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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Citrix MetaFrame For Windows Server 2003: The Official Guide
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Steve Kaplan, Tim Reeser, Alan Wood, Franny Kelly
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
a little long winded

I have started reading the book and find it to long winded. If I want to read PMBOK I would read it, if the book is about Citrix please get to the point.
Sometimes technical writers get paid by the word instead of getting to the point. I am at chapter 5 it is starting to scratch the surface, that is alot of reading for nothing.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate, Deluxe Edition (640-801)
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Todd Lammle
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The unquestioned leader in CCNA study materials

Last week I attended Todd Lammle's CCNA class, where I received a free copy of his 'CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate, Deluxe Edition (640-801), 4th Ed' (CCNADE4E). Todd's class was excellent, and his book is almost literally Todd in written form. There is hardly a wasted word in this book. If Todd mentions a detail concerning a protocol or a certain default value in a configuration parameter, it's important. If he calls out that same item in a 'Note', it's definitely important. This is not 'teaching to the test' -- it's ensuring students and readers are familiar with material Cisco considers relevant. Cisco started its certification program to ensure administrators could properly configure and deploy its gear. By reading CCNADE4E, you will gain that knowledge.

Prior to attending Todd's class and reading his book, I was familiar with networking and related topics. I did not realize that successfully passing the CCNA meant being able to answer questions rapidly, not just accurately. This is especially important when IP subnetting and Variable Length Subnet Masks are involved. Todd teaches a method based on 'block sizes,' or the ranges of IP addresses associated with various subnet masks. This technique is incredibly powerful. I used to need pencil, paper, and at least a minute to answer subnetting questions before I learned Todd's block size method. Now I can answer the same questions in ten seconds or less (honestly). This is not a trick; it's a different way of looking at the problem, combined with memorizing certain key information.

Beyond innovative approaches to learning certain topics, Todd's book is also exceptionally clear. I did not find myself wondering what he meant by a sentence, or questioning my understanding of his explanations. This is in stark contrast to a book on TCP/IP I read and reviewed five years ago. CCNADE4E is chock full of good diagrams, tables, and configuration and syntax examples.

You could read only the book's text, but you would do yourself a disservice if you seek CCNA certification. CCNADE4E provides readers with questions and labs to test their understanding. These help CCNA candidates understand Cisco's approach to certain issues. Some of these questions really test the reader's comprehension of internetworking.

I found the material to be overwhelmingly accurate. I found a few typos that I expect to see on the Sybex errata page shortly.

If you're looking for a reference book to guide you through the CCNA testing process, look no further than CCNADE4E. If you work through the examples, you'll also find yourself able to perform simple to moderate configuration of Cisco routers and switches. I blew away the configurations on the gear in my lab, then rebuilt and improved them, using the knowledge I gained from this book and Todd's class. Isn't that what certification should be about?

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Software Project Survival Guide
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Steve C McConnell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Just give every software development manager a copy!

I must admit I have only read the other reviews of this book, but I do want to make a comment. Reading this book if you are in a CMM Level 1 organization is probably a good idea, because you'll need survival tactics. If you're in a Level 2 or higher organization, this is an indication that you still have cowboy/cowgirl tendencies and aren't getting on board with what the rest of your organization is doing. I just got a copy of 'A Discipline for Software Engineering' by Watts Humphreys and think it has a lot more meat to it, since it teaches not survival techniques, but engineering discipline that we all need to demonstrate. I'm going to recommend we start a corporate effort to make all 'serious' programmers aware of the techniques it presents. We need more engineering discipline, and fewer tricks to be successful when the organizations we work for are undisciplined.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better
Publisher: Free Press
Authors: Seth Godin
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A Review of the Obvious

Some things are so obvious that we shouldn't need to be reminded about them. Unfortunately, while how to design a useful web site should be in this category, according to Seth Godin, it isn't.
In this 100-page book, Godin advocates the simple marketing principal of putting only, as he says it, "one banana" per page - that is only asking the user to do one thing at a time by focusing on the question, `what do you want the user to actually do?' He demonstrates the effectiveness of this principal by having a single main point for each two-page site-review.
The book also provides a simple metric for designing sites - the further along (or closer to giving you their money / permission / etc.) the more valuable he or she is. As such, the site should direct users along the path to purchase (etc.) not sidetrack them with other suggestions or paths.
The book is not a collection of general principals, but rather a critique of over fifty actual web pages, some praised, others picked apart. As such, the application of the principals is crystal-clear.
The book is clear and concise and (like many of Godin's other books) is a must-read for anyone designing, marketing-through, or engineering a website.