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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: VBScript in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Paul Lomax, Ron Petrusha
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not Beginner Friendly

This book assumes you know a bit about programming already. They don't spend a lot of time teaching in this book with "how to's". You get this book for the reference section instead, which has examples of how to use the code which are much better than the ones found on MSDN's VBScript Language Reference pages.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE Study Guide (Exam 310-051)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Paul Allen, Joseph Bambara
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5

This is one of those books that looks good on the store shelf. It appears to cover all of the certification objectives. It has a CD that promises mock exams. Unfortunately the book is very poorly written. It doesn't seem as though the authors really understand what they are talking about, and instead are cobbling together material from other sources: Starting with the introductory material, the descriptions of the concepts of architecture and design are terrible muddled. Also, I have never read such poor descriptions of the GoF design patterns. The EJB material is scattered and poorly organized. Finally a bunch of mostly useless Java code is thrown in, presumably to make the book seem more authoritative. Througout, this book seems to repeat the same material over and over again. The back of the book promises an "exam watch - warnings based on thorough post-exam research identifying the most troublesome exam topics." This sounds useful, but appears nowhere in the book as far as I can tell.
I would suggest simply buying the Sun press study guide by Mark Cade and Simon Roberts. It is not "complete" but the material is very well written, and you can go on the Web to find other people's study notes and mock exams to complement your review of the material.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C++ Coding Standards : 101 Rules, Guidelines, and Best Practices (C++ in Depth Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Herb Sutter, Andrei Alexandrescu
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Finally, a coding standard that programmers can accept.

For many programmers, the term "coding standard" generates a gut-level response. We all know that someone is going to be pushing the "one, true brace style" or the "proper" way to indent code. This subject is probably the best way to generate instantaneous rebellion among a group of programmers.

The first "standard" in "C++ Coding Standards" wipes all of that away with their first rule:

0. Don't sweat the small stuff. (Or: know what not to standardize.)

In one quick entry, Sutter and Alexandrescu sweep all of the indent-level, brace-placement, CamelCase/underscores holy wars into a single category and give a useful bit of advice: <em>Be consistent.</em> The authors point out that any professional programmer should be able to read and write in any of these styles. The differences are basically a matter of personal preference.

From this point on, we get to see a coding standard that is focused on "best practices" and proven techniques for improving code.

This is the only coding standard I've ever seen that would really help a group of programmers improve their work.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Troubleshooting, Maintaining & Repairing PCs (Troubleshooting, Maintaining & Repairing PCs)
Publisher: Osborne/McGraw-Hill
Authors: Stephen J. Bigelow
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Fifth Edition is Available!! Be sure to get it!

Want to take the A+ exam? Want to take the CST exam? Want a book that covers both? Want to make sure that the author is giving you the best possible answers and information? Then grab a copy of the fifth edition and you'll find the information completely updated to the current technology.

Starting off the book is monitors and video, followed up with operating systems from DOS 6.X to 95, OS/2 Warp4, Windows CE, NT, 98, ME and 2000. Backups, Bios and Busses have separate chapters of coverage.

You'll move from there to storage, chipsets and CMOS. Topics like the CPU from the 8086 to the Pentium 4, hard drives, RAID and SCSI. Hundreds of pages filled with error codes from a number of manufacturers.

Bigelow's coverage of peripherals like keyboard, mice, joysticks, sound and modems. There is discussion about memory and seven chapters just for trouble shooting. Bigelow includes a cd filled with over 100 utilities and the DLS4 test. Once again Stephen Bigelow has done it again.