and bringing it to press.

The distinctive feature of this book is just how readable it is. A myriad choices exist when it comes to Linux distributions and server applications for e-mail, database, web and server-side scripting. In each case, the authors summarize the alternatives and, with focused and generally unarguable judgment, choose the one they consider to be best. Without looking back, they then proceed to guide the reader through its essential installation and maintenance. It is clear they strive to make a system that is well integrated. An example of this is their decision to cover Apache 1.3 rather than Apache 2.0. Although they clearly like what they see in the newer branch, for reasons of interoperability with PHP they select Apache 1.3 for their book.

Rosebrock and Filson serve as trustworthy mentors in the whole process of getting a complete installation up and running. They clearly teach from experience and with an appreciation of the frustrations beginning administrators may face. For example, while admitting the vi editor's power, they have the reader use the friendlier editor pico for basic editing.

In addition to covering the main server applications, this book provides a cursory introduction to auxiliary programs like the various MySQL and qmail utilities. A number of network tools such as nmap and traceroute are given quick overviews. For my part, I think the book should contain more discussion of the secure shell client and server and the process of creating and maintaining public and private keys.

"Setting up LAMP" is a well-written, well-targeted book. May it serve as a guide to a whole new generation of administrators who wish to build a complete, fast and robust web and mail server.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Apache: The Definitive Guide (3rd Edition)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Ben Laurie, Peter Laurie
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Horrible, horrible, horrible

This is a horrible, stunningly horrible, book. It has, sadly, persuaded me
that I cannot simply trust the O'Reilly brand as signifying, if not the
best book in a particular area, at least a worthwhile book.
The central problem is that this book has no idea what it wants to be.
It tries to be a tutorial, a cookbook and a reference, all intermingled.
One paragraph it's trying to talk to newbies, the next it assumes you are
a long time Apache veteran.
One role, however, that it seems to have no interest in playing is that
of giving the big picture, of describing exactly what Apache can (and
can't) do in a given area, and why you might care, before getting into various nitty gritty.
I'm afraid I can't recommend a good book on Apache to buy; I would
however urge you to stay away from this one. The worst shovelware out,
Sams Teach yourself Apache in 24hrs or Apache for Dummies, cannot be
worse than this sad failure.
(This reviews version 3 of the book. I have no idea if versions 1 and 2
were less dreadful.)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Steve Krug
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great place to start.

As a web designer with a usability department at my disposal, I didn't find too much of this to be new information, but the clear, entertaining way it was presented was a great way to confirm and organize my own thoughts. This is a great book for Project Managers and Marketing/Business types who don't have a clue - buy one for your favorite PM or CEO today! This makes the case for usability that you've always wanted to impress on them!