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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Administrator's Companion
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Sharon Crawford, Charlie Russel, Jason Gerend
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Another solid Companion

Having used Russel & Crawford's Windows 2000 Companion book for the last 3 years, I looked forward to their latest edition for Microsoft's 2003 Server.
It has a solid clustering chapter, extensive planning and preparation chapters for those planning to migrate to Server 2003, and is simply the best single reference out there. Clearly another winner from Russel and Crawford.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: AppleScriptThe Missing Manual (Missing Manual)
Publisher: Pogue Press
Authors: Adam Goldstein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
REVIEW: AppleScript, The Mising Manual

Book Review: AppleScript: The Missing Manual
By Frank Petrie

Author: Adam Goldstein
Publisher: Pogue Press/O'Reilly
Price: $24.95 USD
Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Power-User
Rating: Five out of Five stars

Do you work for your computer or does your computer work for you? I should hope its the later. If not, you might want to pick up a copy of AppleScript: The Missing Manual and show your Mac who's the boss.

Another entry in the ever popular 'Missing Manual' series <www.missingmanuals.com>, Mr. Goldstein, the teenage founder of GoldfishSoft, manages to take you from an overview of AS's underpinnings in Panther (OS X.3) to as far as you care to get involved with the Script Editor.

There's examples of some of the most common repetitive functions accompanied with scripts, thorough explanations, graphics and sidebars. You are also instructed how to download the "Missing CD," which contain all of the examples and exercises from the book.

The book is broken down into four major sections:

*AppleScript Overview - where the glaze is wiped from your eyes and all your fears dissipated
* Everyday Scripting Tasks - actual hands-on scripting with applications that you probably use on a daily basis
* Power-user Features - learn how to get the most out of your scripts so your computer does the work while you sit out side on the porch experiencing daylight
* Appendixes - Part One, lists OS X friendly scriptable programs; Part Two, how to move your old HyperCard scripts into AppleScript; Part Three - references to more books and websites

The author writes in such a calming voice that actually makes this manual a page turner! You'll be amazed at how easily you learn AS as he builds upon each successive lesson. And if you've never delved into scripting functions for your Mac, you'll be amazed at just how powerful this unheralded application can be. And how much you'll want to roll up your sleeves are get immediately to work.

This may be the push that you need to start getting under the hood and fine tuning your machine to be the Mac of your dreams.

Pros: Easy to read and follow; be the envy of your friends by knowing the meaning of boolean

Cons: This could be the start of a major addiction; I'm old enough to be the author's father


2005 Frank Petrie - Freelance writer, Macsimum News contributing editor, Curmudgeon

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Step by Step--Version 2003 (Step By Step (Microsoft))
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Michael Halvorson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The Basics - you have to crawl before you run

Some have criticized Halvorson's book as being too basic, or not basic enough. The truth is that this book is really for either a) the new person who knows some programming and wants to get his or her feet wet in VB.Net, or b) someone who knows VB6 and wants to skim and see changes. It hits the highlights to get you off the ground. The value in it comes more from the programs provided that you can dissect than the instructions that come with the steps. The author takes the time to point out how .Net differs from version 6, including the changes, and removals between the versions. If you are a VB programmer already, this book is below you, except as I mentioned for skimming for changes quickly. But if you are looking to get a simple handle on the changes, or the new .net development platform at all, this gets your foot in the door. It gave me enough to start with and now I can springboard off of that into more detailed books. I'm not going to be writing huge applications right now, but I'm a step along the way. The book delivers on what it sets out to do.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, 4th Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Michael Meyers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Solid Coverage of Computers in General

This book is long so beware, but one thing is for sure: I know a lot more about computers than I used to know. Whether you are trying to pass the A+ certification exam or not, this book is great to get a better understanding of how computers work, what hardware changes have been made, etc... It tells you all the specifics with practice questions at the end of each chapter. The book takes some time to read, but it is a good read. Some sections are confusing, but those are difficult topics to understand anyway. If you want to learn, this is the book for you. If you just want to pass the test, you may consider getting a shorter and more test intensive book. Overall though, he writes a great book.