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Product: Book - CD-ROM
Title: CCNA Virtual Lab, Gold Edition
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Todd Lammle, William Tedder, Bill Tedder
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Good foundation, but not needs updating for 607 test...

This is a good package to get used to configuring routers and switches, but it does not provide enough to pass the new (607) test. Your editorial reviews state that the Virtual Gold package gives you "everything and more" to handle the simulations. This is flatly not true--the actual test simulations are totally different than your package. I was very frustrated when I took the test to find the simulations so completely different. Also, they had troubleshooting simulations your package did not offer, as well as portions not even covered by your package! Someone obviously just changed the 640-507 to 640-607 in their editorial review. This package needs to be updated, and someone needs to pay attention to the accuracy of their claims! This may have been great for the 507 exam, but not the new one.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: STL Tutorial and Reference Guide: C++ Programming with the Standard Template Library (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: David R. Musser, Gillmer J. Derge, Atul Saini
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Sophisticated STL book

This book deals with STL like in virtual algorythmic world. But that makes it possible to show the principles and usage of STL without loosing time or space for all the modern internet topics. The book is very precise and systematic. It helped me applying STL, when I first used it, and it worked. The book consists of three parts: 1.) A Tutorial Introduction to STL, 2.) Putting It Together: Example Programs, 3.) STL Reference Guide.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: OOP Demystified (Demystified)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: James Keogh, Mario Giannini
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very good OOP book - concise, clear, and brief

I especially like reading Ch 8 -- Real-World Modeling. Not like all OOP books I read so far that the author will 'hard-sell' OOP as the best approach and by far better than procedural languages by simply demonistrating a small function and small application as to convince the readers.

The author in this book is so honest to point out the SKILLS needed to apply the OOP theory into a [workable and useful] BUSINESS application, and the difficulties the developers will surely encounter in REALITY when using OOP. This is helpful if business organization are thinking of using OOP as their solution rather than the 'already proven sounding' procedural languages and relational database in the business environment.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Expert One-on-One Visual Basic .NET Business Objects
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Rockford Lhotka
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Some good info, but won't make you a better developer

Experienced developers know that there is a certain set of practices which aids in better n-tier development. For example, encapsulation of business rules, design for scalability and reuse and usage of design patterns. The first few chapters of this book do a good job of introducing these concepts in a way that makes them accesible to developers who are unfamiliar with them.
For the rest of the book, Lhotka describes the CSLA framework; a toolset he developed which is intended to hide many of the implementation details just discussed. While there are situations where his framework has it's uses, Lhtoka describes it as if it were the Swiss-Army knife of business development. Unfortunately, it isn't. What Lhotka has really discovered is a good way to build applications that works for *him*, but he seems determined that *all* developers would be better off if they all worked similarly.
Pro-golfers know that there is no such thing as a perfect swing. Every golfer is different, and the ultimate swing for one is completely different from the ultimate swing for another. Business development is the same. Each project and even each combination of developers will benefit more from coming up with a style that suits thier particular situation best rather than force-fitting a generic solution, such as CSLA, to thier individual effort.
Lhotka is an accomplished developer. Therefore this book would have been better positioned as a career-autobiography. In other words it's central message would have worked as: "I'm a successful person, and here's how I accomplished it". Instead, the message it delivers is "If this framework worked for me, it must work for everyone". Any pro-golfer (or experienced business developer) will tell you that this simply isn't true.
In case you're unaware of it's history, this book is meant to be Lhotka's update of his CSLA framework for .NET. Unfortunately, the fact that it wasn't designed for .NET handicaps it severely. For example, in several places, Lhotka uses "tricks", such as reflection to compensate for what he calls limitations of the .NET framework. In reality, what Lhotka is compensating for in these areas is simple poor design, especially the aforementioned fact that it doesn't really fit with the .NET framework design. This is unfortunate, because what it really shows is that CSLA would benefit more from a complete, ground-up redesign for .NET instead of an ill-conceived retrofit. A much better framework could be developed by embracing certain features of the .NET framework instead of trying to thwart them.
Inexperienced developers will probably pick up some good n-tiered component development practices from this book, but they will probably also pick up some bad ones, and unfortunately, being inexperienced, won't know which is which. Experienced developers will read this book, shrug, and move on to a more insteresting one. Someone from either group who is interested in learning more about n-tier business development would do better to pick up a book on pure theory, or dedicated to solving his or her specific business problem. Unfortunately, since this book tries to be both things, it ends being good at neither.