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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out, Second Edition (Inside Out)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Ed Bott, Carl Siechert, Craig Stinson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Not just an overview of the XP operating system

Highly recommended for those who like to know the details presented in an interesting manner. This book not only explains all of the settings and lesser known ways (beyond the sometimes limited GUI) of changing the XP configuration, but lets you know potential drawbacks of some configuration choices.
If a book is interesting and has valuable information, I read it slowly, highlight text and look forward to coming back after putting it down. This book will take a looong time to read.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: eBay for Dummies, Fourth Edition
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Marsha Collier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Buy Only if You Want Success selling and buying on eBay!

I heard about this book and decided to give it a try. As a sixty eight year old woman just learning the ramifications of selling and buying on eBay, it has certainly proved itself. My knowlege and income have definitely increased since using this excellent teaching tool. My suggestion to one of the anonymous negative reviewers would be, perhaps you should consult a dictionary to learn the correct spelling of "tying", instead of wasting time insulting people who might need this research.
My thank you to the authors for helping me to develop my skills.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Java(TM) Programming Language (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Arnold, James Gosling, David Holmes
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Language creators are not always the best teachers

In an earlier review, I recommended this as a reference, and suggested using the Core Java books as a tutorial.
I would like to expand on that earlier review now. I got my feet wet and did a lot of Java coding with what I picked up from the other books, and now I find myself with a free week or so to learn more about Java, and much to my surprise I discover that this book is probably one of the best self-instruction books I have ever seen.
I would single out the exercises as excellently conceived. My first reaction was "Oh, those exercises are childishly easy." Wrong! Work your way through this book slowly and carefully, and do all the exercises, and you will learn just about everything there is to know about Java (the language, not Java the libraries and the zillion APIs). A particular excellence of the exercises is that the instructions are very short, but frequently following these instructions turns up unexpected complications which just further reinforce the reading matter in the text.
This may be the best programming book ever written.
Highly recommended!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HP-UX 11i Systems Administration Handbook and Toolkit, Second Edition
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Marty Poniatowski
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
too little for the money

There are dozens of good UNIX administration books; this is the only one that covers comprehensively the feature set of HP/UX 11i. For that reason, you should definitely pick it up if you have HP UNIX machines to manage. It covers specific HP stuff well: SAM, the boot process, the backup utilities, virtual partitions, etc. The information is accurate and the overall style is easy to read. I think it's the most complete books on a given operating system I can think of: most authors/publishers would have divided the information here into at least two or three books: one for the basic UNIX stuff, one for regular HP sysadmin, and one for advanced features found in high-end HP servers. This book has all three.
It does fall down on occasion in terms of its editing. Overall, I tend not to trust the editing quality of books published by the company that produces the software (they don't exercise the editorial scrutiny because they want more books about their products), and this book is no exception. Sometimes, it strangely talks about things that aren't HP/UX, for instance, the section on CDE contains a lot of superfluous information (like what Sun puts in what drawer on the front panel) and the section on Samba is a weird mix of discussion of Samba on HPUX and on Linux. I can only imagine those sections were slapped in there from other papers without tailoring them for this book. There are some other annoying things that a good editor could have taken care of, for instance, repetition in between sections of the same chapter and screenshots/console dumps that have confusing information in them. One boot screenshot shows leftover console garbage that should have been removed, for instance. There are also occasional omissions, like any mention of using LDAP services, but all the basics are covered. There are some nice additions, too, such as information on setting up PRM and a nice tear-out card with hardware commands.
I still give this book a 4/5, because none of its flaws prevent it from being very useful and informative. If a good technical editor put it under the knife, it would definitely deserve the status of best HPUX-specific book. Right now it holds that position, but mostly due to the lack of titles out there that concentrate on HP UNIX.