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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Inside Com (Microsoft Programming Series)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Dale Rogerson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Key to Understanding COM Architecture and Implementation

In Inside COM, Dale Rogerson breaks down a software architecture that defies the limit of software reusability via an innovative model: Component Object Model. Rogerson demonstrates a very good understanding of COM. And in this book, he shares his in-depth knowledge via a breakdown of the foundation of COM. The concepts and advices Rogerson presents are imperative for understanding the architecture and creation process of COM components. For instance, the author analyzes object containment and aggregation and demonstrates fully implemented examples of both forms of components. Furthermore, he discusses the importance of reference counting in COM and possible problems programmers face when implementing aggregated components such as memory leak. Rogerson breakdown of COM architecture in this book definitely helps programmers learn COM at its core and move one step closer to designing and implementing their own COM components.
COM design and implementation is an involved process. I believe even the experienced COM programmers would agree. However, in Inside COM Rogerson provides a clear analysis of the theories behind COM and demonstrates each aspect of COM architecture with valuable C++ examples. Lastly, he concludes the book with a complete C++ implementation of a set of COM components that utilizes most if not all the theories he discusses throughout this book. COM architecture offers developers an unparalleled flexibility and Inside COM is a key book to understanding COM.
I recommend Inside COM to advanced C++ programmers and real-world COM developers.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCAD/MCSD Self-Paced Training Kit: Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and Microsoft Visual C# .NET
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Innacurate and a waste of time

I wasn't expecting much from this book, but being an MS press book I at least expected it to be correct and accurate. As I expected, it is technically very shallow. It mostly tells you what to do in excruciating detail (how many times do they really need to say "In the File menu, point to Add Project, and then click Add New Project"?) but doesn't explain the why or how. The book is also full of glaring errors, and often misses the important points entirely. The sample code is full of errors and if often much more complex than necessary, obscuring the main point. Its obvious that the authors did not have a strong command of the concepts they are trying to explain.
If you're new to the topics in this book, you are likely to be left confused, or atleast not fully informed by this book. If you already have a good command of some of these topics, you're likely to find it quite amusing, disturbing and boring.
In my oppinion, the MSDN documentation is superior to this book in every way. In fact, many of the diagrams in the book come straight from the MSDN docs, but the descriptions have been obfuscated. I find myself turning to the MSDN docs to provide a clearer explanation of things that are left vague in the book.
I'm beginning to feel that, even as a study aid, this book is counter-productive. I think I would be more productive learning on my own from the MSDN docs, or other books.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Head First EJB (Brain-Friendly Study Guides)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not for me

While it presents all of the information you need to pass the test, I found the style of the book didn't really work well for me. I also felt that the grouping of information/topics didn't help the learning process (e.g. by the time you get to security, exceptions, etc. at the back of the book, you find yourself forgetting about the session beans, etc. at the front of the book that they are referring to). While the book was ok to learn the EJB concepts (an easy read), it required me to read through it quite a few times. I was also annoyed by the number of errors in the book (wrong answers for questions, etc.). There seem to be a fair number of errata you definitely want to look at on the website. As far a prepping for the Sun Certification exam, the information was so dispersed throughout the text, it didn't help much and I relied on a number of mock exams separate from the book. However, many people taking the SCBCD test swear by it, so your mileage may vary.

Personally, I thought Kathy's Java2 Sun Certified Programmer & Developer was a better effort.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Panther Edition
Publisher: Pogue Press
Authors: David Pogue
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This is all you need

I bougt this book because I bought an ibook and i didn't know anything about Mac OS X, so if you are a windows user and you want to know how to use mac OS X like a pro, all you need is this book.