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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide (Exam 310-035 & 310-027)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
book for passing the exam!

If you have some Java programming experience and really, really, badly want to pass SCJP in a short time, this is the book for you! I swear some of the questions on the exam were alluded to--verbatim--in this book. The authors very clearly state the purpose of the book. I like it.
If, however, you really, really, badly want to learn programming in Java, you had better look at other books. Amazon.com has a huge selection of such books, including my favorite, Learning Java from O'Reilly.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Core Requirements, Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Zacler. Craig, J.C. MacKin, Ian McLean, Microsoft Corporation, Dan Holme, Orin Thomas
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
What a waste of money!!!

I bought these books to prepare for the 2003 exams. I can't believe how shallow, and poorly written these books are. The practice exams are a joke, the material and the technical coverage of the books are for novices. If you don't know how to create a user or a group in AD, then these books are for you. But, don't expect to sit the exam and pass based on these books. If you think you can use these books as reference, then think again.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Essential Guide to Telecommunications (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Annabel Z. Dodd
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good, high level overview from transport to signaling to regulatory.

This book provided an excellent overview of the very broad range of telecommunications topics, including history, telephone technologies, data technologies, protocols, and standards; from twisted-pair copper through fiber-optic, cellular, and satellite. It is a very quick read and a great introduction to anyone new to telecommunications. Its coverage is very good considering the broad range of topics covered.
It does not, however, provide much depth on any one technology. Most topics, such as ATM, SONET, etc., are covered in one to four pages each. It was significantly less than I was looking for, but I am still impressed with how well Ms. Dodd covered such a broad range of topics. Anyone with a high school education, no telecom experience, and the motivation to do it, could read and learn from this book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Swarm Intelligence
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Russell C. Eberhart, Yuhui Shi, James Kennedy
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Misleadingly Fun

The concepts of intelligence and thought have been the source of speculation and wonder since the dawn of mankind (or is it personkind?). With the advent of modern computers, computational systems were developed that were capable of some degree of artificial intelligence. However, the conceptual frameworks were difficult to understand and were even harder to implement.
In this book, the authors lead us through a wonderful journey of the foundations of our thoughts, intelligence and psychology all the while taking us on a tour of the new field of evolutionary computing and its newest member - Swarm Intelligence. The authors begin with an excellent overview of the text that helps set the tone for the reader. This is probably one of the few times where reading the introduction actually enhances the enjoyment of the book. In the first several chapters, we are introduced to models and concepts of life, intelligent thought and computational intelligence. In so doing, great care has been taken to represent the diverse and divergent opinions on these subjects. The second section of the book is dedicated to explaining the concepts involved with the particle swarm and collective intelligence. Included in this section is a discussion of the partical swarm in relation to other techniques of evolutionary computing. Several "real-world" applications have been included and help clarify the utility of particle swarm in evolutionary computing.
Overall, the book is well written, comprehensive and fun for anyone interested in intelligence or evolutionary computing. The variety of viewpoints only serves to make the book more engaging and superb reading; even for those who have little programming background. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!