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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Secure Messaging with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Paul Robichaux
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The only comprehensive Exchange security book

I admit to a certain degree of bias, being that I'm the author and all, but this really *is* the only book that takes a comprehensive approach to every aspect of Exchange security. The book covers physical and operational security, patch management, end-to-end transport security using IPsec and TLS, client-to-client security with S/MIME, and even security issues related to mobile devices like BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile smartphones. Sample chapters are available from a variety of places, including the book's companion website at e2ksecurity.com.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Protocols (TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: W. Richard Stevens
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Six years later, still one of the best on the market

I am responsible for a 50+ person intrusion detection mission, and I recommend this book to analysts after 6-12 months on the job. I do this because the serious folks have lasted that long, and they receive the most benefit from definitive works like Richard's wonderful volume. In the summer of 1999, this book brought my knowledge of TCP/IP from the memorization and recognition stages to the comprehension and application stages. While some material is far too deep in the weeds (SNMP, for example), the vast majority of the book caters to any intermediate student of TCP/IP and/or network based intrusion detection. I was lucky enough to exchange emails with Richard before he died on 1 Sep 99, and I grieved the loss to his family and to the Internet community. This book and his other volumes remain as testaments to his educational ability.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Non-Designer's Design Book, Second Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Robin Williams
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Not the only book you'll ever need, but you do need it!

Two gripes first.
1.) I have had difficulty with the book's title. As an editor of a number of different publications over the years, I've had occasion to work with "designers" who couldn't align type to save their lives. I used this book to train them, and the title has been an obstacle. Not quite the level of problem I'd have had with the "* For Dummies" series, but still...
2.) In Williams' intro, she talks about Joshua trees. She received a tree identification book one year, saw a picture of a Joshua tree, and then went outside her parents' house in the San Francisco Peninsula area to find four of the houses in her block had Joshua trees growing in their yards. Wherever she went in the Bay Area after that, she saw Joshua trees growing everywhere. The moral of the story: once you learn about something (eg. design "don'ts"), you see them everywhere. Nice metaphor. Only problem is, the things she saw growing outside in the Bay Area were NOT Joshua trees. They were Cordylines, which resemble Joshua trees only vaguely.
Williams' point is still important, but the truth adds two more lessons: Even an expert can still make mistakes through overconfidence, and it's really hard to find book editors who know anything anymore.
Gripes aside, if you do any kind of page layout -- even if it's only for signs for your lost cat -- find a copy of this book. It won't turn you into an expert typesetter. For that, I suggest a few other books, such as Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style, and years of setting type and seeing what works and what doesn't. But Williams will keep you from making the worst of all possible mistakes, and that will set you apart from the majority of design being done in the US.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Access 2000/Visual Basic for Applications Fundamentals
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Evan Callahan
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Typical Microsoft Garbage

The only thing this book accomplishes is to let you know some of the things that can be done with Access. It gives you examples and says copy this and see how it works. It does very little in the way of explaing why or how something works and it does nothing to help you write your own real world code. If you have VBA programming experience you are already far ahead of this book, if you don't it still will not help you. Save your money and look elsewhere.