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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Interconnections: Bridges, Routers, Switches, and Internetworking Protocols (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Radia Perlman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
excellent description of layer 2/3 protocols

If you want to understand how things work at the data link and networking layers (layers 2 and 3) then this is the book for you. The author makes very clear the differences between bridges, routers, and switches - something that the marketing literature does not make clear :). She has a very readable and detailed descriptions of the most important protocols used in layer 2, especially the spanning tree algorithm used by bridges - as you might expect since she invented the algorithm! The descriptions of layer 3 protocols are also good, though not quite as readable.
The book contains a good mix of introductory concept oriented discussions and technical details. The author explains the technical, commercial, historical, and political ideas that lead to different protocols - adding context and colour with her own well thought out opinions. You can also find details at the level of packet layout information for many protocols. Really good stuff.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ActionScript for Flash MX: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Colin Moock
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This book is truly EPIC!!!

This book is a gem. For new-to-programming or experienced programmer alike, this book will be undeniably useful.
Colin teaches you how to program in Actionscript. Infact, little in this book can be simply copy and pasted into your project... That's the beauty!
Unique flash solutions as with anything, created by fresh, intelegent minds with an appreciation of the tools they have to work with. Colin teaches you the subtle aspects of Macromedia Flash and it's powerful scripting language.
He uses generic programming terminology and introduces and explains them for the new programmer. This is very, very important for new programmers who wish to move themselves at some point across to another language.
Since leanrning Actionscript with Colin (Beginning of 2003) I have moved into learning PHP/MySQL. And thanks to Colin I can happily browse through the functions list or the language reference and have a pretty good idea what I'm reading.
Not for the unthinking-quickdraw type, this book is for thinkers and I give it 110% for optimising the time you spend reading/studying it vs. the results you get.
As for myself, productivity on generic flash websites has doubled, and the quality of the websites has also. Actionscript is developing with each release of Flash and will turn from being a designers-only tool to a programmers-who-can-design tool.
So all you designers out there - get studying!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Windows Server Cookbook for Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Authors: Robbie Allen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Real SysAdmins...

This book can make better SysAdmins out of those of us who are serious their work, whether newbies or seasoned veterans...

In the *nix and SQL worlds, it's long been the case that Real SysAdmins have at their disposal a toolkit chock-full-o'-scripts that are designed to get work done, from mundane one-off chores, to repetetive bulk operations, to specialized heavy lifting duties that are best left to well-debugged scripts.

In the old days, these scripts were personally hand-rolled into closely kept personal script libraries, accumulated over the course of years of duty out on the front lines. In O'Reilly times, serious-minded newcomers to System Administration have been able to quickly and usefully equip themselves with a wide range of tried and tested admin (and utility-gadget) scripts from celebrated titles like _UNIX_PowerTools_, etc.

Over the course of win32/win64 evolution, MS eventually gave SysAdmins a real command-line interface, an assortment of command-line admin tools and the ever whiz-bangy WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) interface. Very, very recently, MS has even begun to pull together the many pieceparts of MS-authored admin (and utility) scripts into downloadable Scripting Guides and the MS Script Center Repository. While these last efforts are all well and good, (no matter how late they are being brought to the table,) there are still too many things, scripted, that are missing in action in MS-land.

In this powerful, yet underserved, context, Robbie Allen's _Windows_Server_Cookbook_for_Windows_Server_2003_and_Windows_2000 (along with his equally impressive earlier effort, _ActiveDirectory_Cookbook_) is a very happy development. In _Windows_Server_Cookbook_, not only does Allen arm Windows SysAdmins with more than 500 genuinely useful, pre-rolled scripts, he *also* goes over the equivalent tools/steps in the Windows Graphical User Interface *and* even provides references to many powerful, specialized and (mostly) free tools that are to be had from the very good folks at SysInternals/WinInternals.

(Now, if only O'Reilly can find some equally good folks to kick out a _MS_SQL_Cookbook_...)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire : Prima's Official Strategy Guide (Prima's Official Strategy Guides)
Publisher: Prima Games
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

Because of a special deal, I got the Nintendo Player's Guide with my copy of Sapphire. I used that thing so much it's falling apart, so I recently bought Prima's guide. Surprisingly, Prima decided not to include the layout of each individual Trick House (Nintendo did.) Also, the layout of Flannery's gym is not labeled, so it can take awhile just to get to her. Nintendo tells which holes take you to which spot. The maps are small, which does make them hard to use in certain locations. Despite claims, it does not list all secret bases or have opponent trainer rosters (just for gym leaders/rivals.) Prima also fails to note which trainers are Trainer's Eyes trainers who demand rematches, so finding these trainers for rematches is harder- once again, this is something that Nintendo does. Despite all of this, it's still a handy guide to have while exploring the land of Hoenn and trying to beat the gym leaders. I would recommend Nintendo's, but the Nintendo guide could fall apart on you! This is a respectable guide and I would suggest picking it up.