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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Official Final Fantasy VII Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Pretty good

This book is a good choice for new peaple to ff7, but at the end it tends to lack in detail.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Secrets and Lies : Digital Security in a Networked World
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good and Bad

This is basically a good book. Very readable, usually very clear, very broad scope. I think every issue that a security manager needs to know about is at least mentioned, with the really important issues discussed at length. Schneier tries (and usually succeeds) in writing for a general audience without dumbing down the important stuff. Mandatory reading if you have any interest in security. That being said, there are some nits I have to pick. The material is very ad hoc, backed up by mainly by personal (though extensive) experience and casual reading. A useful knowledge base, but limited as a source of primary information.
This is aggravated by Schneier's use of non-technical examples and analogies in many of his arguments. The arguments themselves are very strong, but when he cites this historical example or that financial practice, he often gets his facts wrong. I don't suppose this has a big effect on his credibility, but it must have some.
It's also a little disappointing that Schneier didn't bother to get into the general history of the Engima/Ultra business -- a prime example of his basic theme, that the smallest failure of the security process is vulnerable to machines with infinite patience.
Finally, I'm very, very disappointed that Scheier fails to challenge -- and sometimes even supports -- the social conservative attitude towards hacking and reverse engineering. He points out the futility of trying to encrypt DVDs -- but barely touches on the DMCA. He speaks of general software hacking as a basically benign activity -- but he strongly supports criminal punishment even for the most non-invasive electronic "trespass". This is a point of view utterly at odds with his ideas of security considered in a complete social context.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XQuery: The XML Query Language
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Michael Brundage
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good book and a fascinating topic

This is a well written introductory and reference work on XQuery. It's primarily an introductory work, the first 260 pages are introduction and the final 240 are a reference that is organized as an appendix.
The writing is solid, and it by no means panders to the reader, so you should be prepared to read over sections multiple times to completely understand the topic. I can't penalize the book for this because the topic is fairly complex.
On the downside there could be more in the way of real world examples in the text as they explain so of the more complex topics. It easier for the reader to retain the information if they knew why they would be using the language feature in the real world. In addition the book needs a section on existing tools and support for XQuery.
Strong chapters are chapters five and six which cut to the heart for the FLWOR expression syntax.
Overall this is a fine introductory work that could use some expansion and some more focused explanations.

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
This and some practice tests are all you need to pass easily

This book in addition to Euthuware's ( www.enthuware.com ) test suite are a perfect combination to passing the test with ease.
My recommendation? Go through the book 3-4 times, when you start to remember the chapter test questions and answers, then move to Euthuware's software.
But without this book, the test is almost useless.