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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alan Cooper
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Cooper scores points with programmers too

I just finished reading Cooper's book, and I loved it. Not only did I love it, but I think Cooper deserves high praise because I'm a programmer (or will be when I finish school) and he even convinced me that goal-directed design is the way to go. I have to admit, I didn't like the book at first. More to the point, for the first half of it or so, I thought it was absurd. I thought he was overstating the problem, I thought he was stating the wrong problem, I thought he was being overly alarmist about technology in general, etc. I even considered dropping the book and not finishing it. However, I often like reading views I don't agree with, so I continued. It wasn't until he started describing your solution that I saw the bigger picture. I thought he were being unreasonable and blindly attacking tech culture, but he wasn't. Cooper actually has a solid, insightful, and thorough solution to a problem I wasn't even aware existed. I haven't really considered design in any of the programs I've written, and granted, I've only worked on one consumer product before (the rest were behind-the-scenes plumbing). But I definitely will now. "Inmates" is a great read, and I can't wait for his next book!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Windows 2000 & Windows Server 2003 Clustering & Load Balancing
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Robert Shimonski
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good Planning Guide

I bought this guide to plan out my new Load Balanced farm at work with 2003 (we are using 2000 now) and found this to be a really good read on planning and design. I liked the section on the rolling upgrade from 2000 to 2003 because thats exactly what we are going to do. This book gives you a decent perspective on overall design of high availablity and gave me quite a few things to thing about that I did not think about before, especially with the emphasis on Internet facing solutions using NLB. The troublshooting sections were also valuable as 2003 is really new and this book outlines over 30 problems you are most likey going to see. In sum, This book doesnt have it all, but it has a lot to offer and is an excellent source of info for managers planning on getting their clusters up and running through the design and implimentation then troulbeshooting phases. I also like the fact that this book has NO fluff. It is a short, concise, value packed read. If more of an emphasis was placed on IIS, then I would have given this book 5 stars but all the concentration on IGMP really made up for it since it is a PAIN to set up.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: CCNA Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack (CCNA Self-Study, exam #640-801), Second Edition
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Eric Rivard, Jim Doherty
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Pretty good study tool for the new CCNA Exams

If you haven't heard, Cisco has released new exams for the CCNA certification and it is only natural that Cisco Press has released a self-study flash card book that can be used for the exam study.

Completely update from the last book, which I worked on, this book now has over 1100 flash cards covering all 3 exams.

I found the questions to cover the objectives and judging from the content of the flash cards; they seem to right in line with the exams.

About the only thing the cards could use is some of them could have more detailed explanations and possible web links.

There is also a cd included, which has over 500 practice questions and another 500 flash cards. Overall a very good tool coupled with the Cisco Press CCNA Intro and ICND books.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS
Publisher: SitePoint
Authors: Dan Shafer
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Definitely worthwhile

Having struggled my way through "CSS: A Programmers reference" by Eric Meyer, this book came as a breath of fresh air. Comprehensive introduction for those that have little or no .css experience, great gap-filler for those that think they know it all.
A few reviews have made the asinine statement that the contents can be "easily found on the web". Well of course they can - as can just about anything you care to think of. I am a regular at alistapart, csszengarden, bluerobot et al - and all the imformation in this book will be imparted by them. However I am of the old school that quite likes having a book to leaf through for education and reference (and the reference section is comprehensive) - and I've yet to find a better book that meets that criteria.
The "bundling" of the best advice on the net is not a bad thing, it's a good thing. Save yourself a ton of surfing through innacurate and or irrevelent information by grabbing this book :)