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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Deluxe Learning Edition--Version 2003 (Pro-Developer)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good value for money

This package contains the step-by step book and the VB.NET Standard software. ..Why anyone would buy that and not this package is beyond me!
...For me, the only real downside is that you cannot create your own class libraries. However, I have heard (and read) rumors on the web that there's a 'workaround' for this omission.
Other than that, this package will get you started with VB.NET just fine, and at least for the first few months, you will not miss the functionality that is available in the full version.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Computer Forensics : Incident Response Essentials
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Warren G. Kruse II, Jay G. Heiser
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good intro to computer forensics

For those who are more comfortable in a command-line setting, Computer Forensics does a good job of detailing how to use low-level Unix functionality in the process of a computer crime investigation. Chapter 3, "The Basics of Hard Drives and Storage Media," provides a good overview of what really goes on inside a hard drive. The chapter includes a good section on how criminals use unallocated space on a hard drive for data storage that is often missed by forensic examiners.
Chapters 8 through 11 examine the details of Windows and Unix system investigations. The two operating systems are obviously different, so the examiner must know how to perform the specific tasks in each environment.
Chapter 12 closes the book with an introduction to the Criminal Justice system. This is important if the gathered evidence is to be used in a court of law. Although he or she needn't be a lawyer, the examiner must know what the lawyers will most likely attack, so as to ensure the evidence can indeed be used in court.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Non-Designer's Design Book, Second Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Robin Williams
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
You never stop learning

As a 'seasoned pro', I thought I knew it all ... well, not quite all, but at least a good-sized chunk. But you're never too old to learn ... and I've been earning my living as a graphic designer since 1985!
In a nutshell this book puts into words the principles I've known and felt for the last 15 years, but I now have a way of explaining to myself - and to colleagues - why something works, or more importantly, why it doesn't work as a piece of design.
Don't let the title put you off - even if you're a 'professional designer'. If you are a pro, climb down off that high horse and admit that you don't know it all (there are several quizzes in this book, some of which may very well put you on the spot). If you're just starting out, or if your boss has decided that your company needs a hip, with it, snazzy newsletter to keep the workers clued up, or an ad campaign to woo new business and that you're being volunteered to do it, well, you're in for a treat.
TNDDB covers the basic principles of graphic design in fun, easy to use chapters - and there are excellent illustrations to back up what Robin Williams is showing you as she cuts away some of the mystique that surrounds design.
It's said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. But there's nothing nearly so dangerous as an awful lot of ignorance.
This book won't turn you into Neville Brody, Paul Rand, or Saul Bass (to name but three), but it will change the way you look at design. It will sharpen your mind, breathe life into your layouts, and it'll do what three years of college won't do: educate you.

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
Valuable (but verbose) description and vocabulary

This is an excellent catalog of ideas for "encapsulating the part which varies" (the recurrent theme). Notably, it proposes several alternatives to inheritance in important applications. As several others have noted, the descriptions are too verbose (even the code examples seem bloated); this is an annoyance rather than a true obstacle.