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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Visual C# .NET
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Jason Price, Mike Gunderloy
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
OK for experienced programmers new to C#

Update (4/6/2003): I feel it's important to modify my rating and approval of the book relative to some of the additional texts I've since read. I also applied an edit to correct a misunderstanding on my part and added some additional material. I still agree with most of my original thoughts on the book, but feel the book isn't thorough enough to be called "Mastering." I've since discovered the Applications Development in .Net books by Robert Oberg and crew (they have a very nice line of introductory and intermediate/advanced texts for both C# and VB.Net from Prentice Hall), and feel these books are superior in explaining the languages and their overall context in the .Net world. They also have somewhat more useful examples. The Price and Gunderloy book is still decent, and I still hold by my audience recommendations, but I feel an overall score of 2.5 to 3 stars is more appropriate. ----This book is reasonably well written and easy to read. It's a decent overview of both the C# language and .Net, so it's a good first book for programmers trying to understand these new technologies, but I'm not so sure I would recommend it to pure programming beginners.
As one review stated there are cases where some important concepts are not as thoroughly covered as they could be. There are also some inconsistencies and small lapses that shouldn't hurt experienced programmers, but may confuse novices. An example is the case where they discuss the difference between using the 'override' and 'new' keywords with methods; they give a good general explanation, but mention that there are exceptions. They do not, however, identify the exceptions, and this may leave more curious and experienced developers hanging. The code examples in the book are useful, but as another reviewer stated, they are often reprinted at the end of the section which results in a lot of redundant pages where additional examples would have been more welcome.
The tradeoff for the surface skimming approach is that the book's pace, for the right audience, is swift. Experienced developers, and especially JAVA or C coders, will rip through the first third of the book and get a good basic understanding of the C# syntax. The authors don't compare JAVA and C# in the way Bruce Eckels does with C++ and JAVA in his Thinking in JAVA text, which would have been a useful approach for JAVA developers, but their approach leaves the book a bit more accessible.
I was also pleased that with few exceptions the examples all compiled and ran. I've worked with some books where there were errors in the examples and this made active learning more troublesome. The exception is that in defining database access in some of the last chapters, I had to do a little more tinkering to get access rights to the SQL Server database working. I think the book would be better if it skipped the chapter on SQL and expanded the ADO.NET chapter to include security/signon and setup issues with databases with .Net objects.
It is true that the chapters in the middle and last thirds of the book probably don't also contain as much detail as those experienced in .Net and ASP might prefer, but again, the collective approach of the book gives the experienced developer new to .Net and C# a quick trip through the languange and how it integrates with .Net. One problem it has in common with a lot of programming books is that the examples are a little too simple. You will know how to build a Web service in C# with VS.Net when you are done with this book, but it won't do much and the intricacies of distributed computing aren't really deeply discussed.
RecommendationsNew to programming: not recommendedExperienced programmer, but new to .Net or C#: recommended
Experienced programmer, experienced with .Net and C#: consider a reference text or advanced programming book instead

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Unix: Visual QuickStart Guide (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Deborah S. Ray, Eric J. Ray
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very helpful

I think this book is a very good guide to unix because it teaches you the basic things you need to know to use unix and if you need to know more about a certain feature of unix it is easy to find it in the book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Fascinating story

Some sections are dry - or seem that way for a while, when in fact the author is giving you a great history on this history of codes and codebreaking. The perspective gained from the explanatory and often entertaining style makes this book worth the price. Whenever it seemed that I was tiring of the "historical" nature of a chapter, within a couple pages I was suddenly glad to have learned the facts and reasons behind the fascinating evolution of cryptography.
A newcomer to modern cryptography, this is the first book that made clear the workings of public-key/private-key cryptography, and for me that alone was worth the price of the book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The C++ Programming Language (Special 3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Bjarne Stroustrup
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
THE book for C++ programmers

Don't waste your time, money, or brain cells with any other C++ book. You want to become a C++ master? Buy this book, read it, then read it again! Sleep with it under your pillow at night! Don't write another line of C++ code until you've read this book. It will change your life...