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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Firefox Hacks (Hacks)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Nigel McFarlane
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A must for branding and security

If you're like me, you've downloaded Firefox to use as your brower then kept promising yourself you were really going to dig into it to find all its secrets. But you never really have time, do you? Firefox Hacks gives you 100 ways to make the most of Firefox. I especially liked the security tips. Everyone should take a few minutes and go through this book's steps on enhancing security. I've also always wanted to know more about chrome and this book gives me 2 chapters on it. If you are going to deploy Firefox with your own branding, perhaps as an internal browser or as a product's help system, then this book is a must. Even if you are only a casual browser user, this book has useful hacks for you.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Fast Track C#
Publisher: Peer Information Inc.
Authors: Julian Templeman, Jon Reid, Neil Avent, K. Scott Allen, Syed Fahad Gilani
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Get up to speed with C# in a hurry

If you need to learn C# in a hurry, this is the book that will get you up to speed. The entire "Fast Track" series from Wrox were written to help you learn a subject fast and this is especially helpful if your employer decides to convert to C# or any other .Net technology or language. I purchased both Fast Track C# and Fast Track ASP.NET C# Edition together. I am impressed with both books. The Fast Track C# book is 413 pages and the chapters are not to long. This makes the reading very easy and the chapters don't take weeks to read. The book starts out with the basics of .NET and C# and then progresses to more advanced C# subjects. Note: The authors do not go into great detail on the various subjects and you should augment this book with a more advanced books on C#. There are ample examples but the authors do not provide the "results". This is a book for the intermediate developer making the conversion from Java or C++ but I think Visual Basic 6 developers will benefit from this book.
In Chapter 1 - Overview of .Net and the CLR (Common Language Runtime), the authors explain the fundamentals of .Net.
Chapter 2 - Introduction to C#, Chapter 3 - C# Basics, and Chapter 4 - Object-Oriented Features of C# provide the basics that you will need to know about C#. If you are coming from Visual Basic.Net, you might want to skip over these chapters but I read these chapters twice.
The authors explain the more advanced features of C# in Chapters 5 - Advanced C#, 6 - .NET Programming with C#, and 7 - Working with the .Net Base Class. These chapters will help you get beyond the "Hello World" type of applications. These chapters provide some real-world examples.
In Chapter 8 - Building Windows Applications, the authors explain all of the basics to windows development. The GUI or the presentation layer is what the end-user will be most familar with.
The next chapters will help you with real-world applications that you may encounter.
Chapter 9 - Assemblies and ILDASM. Chapter 10 - Data Access with ADO.NetChapter 11 - COM and COM+ InteroperabilityChapter 12 - ASP.NetChapter 13 - Web Services

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: SQL Queries for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation in SQL
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Michael J. Hernandez, John L. Viescas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Recomend for beginners

I would say it is one of the best tech books I have read. I wanted to learn how to write SQL queries and now I know how to do it. Very easy to read and understand. It has so many hands on exercises that it makes so easy to learn it. I like this idea of hands on practice a lot! Wish all the books would follow this type of teaching. By doing exercises you memorize the syntax of queries like one, two, three. By buying this book I saved money on taking a class with a teacher. With this book you are good on your own. The negative part is CD. You MUST read the Readme file how to install it!!! Because you have to copy files on you hard drive before you can use it. Make sure you have Access 2000 as well!!! If you will ignore it - you are in trouble!!! For those who knows how to write queries in SQL it may not be a good book, will be too simple for you guys! But if you are totaly new - buy it, it's good!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Robot Building for Beginners
Publisher: Apress
Authors: David Cook
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
I just built my first robot!!!

I'm an Electrical Engineer at U.C. I bought this book so I could learn some "real world knowledge" about the physical world instead of just theory. I only asked for (and thankfully received) a multimeter, soldering iron, and a cordless dremel drill for Christmas. After reading this book, I now remember why I chose my major--making a robot is a blast!
Being strong on the theory, I didn't learn anything in that regard. On the flip side, David Cook described the basics in a way that anyone could understand. What I really wanted to learn was to be able to put my Christmas presents to use. He spent a chapter just on the multimeter! I loved it. Also, every part of the robot was described in detail. I now know the difference between choosing motors, batteries, transistors, comparitors, diodes, potentiometers, photo-resistors, ect.
When I brought my first creation into my Electromagnetics class yesterday, I of course was asked to give a demonstration. From reading this book (to be honest a total of 3 times), I described everything about it in clear/consise detail. The only part I failed was receiving extra credit. Yes I did try :D.
I couldn't imagine a better book for beginners. There is a website that describes the robot AND the few typos caught (nothing that mattered), ways he took this idea and added a couple more in a similar project, as well as detailing the post construction of robots he's made since then. Cook goes into detail for troubleshooting a potential screw up you may make (If 'X' is happening then you probably did 'Y'). Yes I made one too--thanks for asking.
There is one part I didn't like about the project though--using an M&M's Mini tube to hold the motors. Being so close to Valentine's day, the only selection they had were PINK ones! Oh well, I named in Valentino anyway. I did find myself telling this story though to everyone that commented on my pink robot.
If you want to get into the hobby, buy this book. You can't ask for more. Just be prepared to catch yourself looking in the toy section of Target for lego technic tires when your fiance is wanting to register!!! BTW: you'll also catch yourself babbling on about your experiences in a review about this book too--cause you'll be so D@MN excited about making your first robot!!!