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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Creating Web Pages for Dummies, Sixth Edition
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Bud E. Smith, Arthur Bebak, Bud Bud Smith, Arthur Bebak
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Creating a Web Page for Dummies


While this book trades under the usual "Dummies" yellow and black, I found it to be extrememly helpful beyond the bare basics. There were numerous pointers to aid in the building of a webpage for my 3rd grade students as they support their writing skills and have a place to display their work. This book provided a great way for me to simply show them "how to" and I gained pointers on where to go for the next stage in our class web projects. I also liked getting the CD with trial versions of a variety of programs such as Dreamweaver and HotDog Professional. This was money well spent.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C, Second Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Comprehensive and gentle


Depending on what level of rigor one wishes, this is either an excellent book or an adequate book.
First, the negatives -- this book is several years old, and the cryptography community moves as rapidly as most other computer industries. So, it feels dated, and completely misses out on the AES candidates and the AES winner, Rijndael.
The positives -- this book is comprehensive. It covers practically all topics of modern cryptography in some detail, and -- the real gem of the book -- contains a bibliography with over 1500 entries. This book also provides for a wonderfully gentle introduction to cryptography; it doesn't assume the reader already knows the subject.
Where this book is likely to falter is in the rigorousness category -- this book was not intended for a mathematical or theoretical work. This book was intended to convey the ideas of cryptography to people who would be asked to implement cryptographic protocols or schemes designed by others. As such, I feel it does a good job.
Those that are more experienced may find the book useful for its comprehensive bibliography: check the table of contents for subjects, read the passages, and track down the references. Very easy, and very fast. (... has links to many of the references, though without the topical index afforded by the text.)



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Windows With MFC
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Jeff Prosise
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Starts slow and low, ends high and fly.


This is the best MFC book ever. Conversational style, and authoritative reference. He puts logic into the nonsensical, and starts slow (no appwizard shtuff and confusion until chapter 4) so everyone can understand. In chapter 4, he slowly walks you through your first simple program involving Visual C++ 6.0's mfc appwizard. This book was made for those who have no clue about the MFC tutorials (95% of those who use Visual C 6.0) in the MSDN library, but yet want to understand MFC someday.
However, know your inheritance of classes in C++ before reading. Reading Programming Windows 5th Edition by Charles Petzold before this isn't a bad idea either, but it isn't required, it just makes a much greater appreciation of MFC. MFC still doesn't stand totally on it's own without the win32 API either, but it comes pretty close. The last word of warning is that it is geared to the Visual C 6.0 compiler. So for those with Insprise, you aren't out of luck (it facilitates understanding 1000% still), just some of the stuff about using appwizards (which, come in handy) isn't going to apply to you. Prosise makes compensation for those with other compilers.
At the end, he goes into a pretty good COM ActiveX, and OLE tutorial (and how they apply to MFC) but nothing huge (a mere 220 pages).



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Kevin D. Mitnick, William L. Simon, Steve Wozniak
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Mixed feelings, but still a useful book


Kevin Mitnick IS a criminal. I have problems abetting his profiting from his crimes. However, that aside; this is a useful book. I am also put-off by his boastfulness.
A well-run and maintained network is difficult to attack. Not impossible, just difficult. The easiest way to subvert most systems is the weakest component - the people. People want to be helpful and too often are not aware of the impact of even simple slips. People are also lazy. They write down passwords, circumvent security systems that seem burdensome, and do not report obvious attempts to access system.
Mitnick show us that the most difficult part of any security system is to educate the users and to obtain their buy in that a secure system is a benefit.