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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: How Networks Work (7th Edition) (How Networks Work)
Publisher: Que
Authors: Frank J. Derfler Jr., Les Freed
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Overview for Novices

Bleary eyed geeks cramming for their MCSE or CNE exams needn't bother with this text. However, people who are new to networks and in need of a context in which to place the many parts of networks will find that this book fills the bill. I especially appreciate the history of communications which allows the reader to see that contemporary networks didn't spring to life with the WWW but are part of a long, sophisticated, evolutionary process. Any professor of education will tell you that learning is facilitated by cultural literacy (see E.D. Hirsch) which is just what Derfler and Freed have created.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better
Publisher: Free Press
Authors: Seth Godin
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Read it. Avoid some big, obvious and costly mistakes.

This is worth the read. Direct marketers are the only honest marketers on the planet. Seth brings a good direct marketing sensibility to Web site design. You'll find lots of errors pointed out which seem very, very obvious but after 7+ years of Web site design are still very, very common. If you only get the "Where's the Banana?" lesson your...and time will be well served. The book is light in lots of areas but it doesn't claim to be otherwise. Mainly oriented to consumer Web sites but the lessons are often applicable to B2B because, like most good direct marketing, the right things to do are obvious. Anyone who has a Flash-heavy Web site should have their heads examined. Happily, Seth makes this point.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core Java(TM) 2, Volume I--Fundamentals (7th Edition) (Core Java 2)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Cay Horstmann, Gary Cornell
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
It's like drinking water from a fire hose

I was a bit reluctant to buying the book, principally because I had bought many Java books already with very little success. After reading all the reviews for its new edition and the previous edition I was even more confused, specially when you read very positive reviews and a few practically destroying the book, so you really don't know what to expect. Anyways I finally made the decision to buy it and all I can say is that I am pleased I made that decision, I finally got the main concepts of Java and I can code, maybe not as well as a Java programmer, but being a newcomer in the Java world I feel very happy that I was able to overcome the frustration of feeling that I was in the middle of nowhere without understanding what I was supposed to code.
This book is very well written and its examples are of a great help, moreover the explanation of the examples are simply outstanding. Some other books are great and they might be great for other readers, example Thinking in Java, but in my particular case it was hard to get up to speed as quickly as I am doing it with Core Java 2, I am sure that later on I will be using more advanced books, but for now Core Java 2 is doing a great job teaching me the basics. I look forward to buying Volume II, even though I have read some negative comments about it.
As a final point I think I should say that although the book specified that it is aimed at a more advanced audience, it certainly provides the information in a way that beginners can benefit from the book by understanding the concepts quickly without struggling with advanced technical jargon and complex explanations that can take a long time to digest.
Cay Hortsmann did an excellent job with this book, I say Core Java 2 should be a "should have" for anyone that wants to become familiar with Java, for other advanced users it might not be sufficient, but for people struggling with getting a solid understanding of the language this book is definitely the way to go.
Bottom line, I was finally able to like, enjoy and particularly overcome the frustration from reading other titles that were killing me to point that I was totally disliking Java.
! Great Book !

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming C#, 4th Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jesse Liberty
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Unless 2nd edition is a total rewrite!

The first edition of this book isn't worth the money. The author tries to cover way to much in way to little of time. Trying to show the basics of int i = 0; to creating streaming network clients is way to much scope for 500 pages.In it's section about how to use the Visual Studio part the author is still using code examples instead of GUI examples. I have no doubt the author knows what he is talking about, but he doesn't know how to make others know what he is talking about.