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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Protocols (TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: W. Richard Stevens
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Comprehensive but dated, plus code wouldn't compile

The covereage is comprehensive and in great detail, the organization of the material flows in a logical manner. Stevens needs to put out a new edition soon to reflect recent enhancements to the protocols (notably IPv6 and upgrades to TCP like larger window sizes (RFC 1323) which are quickly glossed over in this edtion). Also, it's kind of aggravating that none of the code would compile on my system even though Stevens supposedly tested it in my environment. And even if I could have compiled the code, I would still need superuser priveleges to run traceroute and the other programs - it would be nice to provide utilities that an average user could run. If you can get past these nits, this book really is an excellent reference on TCP/IP and applications. Another excellent book which I recommend highly is "Networking UNIX" by Douba for a more top level approach to this material.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop--From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Neil Gershenfeld
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Important Vision Mixed with Haphazard Hype

This book brings welcome attention to the neglected field of personal, general-purpose manufacturing. He argues that the technology is at roughly the stage that computing was when minicomputers were the leading edge, is good enough to tell us something about how full-fledged assemblers as envisioned by Drexler will be used, and that the main obstacle to people using it to build what they want is ignorance of what can be accomplished.
The book presents interesting examples of people building things that most would assume were beyond their ability. But he does not do a good job of explaining what can and can't be accomplished. Too much of the book sounds like a fund-raising appeal for a charity, describing a needy person who was helped rather than focusing on the technology or design process. He is rather thoughtless about choosing what technical details to provide, giving examples of assembly language (something widely known, and hard enough to use that most of his target users will be deterred from making designs which need it), but when he describes novel ideas such as "printing" a kit that can be assembled into a house he is too cryptic for me to guess whether that method would improve on standard methods.
I've tried thinking of things I might want to build, and I'm usually no closer to guessing whether it's feasible than before I read the book. For example, it would be nice if I could make a prototype of a seastead several feet in diameter, but none of the examples the book gives appear to involve methods which could make sturdy cylinders or hemispheres that large.
The index leaves much to be desired - minicomputers are indexed under computers, and open source is indexed under software, when I expected to find them under m and o.
And despite the lip service he pays to open source software, the CAM software he wrote comes with a vague license that doesn't meet the standard definition of open source.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good beginner's book and reference

At work, I was tasked to create webpages for training purposes. Going by friends' recommendations, I got a copy of this book and started to the task with no prior HTML experience. Granted, I am no pro, but this book made the whole process of learning easy. I can find what I need to do and see a picture of what I want to do with text letting me know how to make it like the picture. I have received compliments on my pages at work. This is definitely a book to keep within arm's reach at your desk.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Perl (3rd Edition)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, Jon Orwant
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent reference but sometimes lacking

This is my preferred reference for Perl but sometimes it can behard to find what I'm looking for. The examples are good but notalways complete. At least it is written with some humor andpersonality....