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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Essential Guide to Telecommunications (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Annabel Z. Dodd
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
very good introduction, but nothing more

This book will help you get a general idea what is going on in the telecommunications industry, but don't expect anything more. If you are new to this field, then this book is for you, otherwise look for something more technical.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Win32 System Programming: A Windows(R) 2000 Application Developer's Guide (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Johnson M. Hart
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Just about everything I wanted to know...

This book pretty much covers everything I needed to know about Win32 system programming. It has very good coverage of topics like threading, file handling, Memory Management, Interprocess communication, network programming, and asynchronous I/O with completion ports. Ever wonder how to share memory or access really, really huge files? Want to learn how to build more scalable servers? This book covers all that and more. I recently took a new job that uses all of this stuff and I was relieved to find a book that covered it all so well.
He gives a very good generalized view of the windows programming philosophy and explains some common windows types and their uses, which helps in understanding the rest of the API. There are plenty of programming examples and he often compares Win32 programming techniques to UNIX programming techniques giving references to the Stevens book which will help put things in context for UNIX programmers.
For client side programming you can get by with Petzold but for server side this book is a must. If you do system development on Win32 then this book is your weapon.

Product: Book -
Title: eBay Secrets : How to create Internet auction listings that make 30% more money while selling every item you list
Authors: Steven Ellis White, Bryon Krug
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This book is extremely helpful!

This book is a no BS guide to ebay. It's not for beginners, and assumes general knowledge of ebay. However, it is extremely helpful. None of my items I was selling were getting many bids, and so they werent selling very high. As it turns out, I was doing almost everything exactly opposite of what I should have been doing! The techniques in the book seems very counter-intuitive, but beleive me, they work. I followed the information in the book and now I am selling items for far more than I thought was possible. Great book, easy read.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: How to Break Software: A Practical Guide to Testing
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: James A. Whittaker
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Perspective is everything

I think that this is an exceedingly useful book.
Most books that purport to be about testing are really about something else. They're generally about planning, or process, or mathematics, or graph theory. Often, they're about making models of software so that you can demonstrate that there are indeed jillions of paths through a given piece of software--hardly news to anyone who's bothered to think about it for a while. Sometimes they're about the underlying theory of the thing you're supposed to be testing, such as "Web applications" or "security". All of these are useful things to think about, to be sure. Many of these books are large, and this one is small. I would venture to say, though, that few books talk about actual bugs as much as this one does, and provide such entertaining, cringeworthy examples.
This book is about testing, and it's about thinking about testing. It provides a set of theories of error, and follows these with worked-out examples of using those theories of error to find bugs in real software. What a concept.
In some reviews of this book, you'll find pious pronouncements about process; you'll see one that complains that this book doesn't have anything about testing J2EE applications; or that this book somehow applies only to Microsoft software. Those reviews all represent valid points of view, equivalent to the valid point of view that Moby Dick is a book about a big fish.
Some of the information presented is quite basic. Mind, as a tester, testing trainer, and user of software, I've seen a lot of software--a LOT of software--not Microsoft products, some written in Java, built with well-defined process... but some pretty basic bugs. Mission to Mars, anyone?
Some reviews also seem to believe that there is One True Way to develop and test software. That may be true, though I doubt it. But either way, it's unquestionably true that the followers of The One True Way are in the extreme minority, and the rest of us testers have to live by our wits, work under pressure in chaotic organizations, and find important bugs quickly.
The book inspired me to think about the way that I approach a piece of software that I haven't seen before. I know some things about the underlying operating system (whatever it may be); I know something about the way data is represented in binary coding systems (whichever one might be in use at the time); I know something about the construction of programs (irrespective of the programming language); I know something about the way the program interacts with humans and other software. I also know something about the way programs and programmers can screw up--that is, I know something about certain risks. As a real tester in the real world, sometimes that and the program are all I have to work with. Nonetheless, I can use those things to find bugs effectively. Besides, even if I do have a specification, it's invariably incomplete, or wrong, or out of date, or so thick as to be unreadable in the time I have to test.
The book is fun to read, too--some of the fun is in the Microsoft-inspired schadenfreude, and some is the relaxed, conversational style of the writing. One nice notion expressed in the book is getting together with other testers and talking about bugs for fun. Good point--I believe that people learn more easily when they're talking to each other and having fun.
So this book helped me by providing an example of a taxonomy of software interfaces and theories of error, and ways of attacking the software based on those interfaces and theories. I have my own theories of error, and my own models, too; this book helped me to think about them and refine them. It's not the One True Way of Software Testing. Good thing, too: there isn't one.
Don't get me wrong: I would love to have a perfectly written specification to which the software completely conformed. If I were confident that such a thing were possible, I would never have to test; by that fantastic definition, the software would work perfectly.
A good book should help and inspire you to think for yourself. If your mind is closed to extending the ideas in this book (or any other), you probably won't like it much--but then you probably won't be able to function very well when you move to a different development culture. That is (sad to say) you won't be a very good tester when you leave your cocoon. In fact, if your mind is closed, you're probably not a very good tester now.
On the other hand, I believe that this book is very useful if you keep your mind open, accept its lessons and examples, and apply them to your own projects, your own environment, and your own thinking. We need more testing books like it.