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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Maya 6 Killer Tips (Killer Tips)
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Eric Hanson, Kenneth Ibrahim, Alex Nijmeh
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
worth its weight in gold

This book is a must have for anyone from students to industry professionals. Concise, to the point info that can cut your worktime in half and totally boost your performance!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Systems Architecture, Fourth Edition
Publisher: Course Technology
Authors: Stephen D. Burd
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Painful Read

Painful, boring, and essentially worthless textbook. It describes simple terms so badly that definitions blend together and add serious confusion when examining critically. Those experienced with the topic could barely sort out this jumbled mess, and beginners will simply be lost.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide (Exam 310-035 & 310-027)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Simply the best!

Although I took the exam 2 years ago, I have never got over the fact that I have not written a review.

The book is simply the best! Not only is it a brilliant Java certification book, it is the best computing book I have ever come across! It literally takes you inside the JDK so you can see how things are done. It explains complex topics with incredible simplicity. What is more, its breath and depth is spot on!

If you already understand the basic fundamentals of Java, then all you need to do to pass the exam is: (1) read this book at least twice and (2) score at least 80% in all the exercises at the end of each chapter - I did not touch the exercises on the cd or the internet. I would be surprised if you do not score at least 70% in the exam after doing this.

Even after the exam, you will find yourself referencing the book a lot. It is simply worth its weight in gold!

Gambatte kudasai - All the best.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Active Server Pages 3.0 in 21 Days
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Scott Mitchell, James Atkinson
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
2 cents from an ASP beginner and ColdFusion intermediate

I bought this book because my workplace is slowly moving away from ColdFusion. I have been doing self-taught ColdFusion programming for 2+ years now, and I enjoy the programming language (for its relative ease of use), but I must keep up with my workplace. Plus, I wanted the flexibility and additional power of ASP. This book was highly recommended for ASP beginners, especially those without too much prior programming experience to begin with.
The writing is excellent -- very even-handed and informative. I learned a lot about the language (or languages) that power Active Server Pages. The VBScript was pretty straightforward, and I caught on rather quickly. These guys really know how to write for the intended audience.
Unfortunately, I had to give the book 3-stars because my IIS 4.0 web server simply would not work with the last 7-days worth of database application programming. I did everything possible to update MDAC and other components on the NT machine, but to no avail. When I showed some of the sample database applications to other folks who are more familiar with Active Server Pages, many questioned the samples as incorrect or too complicated to accomplish simple tasks. They could get some samples to run on their departmental servers, but I could not, and I had no other option but to stop at the 15th chapter.
Bottom line -- I only got 14 days worth of the 21 days included in the book. I'm going to have to buy another one now (or just wait for ASP.NET to take hold) to get another set of database application samples to learn from on my web server. I'm hoping that they'll work, or I'll have two unfinished ASP books. ;-)