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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Step by Step--Version 2003 (Step By Step (Microsoft))
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Michael Halvorson
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
A Beginners Book Through and Through

This is a good book for the novice developer. It's more a beginners VB guide than a .NET tutorial. I am taking a.NET class and this is the required book. I was hoping for more. Not enough discussion about .NET. A better book would have been VB .NET The Tutorials by Karl Moore which I have also. The ultimate .NET book in my opinion is Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET (Core Reference) by Franseco Balena.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Compilers
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Alfred V. Aho, Ravi Sethi, Jeffrey D. Ullman
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Only useful as a reference.

I used this book in an undergraduate course in compiler design and found it overall to be almost useless. This book only makes sense if you already understand compiler design. The authors frequently throw out dozens of terms that they don't bother to define for several hundred pages. With minimal effort they could explain exactly what a symbol-table is used for or at least give some idea before giving an in-depth analysis of issues in symboltable design but instead they inundate the reader in terminology (to scare off the weak-willed I think) and let the explanation appear 250 pages later. With that said the book does cover alot. It has lots of examples (that are probably the only parts that make sense) and talks about lots of important language specific issues. Going back to it the book is a useful reference. But the parts I didn't learn about still don't make any sense. That's why this book is an okay reference but a miserable learning device.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java 2: The Complete Reference, Fifth Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Herbert Schildt
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
oversimplistic for most parts of java

Though the writing of Mr. Schildt is very clear, the treatments of many of important java features are oversimplistic. For example,when I had a question on using "this" in a constructor to call another constructor,there is no answer in this book;the multithreading part gives only very impractical examples and you still don't know how to write multithreading programs after reading the whole chapter;the introduction of Swing is only a brief mention,to list a few.
I think "Thinking in Java" is a good book,which tells you what is happening behind the scene. However, it is understandable that no book could be titled "complete reference".

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Michael Meyers, Scott Jernigan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The *only* A+ book you'll ever need!

There's a reason why Mike Meyers' All-in-one Guides are the best-selling A+ books: quite simply, they work! I passed the OS technologies test with a 608 score (passing mark was 505), and the hardware with a 629 (passing mark was 515). Other than some online practice tests, and hands-on experience (especially with the various Operating Systems), this was the only material that I used to study.
Be warned - at 1,100 pages, this is a thick book! However, it is a very easy read compared to most other certification books. Mike Meyers does an excellent job of explaining some very technical aspects of computing in a very non-technical manner, and without over-simplifying anything. I actually read through this book twice; the first time I took very thorough notes, and the 2nd time, I just skimmed through it in the days leading up to my test. As long as you do this, you should easily pass your exams! :)
The only bad thing about this book is that there are some various obvious typos/mistakes. Thankfully, most of the time it's obvious what the author meant, and you can find corrections to these errors on Mikes' website - http://www.totalsem.com/support/errata/aplus5.htm
In conclusion, some people might not like all the "extra" stuff in the book, but you *must* understand the historical/basic stuff before you can understand the advanced A+ topics. Also, this book is not going to help much if you don't sit in front of a computer and "play around (in the case of the OS), or practice taking apart your computer (for the hardware test). OTOH, if you have a lot of experience with servicing/repairing PCs, then you can probably get by with the much shorter "passport" version of this book. Otherwise, you should go with this book. There's no reason to fail if you study thoroughly enough!