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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Creating Documents with BusinessObjects
Publisher: Schmidt Ink, Inc.
Authors: Robert D. Schmidt
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good For Instructors

My company is using this book to teach classes on BusinessObjects. It has been very convenient, because there are so many examples. It is a little expensive, which is why I gave it four stars.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows 2000 Scripting Guide
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
A lot of typos and screen mistakes

I won't claim this is the only scripting book you should ever buy. I WILL claim that it is the WSH "missing manual" for system administrators. The short story is that it provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of WSH admin scripting with excellent code examples, and as such is a rare combination of instructional use and long-term reference value. Personally, I haven't thought a book on WSH in the last three years was worth buying; this is the one I've been waiting for.
As a comprehensive reference, this book stands alone. System administrators have been historically short-changed when it comes to scripting books; most written for Windows tend to be generically focused on languages rather than on the details of WSH, and usually cover only a handful of the technologies. This one is written by scripters who appear to use it every day, and they cover the breadth of topics: interactions with everything from system logs to ADSI to WMI. Although the code is almost entirely in VBScript, the focus is on application, not language tricks. If you want to any other Active Scripting language as your host, the code is plain vanilla enough to be easily translated.
In providing depth, the authors had some special advantages and they used them to the hilt. It was written by Microsoft insiders who know the internals of the technologies such as COM, ADSI, and WMI which well-rounded scripting uses. When covering the range of topics for admin scripters, the authors pushed explaining the why and how in unequaled detail, and made liberal use of charts for explaining difficult concepts where appropriate.
Coding quality is a critical factor as far as I am concerned in any book about programming or scripting; after all, good code is the test of a good coder, and in a book on scripting it shows that the author knows more than just the layout of a few random object models. Even judged on this alone, Microsoft's "Windows 2000 Scripting Guide" sparkles. Most topical scripting books have appalling code style; not this one. Code is explained carefully, and with few exceptions is written in the form of well-wrapped procedures which can be dropped into your own scripts and used as-is - variables are declared, input/output is separated from calculations, and most importantly, the procedures appear to be written with the explicit goal of making purpose and technique clear for the reader.
There are very few books out there which do an enduring job of teaching a concept, showing useful code, and providing critical reference material. This book does all three; if you get it, it will be your main WSH scripting sourcebook for years to come.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Classical Electrodynamics
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John David Jackson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Jackson Fan Club member!!

Initially, I despised this book. From peer reviews, this book is difficult, opaque, a supposedly random conglomeration of nth order Spherical Harmonics, Bessel fns etc.....Well, this book does live up to its single reputation - difficult. But reading through the text not once, but twice or more times, I eventually get the idea. Furthermore, the text in my opinion, tries to word concepts as precisely as possible. I can't imagine how much attention Dr. Jackson gave to the little details, which is essential in sending the right message to the readers.Therefore, I feel that this book is exceptional. The author has a strong sense of responsibility on the concepts he would like to convey to the reader. Finally, concerning the homework problems in this book (thorn to many readers), I found out that if one actually reads Jackson carefully (not randomly browsing through looking for equations) and understanding, he gives hints to many problems. There are some problems that are really hard, but usually its due to the complexity in the math, therefore a math reference or two (e.g. Arfken and Weber) would be very helpful.I still can't do the problems...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Useful, but the first edition is very outdated

This is a decent reference guide, but uncomfortably out of date. While the author keeps her site updated for latest changes, why buy a book when you need to read the most up to date info online anyway? The book is an excellent bargain, but a free online tutorial (on oreilly for example) is a much better deal. The best intro to XML book I've read is still Beginning XML (WROX--wait for the 3rd edition if you can, the 2nd edition is still more recent and more useful than the VQ guide).