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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Resource Kit (Pro - Resource Kit)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Bill English
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Restores my Faith in Microsoft Resource Kits


I've been an IT professional since 1995, and over the years, the Micsrsoft Resource Kits have tended to be my bibles for the most in-depth, thorough information. But they've been slipping and slipping badly in recent years, and the seem to have less and less to say that isn't just as easy and user friendly to download off of MS.com. Well this book is a TRUE TREASURE. While there is a decent amount of okay Sharepoint information on MS.com, this is an in-depth, invaluable users manual for the real world that beautifully puts a ton of critical information in one place and with depth. It frames and organized everything I've been struggling with (and the list was pretty darned long) with an otherwise great product experience with SharePoint. It's back to the classic era of MS Resource Kits: if you are deploying and managing SharePoint, this kit is a MUST HAVE. Keep it up Microsoft--is there any way you can get the writers who did this book to create a similar effort for Windows 2003?



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Writing Effective Use Cases
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Alistair Cockburn
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good for Requirements Gathering; read 2 times to understand.


This book is filled with both information and examples on how to build use cases to do what they absolutely have to do -- communicate the requirements for software behavior to all involved stakeholders. While Cockburn is perhaps too quick in de-emphasizing most aspects of visual modeling, he is very correct in stating that the model is a small part of the story of the software to be. Happily, Cockburn does not focus much on elicitation techniques (as many other books of its ilk do); frankly, elicitation is probably mostly unteachable and certainly a manner of personal style. Instead, the author focuses on how to distill elicited information into written material that will actually move the project forward.
This book probably works very well for a novice. For the more experienced professional, it provides a wealth of ideas to return to. While there are a few bits (the cloud-kite-box indicator scheme comes to mind) that are probably not bound to make an appearance in the average analyst's repertoire, it is hard to imagine anyone dealing in problem domain engineering that wouldn't find considerable value here. Good books have been written on the subject, including ones by Armour and Miller, Kulak, and Conallen. While they might provide valuable context, the Cockburn manual easily stands on its own.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Inside C#, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: ANDREW WHITECHAPE TOM ARCHER
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not good


I read this book to get an in-depth, inside view of the inside workings of the C# language.
I didn't get that - I got introductory exercises followed by some unstructured detail, all interspersed with irrelevant opinion and off-topic rambling.
The word 'Inside' implies that the book would go into intimate detail about every aspect of the topic (have a look at 'Inside Windows NT' for example) and I feel that this book tried to go into that detail in some places, but not others.
I wouldn't recommend this book because:
1. Too high level; I'd question the inclusion of the 'introduction to Object Oriented programming' sections. The back cover quotes "in-depth architectural information". I don't agree with that.
2. A lot of inaccuracies; I question whether the author really knows the C++ language as his C++ code snippets are often wrong, which is unhelpful when you are migrating from C++ to C#.
3. Many omissions or lack of detail - like controlling Disposable objects' lifetime through the 'using' keyword (an important feature); 'override', 'abstract', 'volatile', 'ref', 'stackalloc' and 'base' keywords.
4. Too much white space, and I found the code samples to be poorly presented - repeating entire files of code just to show a single line changed is a waste of trees.
There are many other books on the subject that are better than this one.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: CMP Books
Authors: Trish Meyer, Chris Meyer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Pedagogy and Solid Support


This is a wonderful sork for anyone who uses or is learning to use After Effects. It is direct, clear, wonderfully well organized, never condescending, and very effective. If you need a reference for AE and/or are honing your skills on it, this is the book you need.