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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Planning Using Primavera SureTrak Project Manager Version 3.0
Publisher: Eastwood Harris
Authors: Paul E. Harris
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Fast start to using the power of SureTrak

Although SureTrak Project Manager 3.0 ships with adequate documentation and the program is intuitive, there are three good reasons to buy this book:
1. The product documentation covers every feature - the information about planning and managing projects using this powerful tool is scattered throughout, making it difficult to tap into SureTrak's power without wading through an overwhelming amount of nice-to-know, but non-essential detail.
2. Although anyone who has used Microsoft's ubiquitous MS Project will have no problem getting started with SureTrak, they will miss the true project management features of SureTrak that are not present (or don't correctly work) in MS Project. This book identifies those features and shows how to use them effectively.
3. The author goes beyond merely describing how to use SureTrak by showing you how to use effective project management techniques, many of which take years of managing projects to discover.
The book is structured as a series of 20 lessons (called workshops) that are designed to step you through setting up a project, and planning and scheduling it. If you follow them in sequence you will be able to not only set up a project using SureTrak's rich feature set, but will also pick up general project management techniques along the way. An example of one such technique is how the author classifies projects into four levels for planning and controlling. These levels are based on project complexity, with Level 1 being the simplest and suitable for short projects, to Level 4 for complex, high-value projects. You are given the planning and tracking criteria for each project type, which allows you to tailor your approach as well as ensure that you don't over-manage simple projects or under-manage the complex ones.
You are also shown how to use the more powerful features, such as the many project views (work breakdown structure, activity or resource), managing the sophisticated calendaring functions, and effectively using the resource profiles and reporting features. I particularly like the way earned value is treated. The author shows how to use SureTrak's facilities for managing to earned value, as well as explaining this essential technique (which, by the way, is now a part of the Project Management Institute's PMBOK 2000 version). Another bonus is the way scheduling is explained by walking through adding logic to activities. You'll not only be shown how to perform this task, but given reasons why you should use one approach from among four possibilities to establish relationships. In this example the choices are start-to-start, finish-to-start, start-to-finish and finish-to-finish.
This book is clear, concise and heavily illustrated with screenshots from SureTrak. The tutorial style and the way the lessons are sequenced will get you quickly up-to-speed with SureTrak and give you the knowledge and skills necessary to employ it with minimum reference to the manuals that come with the software.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: WebLogic: The Definitive Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jon Mountjoy
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Fantastic resource for J2EE developers

This is a must-have book for J2EE engineers. Chapter five, on JDBC, is thorough and excellent. The JMS chapter, number eight, is very in-depth and worth the price of admission. Chapter twelve, on deployment, has fine coverage of both the theory and the execution of web application deployment. Chapters thirteen and fourteen on domain management and cluster are fantastic. Chapter seventeen on security is also great.
That's the good news. The book isn't perfect. Some chapters are way too brief. For example the chapter on transactions is just an overview. And the chapter on XML is completely superfluous.
Negatives aside, this is a great book. The chapters on JDBC, EJB, Deployment, and Clustering are worth the price alone.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Secrets and Lies : Digital Security in a Networked World
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Understandably paranoid

After having worked with many people in the security "industry", and having been a conscious programmer for many years, this book is a wonderful book to explain all of the pieces of security that you learn only after *doing* if for so long.
While it may be light on technical detail, the author does a wonderful job at taking what most people consider "magical" (and foreign) topics concerning computer security, and gives them life and meaning that's relevant in our increasingly computerized lives.
A good book for anyone interested in exactly why, for example, Windows NT's security really is quite laughable. Don't look for a breakdown of protocols tho.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Rational Guide to Building SharePoint Web Parts (Rational Guides)
Publisher: Rational Press
Authors: Darrin Bishop
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Another Fine Rational Guide Book

"Building SharePoint Web Parts" will not make you an expert web portal developer. But it will give the experienced ASP.NET professional a digestible take into WSS, SPS and web parts.

FYI, Bishop does not explain setting up the required environment. That may prove a bit challenging for the true beginner.

One last thing, ASP.NET 2.0 incorporates a "web part" technology. This book may ease learning pains.