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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MCSE SQL 2000 Administration Exam Cram (Exam: 70-228)
Publisher: Coriolis Group Books
Authors: Kalani Kirk Hausman
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Does NOT cover material pertinent to SQL Admin Exam

Throughout the whole book the author consistently refers to the MODAL database. It should obviously be the MODEL database. In Chapter 3, the capabilities of the various versions of SQL Server are wrong. In Chapter 4 they list the installation paths of SQL Server. It is virtually identical for the default instance, named instances, and various other installations. It would have been much more instructive to list the basic path ONCE and list where it deviated for the various install flavors. But, they felt it necessary to list out the same things over and over and over and over. In Chapter 9 they list the sytax of most of the DBCC commands with little to no explaination--what is the point of listing the syntax ONLY and NEVER highlighting the more important options? This is supposed to be Exam Cram...not Exam Filler!
In short, this book gives you a PARTIAL overview of the various elements in SQL Server 2000 administration--but I could have gotten that from the Books on line table of contents MORE easily. So many things that the book did NOT cover were on the exam--SQL Server can do C2 auditing, but it can be very slow. So many things that the book did cover were NOT on the exam--MS is NEVER going to ask you a question like: how many processors can SQL Server 2000 enterprise edition use on NT 4?
My advice: Use the books online and use Wrox's Programming SQL Server 2000. Do not use this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
not the best

Though this book has all the monsters it can be confusing at some points. It also has many mistakes at certain important points in the game that can confuse someone.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning PHP 5 and MySQL: From Novice to Professional
Publisher: Apress
Authors: W. J. Gilmore
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
5+ stars for PHP sections, 4 for MySQL section

I am always skeptical when a book claims to be able to take someone from novice level to professional or even to serve the needs of both the novice and professional. If it is written for the novice then it is too basic for the professional. If it is written for the professional then it is too technical for the novice. "Beginning PHP 5 and MySQL: From Novice to Professional" is one of the very few books that lives up to its claim.

It is written in a highly readable style and organized in such a way that the professional can easily skip over the basic stuff and get right to what they need. Yet the novice can work through the book and soon become quite proficient. Areas covered in the PHP section of the book include installing and configuring PHP5, using variables, flow control, arrays, advanced OOP, error handling, expressions, forms, authentication, networking, and LDAP. Areas covered in the MySQL section include installation and configuration, table structures, and database queries.

For such a large book it contains almost no filler information. Every page contains useful information, the examples are appropriate and detailed, and descriptions are clear and useful. Author W. Jason Gilmore has a rare and wonderful talent for taking the complex and describing it in a simple, easy to understand manner so that anyone at any level can understand how to do it.

"Beginning PHP 5 and MySQL: From Novice to Professional" is a book you will want to have if you currently work with PHP or plan to in the near future. It is not only highly recommended but is the best book I've seen on PHP and I will be clearing some space off my book shelf for it since it easily replaces three or four of my favorite ones. I will have to note that the section on MySQL does not cover that subject anywhere nearly as well as the book covers PHP. Buy the book, read it, and keep it for the PHP section. For MySQL try "The Definitive Guide to MySQL, Second Edition" also from Apress.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Visual C++ 6
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Ivor Horton
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
It does what it set out to do!

This is a great book for quickly getting up to speed in writing Windows programs with Visual C++. It is not, nor does it claim to be, a complete tutorial on C++, MFC or writing any particuclar type of program. It will not teach you how to write games or databases. This is a book for beginners.
If you have the time, you could read through two seperate books, C++ Primer Plus (4th Edition) by Stephen Prata and Programming Windows With MFC by Jeff Prosise. Prata's book does not cover MFC (after all you could have a career writing C++ programs and never write anything for windows) and Prosise's book assumes you have a good working knowledge of C++.
All in all, I recommend Horton's Beginning Visual C++.