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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: SIP: Understanding the Session Initiation Protocol, Second Edition
Publisher: Artech House Publishers
Authors: Alan Johnston
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Just an introduction to the SIP RFC

I've read and reviewed a great deal of technical literature, and found Dr. Johnston's book to be a detailed and well-written introduction to an extremely complex protocol. Without over-simplifying, Dr. Johnston, manages to convey a great deal of information in a style of writing that is lively and engaging (and that's a real breath of fresh air, compared to similar books on the topic). I plan to put this on the required reading list for my next class on the subject.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (4th Edition)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Tom Negrino, Dori Smith
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Peachpit Press Made a Mistake with This One

I'm a big fan of Peachpit Press's Visual Quickstart Guides -- in fact, when people ask me for advice on learning to make web pages, I don't hesitate to recommend Elizabeth Castro's HTML for the World Wide Web. However, the 3rd edition of this book is a huge disappointment and truly did nothing to help me understand JavaScript and how it works. It really doesn't even have many good or original scripts in it!
Interestingly enough, I had an earlier edition of this book (I can't remember whether it was the 1st or 2nd edition) which, although written by different authors, was equally unhelpful.
I've gotten far more out of Joe Burns' online JavaScript tutorials at Earthweb.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XML Bible (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Elliotte Rusty Harold
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Not so much a Bible as a Book of Genesis

I'm going to start out by saying I'm glad I bought this book. It's a good introduction to XML. The early chapters on XML and DTDs are very good. They got me up to speed quickly so I could explain to my managers why our company should pursue XML and what the benefits will be.
The chapters on CSS-1 and CSS-2 were excellent and very useful even for writing regular HTML. Overall, the first 13 chapters were just what I needed.
Coverage of XSL was weaker and, in many respects, inadequate. The book never really discusses XPaths in enough detail. I thought the chapter on namespaces was too late in the book. The book is fleshed out with exceptionally long examples that added little value past the first few lines.
The chapter on reading a DTD (chapter 20) was a good idea, poorly executed. The complexity of the DTD selected by the author was totally inappropriate for the level of this book, even if the DTD was extremely well written.
The author never covers schema construction, and only briefly mentions them at all. Given their superiority over DTDs, this was a glaring error.
I was also disappointed by the lack of instruction on how to move XML across the Internet between applications. XML that never leaves the system it was constructed on is of little value.
Many of these problems are caused by the age of the book. It's over a year old now which, in XML terms, makes it yesterdays news. Now that this book has got me excited about XML, I'm off to find some more.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces Are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth
Publisher: Crown Business
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Enhanced perspective.

This book is at least as important as John Nesbitt's "Megatrends" was in the 1980's. If one gains nothing more than the enhanced perspective of our future, it will be well worth the time spent reading. The style of writing is unique and the information crammed into the book will warrant reading it for a second or third time. "Forewarned is forearmed."