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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Unleashed
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Rand Morimoto, Kenton Gardinier, Michael Noel, Joe Coca
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Too general, not a hands on Server Book.

This book, like all technical books, obviously took a number of people a large amount of time to complete. No disrespect to the authors but they missed a lot of basic things.
The book does have some decent info. But, once again, it appears the publisher decided to put out a book to take advantage of demand for a new product. They should have focused more on beefing up their content and they might have had something.
There is a lot of information that should be obvious to somebody with experience in the technology field. Do we really need migration planning meeting notes with generic categories like "Budgetary Issues, Planning Considerations, Technical Resources?" I don't think so.
Worse still, some of the contents of the book were illegible. Figure 2.4 of the Sample Project Schedule was totally blotched. Is this a shameless attempt to further thicken a book that is 70% filler?
Perhaps this was once again a failure in layout. They could have included all that migration stuff in a later chapter. Why did they include that before discussing more about the Exchange Server itself?
In fairness, there was some useful info in the book. But do I have to see another screen shot of somebody right-clicking in the management console?!?! Argh!!!
It's a shame that this book was such a missed opportunity. Publisher's like this need to pay for experience technical editors to correct these issues before publication. I don't blame them necessarily for trying to put out a book quickly and make a fast buck though.
For somebody who is a TOTAL beginner in technology and wants to learn about Exchange, this book probably holds some value for you. If you've just been assigned to plan an Exchange Migration and you haven't a clue, there is plenty of filler here to prolong some useless meetings. For anybody with any experience or knowledge of Exchange, this book is repetitive, slow, and not an effective use of your time.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Brain Opener and Using with No Fear

Truly, after reading this book, you won't ever think about object-oriented design in the same way. (Maybe a little bit exaggerating if you are pattern guru). You would be able to solve specific design problems and make object-oriented designs more flexible, elegant, and ultimately reusable using these patterns. These patterns help designers reuse successful designs by basing new designs on prior experience. The whole design process will be much faster (without reinventing the wheels) and reliable (with proven technique). It also increased common communication ground between designers and developers.
Somebody suggested to use them(the patterns) with caution, and he argued why "everyone seemed to be trying to do EVERYTHING at run-time, and nothing at compile time", the answer here is FLEXIBILITY, EXTENSIBILITY. If you can finish your every task at compiling time and there is no need to interface with other(external) systems and make enhancements(changes), that is great. You gain the performance with "rigid" code. There is really nothing wrong with it. However, in software industry, "Change Request" is its middle name, nothing can be guaranteed but changes. If you bind everything at compile time, you end up with tightly coupled system without any adaptation capability. And the similar situation why "Work was ALWAYS delegated off to some object far far away", and keyword here is DECOUPLING. As to some "13 layer inheritance", that is nothing to do the patterns (I think it is really due to system analysis), actually some patterns will be able to help you to reduce the inheritance tree. I suggest Using these patterns with NO FEAR (If you truly understand what is behind the scence).
Don't be surprised that you can even make client/server (or distributed) system out of these patterns (i.e., Observer (Stock price notification), Command (remote execution), etc.) with minimal efforts, even though the authors claimed these patterns are not for network models.
I believe every designer and developer would benefit from authors' wisdom and insights about OOD with patterns. Please do not argue the sample codes were not in JAVA (EXCEPT you don't know JAVA at all and can not understand what the pattern means, in which case I think it would make this argument self defeated.) It is really the concept that works here not the programming language.
BTW, this review refers to the CD version which works extremely well for cross link(reference).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macs For Dummies, Eighth Edition
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: David Pogue
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Common-Sense Book NOT Written for Dummies

David Pogue has a genius for making the seemingly-complex simple enough for the average person to understand. This is the perfect gift for a writer writing about the Macintosh system; once you get over your intimidation about computers by following Pogue's straightforward and sometimes humorous examples, the user-friendliness of the Mac makes itself obvious, and you're on your way. An excellent, useful book for beginner and seasoned user alike!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Dreamweaver MX 2004 Bible
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Joseph W. Lowery, Joseph W. Lowery
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best way to jump into Dreamweaver

I've been using the Dreamweaver Bible series of books for years, all the way back to Dreamweaver 2.0. They are perfect for my needs. I dip into them whenever I want more information about a particular feature.
Although the books say they can be used by someone who is new to Web site design, I think you need a little background before using these books. (I mean, what do the descriptions of XML or JavaScript mean if you don't already know what they are?)
The best features of these books are:
1) Tour of the Dreamweaver user interface. This is handy whether you are moving to a new version of Dreamweaver or have never used it before. You get a good introduction to all the basic features.
2) In-depth discussions of Dreamweaver features. Not only do you get the information on how to use Dreamweaver features, but also very complete discussions of why and when to use them. This is the kind of knowledgeable information you just don't get in a user manual from the manufacturer.
3) Tips and guidelines. Very useful hints on overcoming common problems. For example, a sidebar on overcoming line spacing difficulties gives four different workarounds for adjusting line spacing.
By the way, the author, Joe Lowery, has a reputation for being a great Dreamweaver resource, willing to help with technical problems and a very nice guy. His Web site has lots of links to Dreamweaver sites: http://www.idest.com/dreamweaver/. However, it looks like the site has not been updated in a while, so I hope he is not out of the business.