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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Firefox and Thunderbird Garage (The Garage Series)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Chris Hofmann, Marcia Knous, John Hedtke
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A useful book for anyone who uses Firefox

This is a well-written book that covers both the Firefox browser and the related Thunderbird email software. The writing is engaging and clear, there are loads of tips and pointers, and every time I open the book, I learn something new. Be warned, though, that in addition to being tremendously useful, the authors throw in a few "blog" chapters of useful, fun or entertaining web sites. I just lost an hour of my day poking around in some of the sites, including www.heavens-above.com and www.lileks.com. It's a great book and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java (tm) Certification
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid A. Mughal, Rolf W. Rasmussen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent for the java2 exam

A very good, detailed study guide. I felt the book was a bit dry, though. But as the preface states, the purpose of the book is not to teach the programming techniques.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent
Publisher: Syngress
Authors: FX, Paul Craig, Joe Grand, Tim Mullen, Fyodor, Ryan Russell, Jay Beale
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Plausible, informative, and disturbing -- a great read

'Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent' (STN:HTOAC) is a detailed look at the capabilities a structured threat could apply to the world's vulnerable digital infrastructures. Rather than hire a Beltway Bandit, I recommend those planning the digital defense of this nation read HTOAC. This book is more creative, comprehensive, and plausible than what most 'infowar' think-tanks could produce.

HTOAC is second in the STN series, which is developing into an entertaining and effective way to train security professionals. I was a little worried that such a large team of authors would not be able to create a cohesive book. It's easier to assemble the series of vignettes in the original 'Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box' than it is to tie together stories by a dozen authors. While the editing is rough is some places, the storyline explained each individual's part in the caper fairly well. Although the end of the book hints at a certain conclusion, I would have enjoyed a more definitive epilogue, perhaps written from the law enforcement perspective.

The strength of HTOAC derives from the expertise of its authors. I've never seen anything in print quite like Joe Grand's chapter on switch hacking. Ryan Russell's description of Knuth's bunker buildout would put the Discovery Channel's 'Monster House' to shame. The attention paid to leveraging unauthorized physical and wireless attacks also seemed very realistic.

I have no major concerns with HTOAC, but I don't think it was necessary to print a log of emails exchanged during the book development process. The text held its own at 345 pages, so 50 pages of email add no real value. I also question the need for authors to write 5-star 'reviews' of their own books. Authors write books, and readers write reviews.

I look forward to the next book in the STN series. Syngress is doing an excellent job bringing nonstandard security topics to light by tapping niche talents. Everyone will look at their defensive posture differently after reading HTOAC; this is the authors' greatest gift to the security community.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java(tm)2: A Beginner's Guide
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Herbert Schildt, Herbert Schildt
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Must for serious beginner who has no programming

This is an excellent book for beginning programmers who want to learn Java. The author does a great job of introducing programming concepts in an easily digestable manner. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn object oriented programming with java.