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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: OCA/OCP: Introduction to Oracle9i SQL Study Guide
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Chip Dawes, Biju Thomas
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good Book but has some small problems

I just pass the exam 5 minutes ago, and I an so supprised I got 93.3% (4 wrongs). I bought two books for this exam(an oracle press one). But focused on this book. I think the question on the test is a little more difficult than practice test. Anyway, this book help me a lot. It is a good reference during the test. Only one question on the test is not covered in this book (about iSQL).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Network Security Hacks
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Andrew Lockhart
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent material, but heavily weighted towards Unix...

If you're at all responsible for or mindful of the security aspects of your network, here's a book you'll enjoy... Network Security Hacks by Andrew Lockhart (O'Reilly). As with all the Hacks titles, this book contains 100 various tips and ideas on how to improve your network security through the use of various software packages or procedures you can implement. The Hacks are grouped into the following chapters:
Unix Host Security; Windows Host Security; Network Security; Logging; Monitoring and Trending; Secure Tunnels; Network Intrusion Detection; Recovery And Response.
This isn't a primer on all you need to know about system security, nor is it meant to be. Network Security Hacks is most helpful for the system or network administrator who understands security but is always looking for various ways to enhance their level of security or ease the administration processes. For instance, in the Monitoring and Trending chapter, you are introduced to a number of free tools you can download that will verify your services, graph your bandwidth trends, monitor real-time network stats, and audit the traffic on your network. While not every hack will appeal or apply to you, you will find plenty of gems that will give you a real and quick payback.
The only "gripe" I have about the book is that it is heavily weighted towards the Unix environment. The Windows chapter is pretty small, and even some of the Windows hacks involve allowing you to work with the data like you can with Unix. So, if you're looking strictly for Windows security tips, you will probably find less satisfaction than you might if you were a hard-core Unix admin. Even so, there is material there that will interest you, such as how to use Snort to set up an intrusion detection system or how to use built-in features of Windows to create your own firewall.
Very good book, and worthy to hold a spot on your bookshelf...

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to the Theory of Computation
Publisher: Course Technology
Authors: Michael Sipser
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An excellent one-semester intro to theory of computation

The theory of computation represents a fascinating landscape that intersects computer science and mathematics and can be roughly divided into three overlapping areas: automata and formal languages, computability theory, and computational complexity. And there is enough interesting knowledge about each area to fill three books, each twice the size of this one. And because of this I find it remarkable that the author has succeeded in filling a slim volume with the essential theory and results from each area, in a style that not only seems very accessible and intuitive, but also demonstrates important relationships between the three areas. For example, most books on computability theory do not discuss automata outside of Turing machines, but in his book Sipser elegantly proves that the equivalence problem is decidable for deterministic finite automata, but undecidable for pushdown automata.

Not only does the author have very good coverage of the three areas, but he also is able to strike a nice balance between mathematical rigor and intuitive understanding. His "proof idea" proof preambles greatly helped my students better understand the main ideas behind each result. In terms of coverage I found only a handful of introductory topics that were neglected: Greibach Normal Form, Rice and Rice-Shapiro Theorems, algebraic aspects of formal languages, Turing degrees, and perhaps context sensitive languages. With that said, remember that this book is just a semester-long introduction to a vast landscape. I recommend the following books for more depth: Peter Linz, "Introduction to Formal Languages and Automata"; Nigel Cutland, "Introduction to Computability Theory"; Christos Papadimitriou, "Computational Complexity".

Another strength of the book is how the author distinguishes exercises and problems: "exercises" are similar to the worked out examples, and can be solved by following one of the presented examples, algorithms or theorems, while "problems" require significant expository writing and deeper insight. Most undergraduates should be able to handle the exercises, but will find the problems very challenging if not impossible, due to the fact that students at this level are mostly familiar with problems that can be solved in a few steps by following some algorithm. So these problems have the capability of developing student intellect, but if assigned in too large a quantity can break the spirit of the developing student. Have care!

I congratulate Dr. Sipser on this fine book. May it inspire millions of readers to question the meaning of computation and explore its possibilities and limitations.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Python Essential Reference (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: David Beazley
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Doesnt add much to online documentation

I am an experienced programmer and I wanted to get up to speed quickly. Much of the information has been taken almost verbatim from the online docs. Language description is scant, for example the explanation of variable scoping rules left me with many unanswered questions. Much of the book is taken up with library descriptions . . not very exciting. Another thing . . the type size is tiny.