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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Chatroom Conqueror's Official Review of the FF8 Guide

its good, but its mission placement was confusing, but neverless good. its lists of spells were helpful including the Elementals. the enemies stated in the guide were informative and had a way of beating them. one last thing... the battle against Ultimecia needed to be included in the guide in case the player keeps on failing. that is all.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Metadata Solutions: Using Metamodels, Repositories, XML, and Enterprise Portals to Generate Information on Demand
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Adrienne Tannenbaum
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Buzzword loaded yet superficial

Metadata Solutions--Using Metamodels, Repositories, XML, and Enterprise Portals to Generate Information on Demand targets a wide audience, from CIO/CTOs through business users through project managers through developers, vendors, and consultants. The book has six parts.
Part I focuses on information. It begins by introducing data management, and briefly presenting data warehousing, object-oriented models, and directories as the integration technologies of the 1990s. A few 2-page case studies illustrate data warehousing, directories, and Web-based data management. Next it lays the groundwork for introducing metadata as the solution. Unfortunately, although some chapters mention packaged vendor solutions and ``tools, tools, and more tools'' (chapter 6), the lack of concrete examples keeps the discussion abstract.
Part II introduces metadata. These chapters present a methodology that begins with requirements, stakeholders and perspectives, and produces metamodels and a metadata architecture. Before introducing the architecture, the author also presents several options for storing metadata. This part also includes a discussion that contrasts vendor and custom metamodels. However, the lack of vendor model examples leaves the discussion unconvincing.
Part III discusses meta-metadata, shifting focus from the outside of a metadata solution to its implementation. The first chapter introduces meta-metadata and meta-metamodels. The following chapters present repositories, the Web, file managers and file systems, database systems, and class libraries as metadata-based technologies. This part concludes with a discussion of standards for metamodels, metadata exchange, and architectures and frameworks. The discussion covers efforts by the Meta Data Coalition, the Object Management Group, and the World Wide Web Consortium, among others.
Part IV continues the implementation discussion, but focuses on non-metadata aspects. As such it covers the non-technical environment, the technical environment, and technical support. Finally, it discusses several implementation options from the perspective of the metadata store, and sketches a brief answer to the ``Buy versus Build'' question. Case studies illustrate non-metadata factors and an XML-based solution. Again, although sometimes the discussion involves packaged products or tools, the author doesn't provide concrete examples.
Part V presents six sample metadata solutions. Generally case studies provide excellent vehicles to illustrate how reality impacts solutions presented on paper. Unfortunately, the case studies in this part are cursory and lack detail. As such, they do a poor job of showing how each metadata solution makes different tradeoffs to deal with its specific requirements. If you expect carefully dissected and thoughtfully presented case studies like in Software Architecture in Practice (by Bass, Clemens, and Kazman) you will be disappointed!
Finally, part V focuses on the phase of the lifecycle following implementation: metadata solution maintenance. As such, it covers beneficiaries, the metadata quality, and how metadata fits within a business strategy. However, this part leaves unanswered an important question that has crystallized throughout the book: what types of problems are unsuitable for metadata solutions? The absence of this analysis may wrongfully lead uninitiated readers to regard metadata as a solution to problems it cannot solve.
From a presentation perspective, the book has a distracting number of problems. The writing style uses passive voice and fairly long sentences. In addition, unlike most technical books, the text doesn't contain references. Instead, the author has chosen to supply a few additional readings for several topics at the end of the book. Moreover, most forward and backward references appear as footnotes. Finally, footnoting the ``5 Questions'' as copyrighted and trademarked each and every time they're mentioned comes off as a monotonous, repetitive, and tiring sales pitch.
If you're looking for MBA-level information about metadata solutions, this book will give you a better idea of the area. However, if you're looking for detailed technical information about designing custom solutions or evaluating COTS systems, this book won't fit the bill. All in all, Metadata Solutions remains an MBA-level book written by an MBA.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCNA ICND Exam Certification Guide (CCNA Self-Study, 640-811, 640-801), Fourth Edition
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Wendell Odom
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
You Will Pass with This One ! ! !

One of the newest options available in taking the new Cisco CCNA exam is that it is now broken down into two parts. The INTRO exam and the ICND exams are designed to more accurately measure your skills. This book covers the second part of the exam which is the ICND exam 640-811. The modular organization of the book makes it much easier to grasp the concepts and retain more information. The exercises in the book are designed is such a way that you aren't memorizing the information but you are able to understand the concepts by performing some hands on lab exercises in order to get the feel of the real world environment. Each chapter begins with the "Do I Know This Already ?" quiz to help you determine how much studying you will need to devote to that specific chapter. There are questions at the end of the chapters that review the material. The diagrams in the book make it easy to understand the flow of the network and the information that flows through the network.
The definitions in the book are concise and easy to understand even though the material is technical. The author has the novice as well as the intermediate user in mind when writing. The chapter contains subsets of topics. Foundation Topics explains the topics in that chapter. The most important facts are summarized in the Foundation Summary. To test your retention of the facts, the Q & A section provides review questions that are more challenging. The CD is offers questions, not only for the ICND exam, but for the INTRO and the CCNA exams. You can test your skills before taking the real thing. The confidence that you gain from answering the sample questions is reassuring. The CD also includes a network simulator that allows you to gain some hands on experience with routers and switches. The network simulator is limited on the commands it allows you to use but it is still very helpful in giving you the practice that you need for the exam. Subnetting practice problems are on the CD allowing more extensive practice in IP addressing. The test objectives are covered completely and the book is also reader friendly. The material is presented in a manner that makes technical information interesting while not going over your head. This book is a must if you are interested in passing the exam with a high score and a relatively thorough understanding of the Cisco routers. Wendell Odom is highly skilled on the subject matter and it is displayed through his instruction in the book. I would look forward to reading any of his technical books that he writes because of the easy manner in which the information is detailed. The exam is challenging and you will need a good study guide that will get you through the exam. This book covers Spanning Tree Protocols, VLANS, trunking, RIP, IGRP, EIGRP, OSPF and static route configuration, ISDN and Dial -on-Demand Routing and much more.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: David Hunter, Andrew Watt, Jeff Rafter, Kurt Cagle, Jon Duckett, Bill Patterson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good coverage of XML and related standards

Definitely a good book for beginners; also a nice reference guide. Covers XML, Namespaces, DOM, SAX, XSLT, SOAP, Schemas, etc. Two case studies show building Web applications and Web services using XML.