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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.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: RF Microelectronics
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Behzad Razavi
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
My impressions of RF Microelectronics by Behzad Razavi

I have read large sections of this book and have been pleasantly surprised by the care and attention to detail taken with the description of RF design concepts as well as the mathematics used to clarify the issues.
The mathematics in particular seems to be free from errors, used only when necessary and does not contain such large jumps that the reader has to spend much effort trying to follow. All in all it is one of the best texts I have ever come across in this field of engineering

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Carpenter's Complete Guide to the SAS Macro Language, 2nd Edition
Publisher: SAS Publishing
Authors: Art Carpenter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Don't write macros without it!

The definitive text by a recognized expert. I bought the first edition several years ago and immediately discovered how to resolve a macro problem that was stopping my progress. The book paid for itself in the first 5 minutes! Got the 2nd Edition a few weeks ago and quickly discovered ways to do two different things I didn't even know were possible. That's at least a 5X ROI so far, and I've only skimmed through a few pages so far.

Don't write code without it!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Inside C#, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellant introduction to C# and object-oriented programming

Having worked with C# and .NET for almost a year now, I didn't really expect to learn much from this book. Boy, was I wrong. This book is so thorough that there were many nuggets along the way that even I did not know. The problem is that all the previously done books were incomplete or missing major sections of the language. The author, having waited until things got stable with Beta2, has come out with a definitive introduction to the language. This book contains the most thorough and complete description of the garbage collection and resource reclamation process of the CLR that I have ever seen and is worth the price of the book alone. The author also wisely avoids the VS.NET studio so people with the free Framework SDK can also play. Things Missing: The last chapter on Assemblies is too short as this is a vital concept, there is no chapter on Components and creating C# components and DLLs. But other than that this book is definitive and a must for every working c# developer.