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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Windows Forms Programming in C#
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Chris Sells
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A MUST READ for any serious C# developer

I am a long time windows developer going back to version 2.03 and plain old C. This book is simply packed with insight and clearly explained, well articulated Know-how!! It is not, like so many others are, a refactoring of the documentation. The author, Chris Sells, gives you his direct understanding of WinForms and C#. If you are just learning Win Forms, I believe strongly that you are far better served with this book than you would be with something like Petzold's. As much as I owe to Petzold's teachings over the years, I sure wish books like this had existed when I was learning Windows. If you are a journeyman, hardcore developer as I suppose I am, you will appreciate Chris's insights and delivery style even more than the novice. All of the books in this series are at the top of the field and this effort is certainly no exception. I think you will learn far faster, and have much more fun with this text!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: OCP: Oracle9i Certification Kit
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Chip Dawes, Biju Thomas, Doug Stuns, Matthew Weishan, Joseph C. Johnson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Considerations if you choose this set as your source for OCA

Well, I may say that I give my scoring based on the average of scoring for only two books of the set, and this is because I have had both the tests and succeeded with them, while I have not started with the others, so I'm simply going to ignore them for this review:
1) Introduction to Oracle 9i SQL (Rate *****): {Passing score 39/57}--------------------------------------------------------------------------------This book is briliant indeed, but .. it is not easy for begginers to start with, and one of the very simple reasons, while it starts by talking about something (INSERT statement for example), you discover examples of things has not been exaplained yet (INSERT AS SELECT)!
But in general, this is a GREAT book to be prepared, and confident for the test; it helped me pass the test by 52/57.
2) Oracle 9i Database Fundamentals (Rate ***): {Passing score 44/60}----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Unfortunately, even if the book claims to cover ALL the Oracle objectives, surprisingly you see things in the exam, which are not covered well!
I failed my first exam, and scored 43/60 (no comment!). I was disappointed, because I faced about 8 questions I really did not have any idea about answering them, and the other multiple choice questions (3 of 6 and 4 of 6 for example), I knew some, and was unable to determine the last choice, because of the poor coverage of some areas!
Having failed my exam, I decided to study from the online books of OTN (Oracle Technology Network), and during my study I came to the answers of those 8 questions! and had the test again, and passed with a score of 56/60!
To mention some of the weaknesses of this book:
1) Poor coverage of Globalization Support, and if you want my advice, please do not study Globalization support from this book, or kiss you Globalization questions goodbye!2) Weak or missing explanation of the following areas: - Tablespaces, especially in the areas of the Temporary and Undo, Locally and Dictionary managed tablespaces. - Redo Log files, and checkpoint not complete problems.
All this does not mean this is a bad book, but .. do not depend just on it to pass the exam, try to find another source of information beside this book, so you do not fail!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: A. Anthony Bruno, Anthony Bruno
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Not Enough Detail for New CCIE R&S Exam

Unlike the other Cisco Press guide books, this exam guide has no where near the level of detail you need to pass the new CCIE R&S Exam. Recommend using the Exam Blue print at the Cisco web site and the recommended reading list (but not this book). My recommended "must KNOW to pass" reading list: Recommend Routing TCP/IP Vol 1&2, Cisco LAN Switching (CCIE Series), IP Quality of Service, and CCIE practical studies, Vol 1. These books will get you started on way to CCIE certification.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Managed DirectX 9 Kick Start : Graphics and Game Programming
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Tom Miller
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

CONCISE is one of the two words that come to mind, and naturally, KNOWLEDGEABLE is the other. The only flaw I can find is about some lack of "overview" of the process that may result from the "discovery" approach the author uses, but that, we can live with it... only if the index was not itself also too "concise". That depreciates the book "as reference" a little bit (but anyhow, the help file should be the ultimate reference).
For the very good points of the book, the book does not stay evasive and superficial, it travels over all the main various points that DirectX can deliver, in a refreshing way... with illustration of common "problem" while you proceed, which can be very useful futher on when you are alone and confronted to the same "problem pattern": hey, all my stuff is black... oh, yes, in chapter one Tom Miller also got that problem at some point... etc. And the book proceed fast, very fast. A standard book covering the same matter would probably be in three large tomes, but the style of the author delivers the juice within far less pages. That is not neccessary to say the reader can walk through all the stuff in much less time, on the other hand, since you can't read absent mindly any paragraph. Another great stuff is that the author SHARES his experience, that is something I really appreciate, since you also acquire a sense of do and avoid, much more than the traditionnal approach of doing a program, one way (without seeing the "wrong ways" you can soon or later fall upon). Sure, the code does not seem to be always optimized for execution, but that is probably wanted for a better illustrattion of concepts (simplicity over optimization).
I don't know if previous knowledge of DirectX or C# is required, I got, and I really enjoy the book... maybe I would be a little bit more zombie-like, mind "overloaded" with too much new stuff (without time to "plac" and to catalog the acquired knowledge in a very short time), but I also got some other books on DirectX, and this one is among the best I have put my hand on. It may not go as deep as a dedicated book on ONE specific piece of DIrectX, but don't judge negatively the relatively small number of pages in the book!
Note that the book is about DirectX, not, primary, about game programming.