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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Authors: Katie Hafner
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Enthralling History of the Internet's Origin

This book gives you the complete story behind the conception and birth of the internet. The story focuses on the work done by BBN to pioneer and develop all of the protocols and designs that are the internet. The book does a good job of laying the foundation of where the state of computing was when these initial developments were being made and what outside social and economic trends effected and encouraged the internet's development. The authors do a very good job of focusing on the personalities, anecdotes and larger issues without getting bogged down in minutiae. At 265 pages, the book is packed and makes for a very quick read. The writing style of Ms. Hafner and Mr. Lyon is outstanding, which greatly increases the quality of the book.
There are some very interesting aspects of the development that are related. I was very interested in the origins of BBN, their background in acoustics, and the zeal with which they pursued the original DARPA contract. Of equal interest was the method in which the teams were managed, and the way that the development was not pursued with large teams and brute force, but rather with smaller teams that were headed by the best possible people and given all of the resources that they needed. The creation of the internet is an awe-inspiring event, and the text offers several subtle management lessons that are too important to be overlooked. The book also does a splendid job of showing some of the theory that was used in the development of the necessary software and how the developers did such a good job of bridging theory and practical engineering development. In this light the book does a much better job discussing theory than two other recent books on the history of the Computer, "Engines of the Mind" by Shurkin and "Computer" by Campbell-Kelly and Aspray. These are just some of the interesting stories told, the whole text is packed cover to cover with similar stories.
I highly recommend this book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Wireless Communications: Principles and Practice (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Theodore S. Rappaport, Theodore Rappaport
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Pretty light

A must-have for a beginner in the field of Wireless Communications. The author covers a wide range of topics starting from basic Cellular System engineering to topics like mobile channel characterization, fading and diversity, channel coding, modulation etc.. The book also provides a very good introduction to First and Second generation Mobile communication standards. The authors style is very good and easy to understand. A lot of unnecessary math is avoided and very good overview is presented.
But the thing I liked the most in this book is the exercise problems at the end of each chapter and the references. Working out the problems in the end will help a lot in gaining a deeper insight into the concepts explained in the book.
Overall.. this book certainly deserves 5 *'s !

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Invaluable for a beginner

This accessible and practical book can make a Non-Programmer into a Proud CGI Guru, given that the beginner understands some basic logical structures, and is willing to meet the authors halfway.
PROBLEM 1: The book assumes a fairly extensive Unix background, so doesn't always explain itself where that's concerned. SOLUTION: Just ignore the bits that don't apply to you and keep going.
PROBLEM 2: The first chapter can be intimidating. SOLUTION: Understand it to be an overview: "Here's what you can do with perl." Run its programs to see how they work, experiment with them, but don't freak out if you don't understand them completely. Alternately, just skip on to Chapter 2.
We enjoyed Learning Perl, and found it a good beginner's book for this language or for programming in general. The touches of humor could be annoying to some, but we thought they added readability and interest.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MCSA/MCSE Managing and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Environment Exam Cram 2 (Exam Cram 70-290)
Publisher: Que
Authors: Dan Balter, Ed Tittel
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Dont expect to pass with this book...

Well i must say I felt inclined to write and say how disappointed I am with the new exam cram series. This book is terrible. I have been using exam crams for years now (at least when they were printed by Coriolis) and they have always been great. I got my first MCSE with them as well as my CCEA. You will not pass this exam with this guide. I took the exam without studying and failed (dumb idea). Anyway this book does not cover things that I saw on the exam itself. I wont say much here so I dont break my confidentiallity agreement with MS but this book doesnt cover things like scripting and OU design and where is the GPO stuff? Instead it is a beginner guide to Windows 2003 which is not what the exam is. An example of this is on page 348 and I quote: "Catastrophies such as fire, theft, acts of nature, or acts of violence can completely destroy an entire data center..." This is the kind of crap I expect to see in a beginner guide to Windows 2003. It's important to cover the disaster recovery parts that are relevant to the exam but this is the kind of crap you get instead. Exam cram used to be the nitty gritty of what you need to know for the exam but this book is loaded with crap that is completely irrelavant. How can you call it a cram guide when it has 542 pages? Again, I am very disappointed and will be searching for an alternative.