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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Practical Cryptography
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Niels Ferguson, Bruce Schneier
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Schneier has his cake and eats it.

With its heritage in "Applied Cryptography", the world's most famous book on the subject, I had high hopes for "Practical Cryptography".
Until page 149, when I read the following: "We can give you advice on how to write good cryptographic code...specifically, don't use C or C++". I looked for emoticons or signs of a subtle humour, but couldn't find them. Better get Linus to dust off his JDK then. :-) They have a point, but the book's title is surely a misnomer. Unfortunately this style of advice is pretty symptomatic of much of the book.
Like Burnett's "Cryptography" in the RSA Security series, this book takes a comprehensive but high level approach. I think this is the wrong way to entice curious engineers. The authors lack Burnett's enthusiasm, setting a dismal backdrop in which good security is impossible, and at times appear very condescending.
The highlight of this book is the advice that the authors give on choosing symmetric algorithms - for example they like AES for its 256 bit key size, but don't like its 128 bit block size. Some of their thoughts place them in a cryptographic minority, but their rationale for these thoughts are well worth reading, almost enlightening.
They emphasize that cryptographic algorithms need close and lengthy scrutiny by their peers and warn the reader against new and untested designs. And then present in great length, without warnings about misuse, their new and unscrutinized PRNG Fortuna.
The final chapter of the book runs along the lines of "we've told you this stuff, but you're going to get it really wrong, so just use an expert". I agree that they are almost invariably right, but at a time when there is a glut of cryptographic literature, I'd love to know why they thought this book would contribute.
My final word: if you want technical cryptography, try Nigel Smart's excellent "Cryptography". If you want a high level view, try Burnett's competent "RSA's Official Guide to Cryptography".

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Drawing Shortcuts: Developing Quick Drawing Skills Using Today's Technology
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Jim Leggitt
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This book rocks!

This book is an instant classic, that every architect and architectural student must get. Many of us grew up using the techniques taught by Michael Doyle in his book "Color Drawing". Jim Leggitt's techniques are even more geared toward the pace of productivity we all face. Using all the advantages of current technologies, including cameras, copiers, and printers he shows you exactly how to improve or gain the skills it takes to produce fast and effective visualizations. Some of the techniques are so insightful and helpful, as to immediately payback the cost of the book. Great color photographs help guide you step by step. This book is packed full. No one interested in drawing technigues should miss this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Reporting Services in Action (In Action series)
Publisher: Manning Publications
Authors: Teo Lachev
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
5 Stars for a reason

Being a Microsoft trainer, and needing to get up to speed in a hurry, I found this book - luckily. This book was able to give me the answers to the "how do I do..." questions I had, and then enabled me to explain these concepts to my students.

Teo's style is easy to read, and he makes it easy to see how you can apply his examples to your reporting needs.

If you need to get up to speed on Reporting Services in a hurry, and need a book you can refer to in the future, this is the one.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: REALbasic: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Matt Neuburg
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The essential reference to REALBasic

An invaluable resource on REALBasic.
Tightly-written in Matt Neuburg's signature style, this book offers accurate information on every aspect of this language, together with pertinent and usable examples.
An excellent book. Highly recommended!