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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

If you're thinking about buying this book...think no more. It is all you will need and more to beat this game with a kick...score. This book has where all of the GF's are and how to get them. It also explains what you will need to fight all of your Boss fights. It doesn't tell you how to beat your final battle but it does give you all the information you will need to be strong enough to Win Big!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Exchange Server 2003
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: William Boswell
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Your Exchange 2003 Start to Finish Guide

Books teaching you a Server product always seem to fall into one of two categories; the Cram for the MCSE test (in which you get the information needed to pass the test and not really administer the product), or the Mastering style (in which you are stuck with an 800 page book that assumes you already have an environment and are only interested in over-covering the advanced or obscure features). I was pleasantly surprised to find that this title actually provides hand-held walk-thrus for the uninitiated, and continues the education process to cover basics, intermediate and advanced skills.

The author starts the title by ensuring that everyone has the same lab environment by way of an environmental setup walk-thru. This includes not only the Exchange portion itself, but hints and tips on how to minimize the hardware needed and build your environment with mostly trialware so as to keep the costs down for those who are reading the title outside of a corporate environment. From there, time is taken to introduce legacy and modern email protocols and formats in the context of the email client. Once covered you are taken deep inside the Exchange 2003 environment, starting with the service architecture and moving you thru server management, recipient / distribution list management and publishing, private mailbox and public folder health and control, message routing and finally Outlook Web Access. All of these topics are presented without undo references to how it was done in 5.5, which is a pleasant change from so many other titles that attempt the same level of Exchange education. Once you have become comfortable with the Exchange system itself, time is spent teaching you how Exchange is integrated with the parental network. This includes distributed architecture planning, Exchange 5.5 migration (which is separated out as a single chapter and easily skipped if you do not need it), and finally partner services, such as anti-virus and spam control mechanisms.

What really sets this title apart, is that time is taken to ensure that the Exchange specific terminology is defined clearly and that you understand what the components are before you find yourself 70 pages in and realizing that what you just read doesn't mean what you thought it did (or if you're like me, you've reached a point where you can no longer just skip over the word pretending that it isn't important). Although covering technical aspects, it is written neither so dryly nor so technical as to put the reader off; the author enjoys the topic and passes the enthusiasm along. If you are looking for a title to teach you to Exchange 2003 administration - pick this up.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Transaction Processing : Concepts and Techniques (Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems)
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Jim Gray, Andreas Reuter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very complete!

I wanted to learn more about transaction processing and had found bits and pieces from various sources. Well, once I got this book, I realized it was the only one I needed. It covers everything in a simple to read manner with lots of details (and good references to find more as needed). I highly recommend this if you want to learn more about transaction processing

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
And easily read, informative history.

Singh has put together a wonderful history of cryptography in this book. It includes examples and stories of the earliest, most primitive cryptography, to a discussion on what the future holds (e.g., the effect of quantam computers on code-making and -breaking).
Most importantly, however, Singh has made this book very easy to read. Singh is a very effective teacher, breaking down the complicated aspects of cryptography into step by step processes, requiring a very limited background in mathematics to be understandable.
Anyone curious about cryptography or espionage, or any other subject of that sort should make this book their starting point, from which they will develop a very good background for cryptography and cryptanalysis.