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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Timothy A. Howes, Mark C. Smith, Gordon S. Good, Tim Howes
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
LDAP - Programming Directory Enabled Applications with Light

This book is great for LDAP programmers of all levels! This book explains everything needed for LDAP enabled applications. Great Selection.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming & Customizing PICmicro Microcontrollers
Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics
Authors: Myke Predko
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A real learning guide for Picmicro MCU

Just as bad as his 8051 book in the quality of the English. He probably knows how to program the PIC MCUs, but I couldn't stick around long enough to find out. The book desperately needs an editor, and the publisher should be ashamed of letting a semi-literate author get away with this. It reflects on them as much as on him. The bad grammar and spelling can distract one from the technical errors. And there are plenty of those, partly oversight and partly the author's own shallow understanding.
Just opening at random to pp. 178-179, on clock oscillators I learn that "applications that require extreme accuracy allow the use of cheaper clock designs." How about "do not require"? Then I learn that "an error of 30% to the target speed are not unheard of." Sure, that's just English, but gee whiz, it's that way through the book. Then I learn that the circuit uses a "Schmidt trigger," presumably the German version of the well-known Schmitt trigger. Lower on the page I find "Crystals and ceramic resonators delay the propagation of a signal a set amount of time. This set amount is dependent on how the crystal is cut." If ever an author were asked to demonstrate that he hasn't a clue about how a crystal works, he couldn't find a better way. And so forth. It's that way on every page.
He probably knows the PIC processors pretty well, and I won't take that away from him. One pass through the book by a competent copy editor, and another by a real electronic expert could easily turn this into a much shorter, coherent, accurate, and useful book, but neither of those has happened.
All his books seem to have a strange combination of rave reviews and pans, with very little in between. That's unnatural, and the explanation that jumps to mind is bothersome.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages, Vol. 1: Core Technologies, Second Edition
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Marty Hall, Larry Brown
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Best Servlet and JavaServerPage Book!

Mr. Hall's book is a comprehensive explanation of servlet and JSP technologies. It starts with the basics concepts and walks the reader all the way through to the more difficult concepts. Mr. Hall's writing style keeps the "heavy" stuff light. I have moderate Java experience and I'm a server-side Java neophite. Mr. Hall's book had me going in no time and I'm now creating an enterprise web application to interface with a legacy database.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Secrets and Lies : Digital Security in a Networked World
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great info, even if self-serving

Schneier's job is security. How do you get more customers? By scaring them. He does plenty of this in this book, and even admits at the end that part of his agenda is to drum up business for his newly restructured company, Counterpane. Of course, this admission directly follows Schneier's comment that the best way to secure your network is by outsourcing (read: hiring Counterpane to do it).
That said, aside from the standard-issue security hype and redundant examples, Schneier has outlined the important parts of the security process in a way that can be understood by all. His emphasis on addressing threats, and not just vulnerabilities, is very welcoming. Too many times, authors and companies spend all of their time and money addressing every known vulnerability. By prioritizing the fixes according to the capability and intent of the perceived adversaries (hackers, corporate spies, etc.), the overall security is greatly enhanced. If there's no threat, then even the most vulnerable system is secure.