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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Celko wrote the foreword -- need I say more?

When one of the most respected people in the industry writes the foreword to a book like this, you tend to take notice. At least that's what I did.
When I heard Joe Celko had written the foreword to this book, I rushed out and bought it. I was not disappointed. This book is a Celko-esque treatment of the Transact-SQL query script language. Just as Celko tends to delve deeply into difficult SQL-related topics, this book leaves no stone unturned as it relates to Transact-SQL. It delves into every corner of the language and explores one valuable topic after another.
Things like statistics, sets, arrays, hiearchies, OLE Automation, full-text search, transactions, cursors, administrative stored procedures, and on and on -- it covers them all. I couldn't be happier with the book. It's probably the best one I've bought in a long, long time.
I guess when Joe Celko talks, people listen. I'm glad I did.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide (Exam 310-035 & 310-027)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Practice tests misleading

I had just passed the Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 1.4 Platform exam (with a score of 80%), and I want to help prospective test takers in finding the "right" Java study guide. I was bewildered by the number of books available, and I had to try many of them before I settled on the right one. Here are my short reviews for each of the major Java study guides:
"Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide" by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates (five stars): I felt this book was the best among all the Java study guides. Both the authors were responsible for the Java certification exam's development, and the practice questions are *very* similar to the actual exam. The authors also cover exactly what will be on the 1.4 exam, pointing out potential topics, questions, and pitfalls. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
"A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification" by Khalid Mughal and Rolf Rasmussen (four stars): This is a good choice if you plan on taking the 1.2 exam. The book also has a dual purpose of teaching Java and sometimes goes beyond the actual scope of the exam, but it is nonetheless excellent. However, as the title suggests, this isn't the book for you if you don't have any programming experience. Also, the book's practice questions are much, much harder than the actual exam.
"Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide (3rd Edition)" by Philip Heller and Simon Roberts (two stars): This was the most disappointing book of all. I don't know why so many people swear by it, but the book appeared to have been rushed into production. Many of the errors and typos have been updated in the book's second printing, but the book's coverage of topics is quite weak. Lastly, the practice questions were not only too easy, but they don't look very similar to how questions look on the real test. It's not a terrible book (many people appear to have passed the exam with just this book), but there are better options.
"Java 2 Exam Prep" by Bill Brodgen (three stars): This compact study guide isn't a bad choice for prospective test takers with a good Java foundation. It covers all the exam's topics succinctly, but as another reviewer noted, it should not be your primary study guide. I personally did not find the book particularly useful.
Lastly, sign up for Sun's ePractice practice exams. You'll get three sample tests, and they will help you prepare for the exam by showing you how the questions will look and what type of questions they will ask. I didn't like the idea of spending the extra money, but the practice exams definitely helped me prepare for the real thing.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: CWSP Certified Wireless Security Professional Official Study Guide (Exam PW0-200)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Planet3 Wireless
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Another great one for certification!

Is this the best book on the market for security? No, but it is very good and covers the majority of the topics well. What is it? It is the best book on the market for the Certified Wireless Security Professional (CWSP) certification from Planet3. This is the second of four certifications that Planet3 has come up with (the first being the CWNA, click on my name for a review of it). If you are seeking certification, then this is the book to get. I have corresponded with the author via email and he more than knows his material. If you want the certification, then you need this book. If you are just interested in wireless security, then you need this book as well. A good read, good information and a very smart author. You can't go wrong there!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft ASP.NET Step by Step
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: G. Andrew Duthie
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not for me

I've been programming for 15 years. One thing I've learned about myself in that period is when I want to pick up a new skill, I learn best from technical books that lead you through sample applications, typing it in along the way. This gives me plenty of time to search help on the in-context examples I'm not clear on. I recently read the OOP with VB & C# Step By Step by Robin Reynolds-Haertle, and thought it was fantastic. It fit my learning style perfectly and I learned & retained a ton.
Since this ASP.NET Step by Step was another in the "Step by Step" series, I bought it with similar expectations. This book in no way compares to the OOP book. It reads far more like a reference, which is not what I wanted, not what I need, and certainly not what I expected from the title.
It does have good information in it, and the author does seem to know the subject well. I read the first 8 chapters, decided not to waste any more time & skimmed the rest. I'm currently searching for another book on the subject to fulfill my need.
I rate it low because the title is deceiving & I didn't learn much, but not a shameful 1 star because it does have good information in it, and I intend to keep it as a reference.