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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Laura Lemay, Richard Colburn, Robert Kiesling
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book, teaching the entire Perl language

I thought Teach Yourself Perl 5 in 21 Days was a great book. Don't worry about not understanding anything - it's all very easy to understand and the examples are very well described line by line. I did not rate this book a 10, however, because it fell short on it's claim to teach CGI scripting. Well, I think it must have been talking about the CD, but I think they designed the cover to look like that information was included in the text of the book. Get Teach Yourself Perl 5 in 21 days if you want to learn Perl. It is an excellent book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Shellcoder's Handbook : Discovering and Exploiting Security Holes
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Jack Koziol, David Litchfield, Dave Aitel, Chris Anley, Sinan "noir" Eren, Neel Mehta, Riley Hassell
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5

I've always been facinated by the amount of work security researchers put into finding vulnerabilities. This is a very good book on software vulnerabilities. It's also very current as it examines a number of the recently widely publicized vulnerabilities. It also rightly points out the fact that Linux/Unix are not as secure as a lot of people out there would like the public to believe.
The ways to get around stack protection outlined in this book was an eye opener for me.
I thought I had very good knowledge of the material the book covers until I actually read it. It is clear that as software shops continue to plug vulnerabilties, people will continue to find new ways to exploit software.
Clearly, this book is not for the casual reader. This is essentially a book for people who have above average assembly language and c/c++ skills.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Search Engine Advertising : Buying Your Way to the Top to Increase Sales (Voices That Matter)
Publisher: Pearson Education
Authors: Catherine Seda
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Magnificent companion to "Search Engine Visibility"

Catherine Seda's excellent book "Search Engine Advertising" is the perfect complement to Shari Thurow's "Search Engine Visibility" from which includes an excerpt toward the end. Where Thurow's book, the best one in terms of accomplishing high rankins in 'organic' (read unpaid) search results, Seda's book brings along the whole other side of the equation: that of paid options to accomplish high rankings. In doing so, one of her key points is that Search Engine Advertising doesn't end when the customer arrives at your site (visits), but it really is about conversions (getting the customer to make a purchase, subscribe or whatever your web site's purpose is when s/he arrives to it).
The book is very well structured around six parts:i) Planning: the key (yet sometimes overlooked) part of the process, to ensure you know who you are targetting and how, before jumping into the paid options.ii) Paid Placement Programs: she presents the differences (pros and cons) of the most important fixed placement and pay-for-placement programs available.iii) Paid Inclusion Programs: directories are presented here in all their splendor, along with what you can do to enhance your possibilities before submitting your site, and how to manage a large number of simultaneous submissions. Web site optimization is touched upon briefly at this point, but in no way substituting Thurow's book on the topic: you simply have to have both, if you're serious about Online Marketing at all.
iv) Specialized Search Engines: comparison shopping engines, vertical market search engines and international search engines are discussed in some detail, to get you started with them.v) Tracking ROI: normally just as overlooked as the planning stage, the tracking of the results of paid advertising campaigns are discussed in extensive detail to ensure that you are able to steer the boat in the right direction if your ROI data shows that you're putting money on the wrong key terms, your copy is not doing what it should to engage customers, or your landing pages are not taking customers where you want them to go once they get to your site.vi) Protecting profits: topics such as click fraud, trademark infringement and affilate networks are discussed, as things to keep an eye on.
All in all, this is not a book you'd want to sit down and read in one afternoon (nor would you be able to). This is a hands-on book to work through and use as a reference as you're getting your feet wet with this whole other animal that is paid advertising on the Web. It has done a ton for me in the two months I've been applying the concepts contained in it, since it summarizes very well all the options available to you, their pros/cons and how to best take advantage of them, considering your size and budget. I highly recommend it without reserves for eMarketers that have not had too much exposure to paid options, as well as those who have some experience in the area, since it provides a wealth of tips and insights that most people in the field can benefit from.
Disclosure: I received a copy for review from the publisher.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Andre Lamothe
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
It didn't live up to the hype

Ok, after reading his original Tricks of the Game Programming Gurus, I was expecting a lot more. This book covers a lot of the same material, but is for DirectX instead of DOS. Now, this alone is great, and if you are familiar with his original book then reading the new one is easier. However, I have found NUMEROUS errors in the book and it seems as if it was rushed to press. The book doesn't cover anything with any more detail than can be found elsewhere. Also, there are times when I leave this book to hunt up Michael Abrash's Black Book instead because Andre uses an easy to understand routine instead of a known faster one. If this is the angle he's shooting for, then perhaps it should be titled "Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Beginners" instead. The book is a good reference for learning DirectX programming, but after reading numerous articles and books by him I don't think it's some of his better work.