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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Upgrading and Fixing PCs for Dummies, Sixth Edition
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Andy Rathbone, Andy Rathbone
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Upgrading and Troubleshooting for Dummies 6th Edition

Kind of a combination introduction/overview to the state of PC technology today, with an emphasis on helping readers new to the subject in maximizing any PCs performance. This is an excellent book! Covers all the latest in Windows XP configuration and upkeep, as well as buzzwords like DVD-RW, DVD+RW, CDRW/DVD, 802.11b, 802.11a, wireless access points, fast Ethernet, FireWire, USB 2.0, MP3s, WMAs, LCDs, DVI-I, DV camcorders, digital cameras, scanners, printers, modems, NTFS, ATX, AGP 3.0 8x, DDR SDRAM,... etc. EVERYTHING current to today's PCs is given a brief mention. I especially like the Appendix, "The Rathbone Reference of Fine Ports", which clearly explains the most common of today's PC connections, as well as the ones that are going out of style. Very helpful! This book strikes a great balance between being too simple and being too advanced. It's the perfect companion to the "Windows for Dummies" series, right along with another recent book, "Troubleshooting Your PC for Dummies", by Dan Gookin. Highly recommended!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming ASP.NET, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jesse Liberty, Dan Hurwitz
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Exactly What I Needed

O'Reilly does it again. I've been programming ASP since Ver 2.0, and I was looking for one reference to bridge the gap between the new and the old. This book did just that. However, this is not a good book to get you started out with the .NET Framework. It doesn't go into detail about the CLR, FCL, etc. Also, like most computer books out these days, the text is a little bloated with programming examples. The authors give programming examples using both VB.NET and C#, which could be a plus or minus depending on the reader. Also, there's an entire chapter that covers many of the new ASP.NET Server side controls, with examples for each. After a few examples, I was ready to move on. All in all, a great book, highly recommended.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Real 802.11 Security: Wi-Fi Protected Access and 802.11i
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Jon Edney, William A. Arbaugh
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Most Definitive Books on Wi-Fi

This is the fourth book on 802.11 I have read in 8 weeks and for an important reason. The company I work for is moving more and more to wireless to provide connectivity to our customers.
In terms of understanding architecture, and the cryptography behind the security protocols this was my favorite book. My favorite chapter was the how WEP works and why it doesn't. The writing was clear and the explanations were accurate. I also loved chapter 15, that equipped me to explain why wireless networks are dangerous beasts with detail.
It is a tougher read than some of the other books on the subject, the good news is that you understand the cryptography, the bad news is you have to work through the pages with the crytography.
This is a good book and it is well worth the price. Why did I give it 4 stars instead of 5? It could improve in a couple areas. I think it would have been a stronger, more focused work without chapters 2, 3, and 4. Any reader that is willing to wade through the inner workings of TLS, TKIP or WPA doesn't need a security overview. Also, I really wish more effort had been put into chapter 14, Public Wireless Hotspots. It is good, it covers the fundamentals, but I finished the chapter without increasing my understanding of a question every reader of the book will have. Do I dare check my (encrypted) email at a Starbucks or airport hot spot? That said, I think with second edition the authors will have every chance to take the lead in the crowded field of 802.11 books.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Kalen Delaney
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Inside SQL Server 2000 is okay

There's nothing terribly wrong with the book, it's just not what I was expecting. I have some of the other Inside books and this one just doesn't live up to them. It's not the comprehensive reference I was expecting. It doesn't cover about half the topics I was interested in, so now I have to go buy another book. That doesn't make it a bad book, it's just that it really doesn't meet my needs.