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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself ASP.NET in 21 Days (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Chris Payne
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Flawed but somewhat useful book

Chris Payne seems to know what he's talking about with ASP.NET development. Not knowing his audience is the major flaw. Is this book aimed at professional developers with lots of experience or beginning developers trying to learn ASP.NET?
If I were to answer this questions as a reader, I'd say that it doesn't help either kind of developer very much. The book seems to lack focus and consistency with regard to its target audience.
As an example, how is a beginning reader going to feel when he has all the essentials of VB.NET, C#, and all the object orientation and server objects dumped on him in two chapters (days 3 and 4)? How about Day 6 in which user controls and custom controls are dumped on the reader without adequate explanation and Chris keeps saying things like "this code is standard" (p. 197) while avoiding writing any useful or jargon-free explanation?
On the other hand, this book isn't appropriate to an experienced developer either. Lots of items will be boring to an experienced developer. There is often lack of detail or theoretical explanation. Then there are standard things that will bore the experienced developer. Here's the standard, simplified explanation of objects again. There's the explanation of loops and if statements to skim over. The "Hello World" example in Day 6 that makes things complicated, yet uninteresting seems especially inappropriate.
Visual Studio.NET is barely mentioned, although I suspect most ASP.NET devopers will be using it. Many practical issues (deployment, caching, etc.) just get ignored or glossed over, also.
In the end I found this book frustrating since it doesn't serve either a beginning or an intermediate/advanced developer very well. If you're serious about learning ASP.NET you can learn it from this book, but the author hasn't done the work for the reader to make it well-paced, easier, or more enjoyable. You'll feel like you're pushing through sludge as you work through this book.
It does present the material it claims to, but you get the feeling that this book was written quickly, with little sympathy for the reader, and no time for revisions. It's a loss for the reader that it was written this way since the author seems to know his stuff. Now if he could only explain it a little better.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Only a Multimedia Presentation would be better!

"The Code Book" is worth your time reading. I learned a lot about cryptology while being interested in the readings the whole time. Each one of the book examples builds from the experience you gain from the prior one which slowly turned me into someone who knew that it was nice to have security to someone who understands from experience why we need encryption for security during the information age. You can always tell when a book is good or not because this is one book that I am keeping to refer back to. It is a book that I will recommend to all my friends. The ideas are fresh and the fabulous ending was talking about the future of cryptology and cryptanalysis. Being a Futurist, I am always reminded to use the word "impossible' with the greatest of caution since there are many believers that the impossible is only that way for those who are limiting themselves. The book is for everyone who wants information about an interestingly presented subject of security. It is especially good for innovators to read the book since there is several challenges in the book that offer monetary and intellectual satisfaction. I highly value my time and read many reviews on "The Code Book" before I decided to purchase it. This book contains valuable information. It was a good investment of my time. Once I started reading the book, I couldn't put it down till I was finished. If I were a communications teacher, this book would be a lesson I would not want to be without. Thank-you Simon Singh for writing something so fascinating!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C++ Primer (4th Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Stanley B. Lippman, Josée Lajoie, Barbara E. Moo
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Unfortunately, the best single C++ book

The 1st edition of this book (and 2nd, which was merely a corrected 1st edition) was a marvel of efficiency. In 600 pages, it relayed a remarkably complete, clear picture of the C++ language an effective C++ idioms. C++ has changed and significantly expanded since 1991 (templates, anyone?), and the _C++ Primer_ hasn't kept pace. This edition has ballooned to 1237 much more dense pages.
Despite this, it *is* still the best single C++ book for me. It is usable as a primer on C++ (if the reader has programmed before, and with careful reading). If you're new to programming, don't start with C++. If you're convinced you want to do so, find an easier book (maybe the author's _Essential C++_, though I haven't used that book myself), and realize that C++ is a big, complicated language that was built by committee and so takes the 'everything and the kitchen sink' approach. Good languages often seem quite natural to use because they are structured for that style of usage. C++, and particularly ANSI C++, is structured to be the maximally versatile Swiss Army Knife of languages, and so its structure is never particularly elegant for any of its uses.
Sadly, neither is this book which given its depth and 1998 copyright should cover the Standard Template Library (STL) in mind-crushing detail.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Project 2000 Step by Step
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Carl S. Chatfield, Timothy D. Johnson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Well Written Book

I read this book page-by-page and enjoy it. The practice files help me learn to use MS Project 2000 very clearly. The book clarifies many project management concepts for me. This book is a great resource for anyone who is learning or practicing project management.