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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MCSA Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows 2000 Core Requirements, Exams 70-210, 70-215, 70-216, and 70-218, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Effective means to get MCSA, when used with other materials

I bought these books in April 2003 along with online study guides to get my MCSA:Passed 70-210 in July ,70-215 in October and 70-218 in March 2004; all on the first try(combining them with my A+ and Network+ Certificatons). Looking on to MCSE I'll be doing 70-216 at the end of April 2004
They're very good books to use except that sometimes they go into too much detail on stuff you don't need to know for the exams.... however for the purpose of gong through every task that may be performed in using windows, simply excellent. The labs are straightforward and help you quickly understand what you read . I recommend using Cramsession StudyGuides alongside these books for best results. Also have at least 2 networked PCs to practice with.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (Wrox Professional Guides)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Kapil Sharma, Mohammed J. Kabir, Nathan Good, Tony Steidler-Dennison
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A Good Book On What To Do Next With Your RHEL 3 System

I can recommend this book for those, who have just installed Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (aka RHEL 3) and
are wondering what to do next with it; but have no significant Linux/Unix experience to fall back on.
For the more seasoned RHEL 3 SysAdmin, you'll probably want to thumb through it before deciding to buy it.
This book is notch or two above a starter book on RHEL 3. There are not that many books like this out
there, so for this reason alone it may be worth the purchase.

I read this book back in January 2005. Writing a review about it was easy. Why? Because the authors
repeatedly state throughout their book, what it is they are trying to cover in RHEL 3 and what they
are NOT going to cover. They do a very good job of sticking to their objectives.

The authors cover many of the services and applications which are commonly configured on RHEL 3. They
admit it is not a comprehensive coverage, nor is meant to be. {SysAdmins will have varied opinions on
what should and shouldn't be included in this book. SysAdmins having opinions is a given. :) }
The authors selections are as good as any. They are also trying to deal with keeping the book down to a
readable size, i.e., less than 700 pages. Many of the chapters and topics in this book, are already
separate books unto themselves.

Each chapter is a survey of one or more solutions/services/applications. The authors forewarn you,
these are not all the possible combinations of the same. The authors pick one example and work
through an implementation of it. The examples are a good mix of Command Line (CLI) and Graphic User
Interface (GUI). Most of the time further references, usually URLs are included in each chapter.

I personally liked chapters 4 - 6 on Storage Management, HA (Clustering) and Red Hat's WAF (Web
Application Framework). Storage Mgmt and HA/Clustering are of particular interest to me and the
Red Hat WAF stuff was new for me.

The authors covered NFS and automounting (autofs), but omitted NIS. {Remember SysAdmins' have
opinions.} Manually doing NFS mounts is fine, if you have just a few systems. Once you get over a
couple of dozen systems requiring NFS mounts, then automounting is the next logical step. Its also
equally common to do automounting in conjunction with NIS. Yes, I know NIS is going to be replaced
by LDAP and NIS+ is dead. But using NIS and NFS automounting together is still quite common and
will continue to be for some time. (Security-wise; NIS & NFS are only done inside the firewall.)
The authors also covered file sharing via Samba. But LDAP just got a skimpy couple of pages.
Authors' choice, I guess?

My other curious observations was their coverage of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Python, Perl, PHP...).
They covered LAMP pieces in the book and in the last chapter without actually using the word "LAMP".
One of the authors is involved with LAMP through his company. So why not use the word? To quote
John Madden, "What was that all about?". I just thought it a strange omission, considering...

Red Hat has just recently released RHEL 4. So how long will this book on RHEL 3 be relevant?
Probably at least through this year (2005) and longer and/or until someone writes the RHEL 4 version.
Note, there are still folks out there running RHEL 2.1.

My background is, I've been in IT for over 20 yrs as a IT Mgr, SysAdm, System Architect and System
Engineer. I worked with various flavors of Unix since 1985 and with Red Hat since version 3.0.3
back in 1996. My current Linux flavor of choice is Fedora Core 2 (soon to be 3).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Par excellence

I met the author recently at TechEd-Dallas and was stunned by his generousity.
First, he answered some questions I had about Notification Services and got me going down the right path. Because of his graciousness, we were able to get our new Notification Services application into production the very next week!
Second, he was kind enough to inscribe my copy of this book. Though weather-worn and war-torn, he was happy to sign it for me and wrote me some words of encouragement that I'll always treasure.
You see, I'd just left a horrid job situation and started a new job when I bought this book. I told Mr. Henderson about this, and he listened patiently as I explained how much his book had meant to me as I tried to get my feet under me quickly with MS SQL. I told him it felt like I had him right there with me helping me master the language. I told him that his book had proved more valuable to me than any other MS SQL book (in fact, *any* book, period) as I made this transition.
When he signed my book, he wrote that it made all the hard work and long nights worthwhile when he heard stories like mine and to keep my chin up because some employers just don't realize how lucky they are to have their best people, but that the best people tend to succeed anyway.
It was simply wonderful to find someone who not only knows the technology inside-out and writes an excellent book, but who also truly cares for his readers. For that I will always be thankful.
Mr. Henderson, you are the definition of "excellence." Please keep up the great work!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, Second Edition (All-in-One)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Shon Harris, Shon Harris
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good book -- almost a great book

I just took the CISSP exam after 3 weeks of study. My main source was the Advanced CISSP Prep Guide by Krutz and Vines, with about 4 or 5 days spent on Harris's All-in-One Exam Guide. Harris's exam guide is full of [bad]jokes, [bad] clip-art, and [bad] quotes... but it's still the better study guide. Harris sticks with the information you need to know to pass, and she does a great job of explaining the concepts. She includes a lot of information that Krutz & Vines left out, information that showed up on my actual test. Krutz & Vines, on the other hand, pack their book with information I did not need to know, meaning I spent hours studying superfluous information.The All-in-One Exam Guide does not contain everything you need to know for the test, though. I haven't seen any study guide that does. Be sure to consult a variety of study materials.