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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: TCP/IP Network Administration (3rd Edition; O'Reilly Networking)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Craig Hunt
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Buy this book

If you want to understand how TCP/IP networks work, both at a practical and theoretical level, this is the book for you. It is well written and covers all practical aspects of managing a modern TCP/IP network. Definitely another O'Reilly book that should be on every network admin's shelf.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Dan Birlew
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
What a ripoff...

This is a horrible book! When I'm playing my game and I have a question about something, I don't want to have to go online and find the answers...I just want to be able to open my strategy guide and find it. But the way this thing is set up, I've only been given half the info and less. Most of the info is extremely vague and it is needed to go online to get ANY help. Plus, the website is incomplete and it goes down a lot. So I'm waiting for a COMPLETE unofficial strategy guide...

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Rules of Play : Game Design Fundamentals
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Not good for students of game making.

While it is a nice romp through the games culture of the 1980's, it really has no input on the world of games today. The fundamentals have changed, and this book is showing it's age in a big way. If you are interested in learning more about true fundamentals to game design, check out Chris Crawford's great book on the topic. Money is tight for every student, don't invest in this under whelming hog wash.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual C++ .NET Step by Step--Version 2003 (Step By Step (Microsoft))
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Julian Templeman, Andy Olsen
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not for beginners

If you already know how to program in Visual C++, you will probably find this book covers new features of C++ .NET rather well, although some of the explanations are very short and terse.
The code is accurate and the examples are easy to load, saving you a ton of keystrokes while allowing you to concentrate on the walkthrough of how the program accomplishes it's task.
However, for the beginner... look elsewhere. For those that know how to code already, take a look at this:
Page 14: A "Hello World" program.
Page 15: OOP programming, encapsulation, polymorphism, inheritance, classes and objects.
Page 21 begins with a "simple" example. Within that example are classes, public and private members, how to access them, pointers, indirection operators, the garbage collector, managed extensions, functions - including the unexplained Console::Write() and Console::WriteLine() functions that perform string output.
Woops! Almost forgot namespaces, #include directives and the "using <mscorlib.dll>". Any beginners know what a .dll file is?
Then we move onto page 26... Eeek!
And, just to make sure you beginners know you're going to be overwhelmed, here's a paragraph from page 23:
"Because of these performance issues, the .NET Framework also supports value types. Value types are objects created on the stack. The variable contains the object itself rather than a pointer to the object. Hence, the variable doesn't have to be dereferenced to manipulate the object, which of course improves performance. To declare a value type class, the __value keyword should be used instead of the __gc keyword. In this case, the variables would have been created on the stack. Instead of declaring pointers for this class and then creating the objects on the CLR heap by using the new operator, the objects would have been declared in the same way as the built-in C++ types and the member vairiables accessed by the dot operator rather than via the dereferencing operator."
Got all that? Hope so, because before you reach page 50, he'll cover declaring variables, assigning values, Arrays, Pointers, References, Constants, Enumerations, Typedefs, the String class, arithmatic operators, relational and logical operators, typecasting, the Ternary Operator, the sizeof() operator, bitwise operators, precedence and associativity.
Neat huh?
Only for experienced, proficient C++ programmers.