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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Cisco CallManager Best Practices: A Cisco AVVID Solution
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Salvatore Collora, Anne Smith, Ed Leonhardt, Anne Smith, Ed Leonhardt Salvatore Collora
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
How to get the most out of CallManager

Telephones used to be so simple. You called Ma Bell, explained a few things like number of individual telephones, you waited a while, then the equipment showed up and you started writing a check each month. Data transmission was at best a secondary requirement (maybe not even that high). Not so anymore.

Today you buy bandwidth and it's pretty much up to you to decide what to do with it. Cisco has been in the absolute forefront of handling bandwidth, and with their Call Manager system is in the forefront of IP Telephony.

Note that the title of this book says it is about best practices. The book is based on the questions that customers asked (the authors are all Cisco employees who talk to customers) about the CallManager system. It is intended for the voice and data networking professionals who either have CallManager installed or are considering installing it.

The idea is to go beyond what the manuals say, to enable you to use the equipment in ways that make it more functional for your particular installation.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional Software Development: Shorter Schedules, Higher Quality Products, More Successful Projects, Enhanced Careers
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Steve McConnell
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Heavy on opinion, light on content

The assessment of engineering, especially around how many people will be certified, leave nothing to argue with, though they're so forward-looking as to be somewhat irrelevant to a developer today. More interesting are his statements about running projects and professional development -- his company has the most compelling reward structure I've ever seen, and far outshadow's MSFT's baroque system.
Unfortunately, the lack of *any* mention of Agile methodologies made this book look like either the author has been in Tahiti for the last few years or is trying to subtly discount them. Either way, you read it and say, "yes, this is exactly what Lean addresses; so what's your point?". It was also a little short on concrete recommendations, and comes off more as a position statement on where he'd like software development to be N years from now.
I'm glad that I read it because I generally like McConnell's writing and like to hear different opinions on certification of software developers, but I can't say that I'd suggest anyone else bother.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: 3D Game Engine Design : A Practical Approach to Real-Time Computer Graphics
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: David H. Eberly
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
An advanced book for those with the time and the math skills

If you have lots of time and are comfortable with lots of math notation then this book will reward you with advanced information you can't get anywhere else. I was frustrated with this book because I bought it while working on a project with a tight schedule and I didn't have the time that it required to follow the rigorous derivations. I wanted a "Gems" book that could help me right away with the tasks I had. But now that I have more time I am much happier with the book.
I have been warned that the code in the book contains many bugs but I cannot yet verify that myself.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential System Administration, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Æleen Frisch
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent, but sometimes awkward, tutorial and reference.

This book was a real life saver for me. I was a new SysAdmin, right out of school. This book's clear and concise instruction allowed me to move forward when the online documentation had me stumped. Kudos to the author.