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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop CS: The Art of Photographing Women
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Kevin Ames
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A "Must Have" for digital photo processing

As part of a professional studio, I have found Photoshop to be indispensible. Kevin's book has quickly become a bible for me in my Photoshop CS post shoot processing. Thanks again

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification: A Comprehesive Primer, Second Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid Mughal, Rolf Rasmussen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Path To Certification

This book is your road map to certification.I find that this book covers the Platform from end to end and is better than any other I have seen in doing so. I spent a lot of time surfing the web looking for help on studying Java and while it is possible to find a lot of information, it is not going to be as well organized, as is this book. This book will give you what you need and it is all collected in one place. The only negative is that in many parts it does not flow too well. You are referred to other parts of the book. It might make the book thicker and more expensive but it would be nice to repeat things if need be in order to put them right where you are currently studying
If you follow this book and do all the examples you will have a good knowledge of Java. The included review questions and programming examples are essential. In my opinion it is not enough to simply read the book cover to cover. You must get on your computer and actually do it. The examples are a great help. The source code for all of this is on the CD. They don't make you go to a Web Site to get them. This is a very nice convenience. If you do the entire book and all of the examples you are almost certain to pass the EXAM.
I especially think that the fundamentals of Keywords and Operators are clearly covered. When you take the EXAM you will be happy too. They ask a LOT of questions about these basics and you MUST understand all of them.The explanation of Threading and Synchronization is also well done. This is probably one of the most difficult parts of the language to understand and it is done well. The other difficult topic is Exceptions and they too are well taught here. The EXAM asks a lot of questions about Catch and Try.
The Mock exams included on the CD are very helpful. I believe that if you score well here, you are going to pass the EXAM. It is very important that you do these. You get not only an idea of where you stand but the EXAM simulator shows what it is like sitting the EXAM. It is as though you were there in person taking the EXAM. It makes it a lot less intimidating experience.
The book also covers what you need to take the upgrade. If you are certified at a previous level you can use this to study for the upgrade EXAM.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not really for absolute beginners

This book calls itself "Learning Perl," apparently because it is geared towards beginners. However, upon reading more and more of this book, it becomes increasingly clear that this book is not at all a learning tool, as it is a good reference for those who already learned the basics of Perl. The first chapter should be skipped over entirely if you're a beginner, because it will do nothing more than confuse you and turn you off to Perl. The subsequent chapters covers all relevant topics, but they skimp on providing descriptive key examples which would help you to better understand the concept. This book makes too many references to C and other languages, implying that you already know previous programming languages. The chapter on regular expressions is shamefully cursory and lacking in examples which can be adequately picked up by the Perl novice. The language of the text is not for the beginner user, as it throws around too many Perl-centric terms and definitions. For an intermediate, this may be sufficient, but it will not do for the beginner. I recommend Perl for Dummies as the ultimate beginner's tool. That book doesn't cover as many topics as this book, but it certainly explains conceps in a much more novice-friendly language than Learning Perl. Learning Perl makes the mistake of not keeping it simple. This is a very important teaching idea, when your expected audience are complete novices who need to have everything explained to them in basic layman's terms. This book is more of a sophisticated primer for already skilled programmers.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Linux Server Security, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Michael D. Bauer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good Coverage of the General Rules

It used to be that Linux was so much safer than Windows because of the sheer number of people out attacking Windows. But now there several reasons for the bad guys to attack Linux:

73 (or so) of the web servers run Linux,
more than that run DNS or mail,
these tend to be powerful boxes with big communications pipes - just what the Spammers need.

As the book says it's futile to expect perfect security unless you turn off the machine, power it down, repeatedly degause its hard drive and pulverize the whole thing into dust. On the other hand, it's not too difficult to do at least a minimal amount of hardening that will dramatically increase the effort required to break into the system.

This book, written by the author of the popular Paranoid Penguin column in Linux Journal covers the general rules. It gives you a broad coverage of the types of attacks you can expect and how to counter them. It does not attempt to cover the problem of the moment, because these are changing so fast that the book would be immediately out of date.

System security is a constant struggle against the dark side of the force. If you haven't been hit yet, you will be.