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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Security+ Study Guide
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Michael Pastore
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
The Frustrations Continue...

The content of this textbook is ok, but it's not very clear how subjects are spread out over multiple chapters. For example, the coverage on wireless protocols is so disjointed that after a while, I started preparing my own notes in an MS Word document to that I could cut & paste it all back together in a logical arrangement. After you've come across the same topic three or four times, it's very confusing to remember what the current context is (and distinguish how the present chapter fits with material in previous chapters).

The opening paragraphs of Chapter 6 state that following topics were "introduced in earlier chapters, but they're tied together coherently here." The author's re-coverage subsequently adds virtually nothing new to previous coverage of material...the redundant material simply adds to the confusion

The author tries to dismiss this by stating that overlapping material in the textbook reflects overlapping objectives in the exam...however, this is really not a very good excuse for poor editorial style

Here's another specific example of what you can expect... Chapter 8, Cryptography Standards:

Page 326: "Since its release, PGP has become a de facto standard for e-mail encryption"

Page 330: "MIME is the de facto standard for e-mail messages"

Perhaps Sybex will prepare a Third Edition of their book, with corrections of errata described by other reviewers and a coherent arrangement of material.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming ASP.NET, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jesse Liberty, Dan Hurwitz
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Covers vast ground in both C# and VB...

I am a beginner at ASP.NET. I prefer VB for syntax.

I tried reading this text to get my feet wet in ASP.NET but found it was a little overwhelming. This book covers pretty much everything I need to know at this stage, and then a lot more. For that alone, it is a good book.

Also, I love how the book covers C# and VB. Though I prefer VB, it seems many others prefer C#. It's nice to see a book give fair due to both languages.

I think the code samples get pretty long and the code descriptions are too short for my tastes. But many will like the fact that the code samples are not useless - they can be applied in the real world.

I also think that for an O'Reilly book, it reads fairly comfortably. I was able to grasp most of it with reasonable effort. I've read other O'Reilly texts and find that they can be over my head. I was impressed by this one, though. Also, it covers the use of Visual Studio and standard text-editors, which is great.

Overall, I think this book is a good choice for the beginner, but if you're like me, you'll need something to bring you up to this book before reading it. I used ASP.NET for Dummies and neither felt pathetic reading it or that it was completely useless.

So basically:
- I got this book, became a bit overwhelmed
- Got ASP.NET for Dummies, read it
- Re-read this book and enjoyed it

I will keep this book because it is usable enough for a reference as well.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Testing Computer Software, 2nd Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Cem Kaner, Jack Falk, Hung Q. Nguyen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent introduction to testing techniques

This is probably one of the best books for learning software testing techniques. If you are new to software testing and don't have a "mentor" to teach you the techniques I would recommend this book, then check out some of the modern structured "risk-based" testing process books, such as Testing IT by John Watkins to get up-to-date on what has changed in the testing world since 1992.

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: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very clear and easy-to-read, up-to-date

I was on a beta review team for this book, and it was the book I wish I'd had when I was preparing for the exam. Things that were not made clear to me from other books were suddenly lightbulbs turning on. One of the authors was apparently on the team that actually CREATED the real Sun exam (at least the latest one, for 1.4, I think), so the topics and sample questions are exactly in line with what the real exam is like. There are a few new things (assertions) that were not on the exam when I took it, so I can't speak to how well those match the new exam, but from everything I can remember, this book is dead on.The tone of the writing is very friendly, casual and informal. If you're looking for a computer science text book, this is not it. This book sounds like having the guy in the next cube sit down and talk to you about how things REALLY work, and if you don't get it he just keeps trying.There were a few errors when we proof-read it, so hopefully these were all fixed, but they were mostly typos that did not hurt your ability to learn and prepare for the exam. Also, it does *not* cover material that is not on the exam. I happen to like this about it -- if I want to learn more and more about Java I'll read something else, thank you very much. My big concern when I was studying for the exam was to PASS THE FRICKIN THING. It makes it clear over and over that the book is about helping you get through the exam. Period. But -- not everyone likes this approach, and if you want a more comprehensive (but very dry and textbook-like) discussion of Java overall, then you might want one of the other exam books.I thought the two most helpful parts are the "Exam Tip" (or 'exam watch", something like that) highlights that point out traps or pitfalls or key things about the way a particular thing might be shown on the exam, and also the Two Minute Summary (which takes a lot more than two minutes) that is a list of the key bullet points from the chapter. The summary is a perfect thing for cramming. I would photocopy these and carry them around with me if I were preparing for the exam now.And the mock/sample exam questions are very, very realistic. When I took the test, I had been studying with another book -- the Roberts and Heller book -- which was excellent, but the questions in that book did not prepare me completely for how shocking (hard) some of the *real* questions were on the exam.I think it covers most of the topics in exactly the right level of detail, although there were a few areas where the explanations started from the very beginning, as though I'd never seen Java before. They didn't make too many assumptions about how much I already knew, so sometimes there will probably be parts you can skip over because you already know it, but it still moves all the way through to the advanced parts of the topic, small step by small step.I'm a software developer with a long background in C, but I hadn't had much OO and Java when I first started trying to learn Java and get certified, and this would have been the best book for me. If I had been a Java guru already, or even a C++ guru, I might have wanted more overall Java rather than just the exam-specific info, but for me, this still would have been the best book to actually prepare for the taking the test. I scored an 81% on the exam, but I think with this book I would have done much better.