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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Photoshop 7 Down & Dirty Tricks
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Scott Kelby
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
The title should be changed to Down Dirty Old Tricks


All the tutorials in this book are old and available on the web. The only good thing is that it covers a lot shortcuts for both MAC and Win users



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Cram (Exam: 350-001)
Publisher: Coriolis Group Books
Authors: Henry Benjamin, Dmitry Bokotey, Thomas M. Thomas II
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
This book needed an editor! Many technical, stylistic errors


Look, I'm not going to be too pedantic here, and I know it's difficult to remove all the errors in a long book of a technical nature. But some of these are pretty serious, betraying a clear lack of understanding by one or the other author of the basic workings and terminology of internetworking. Do any of the following "facts" sound fishy to you?
* The inbound "server load balancing" variety of network address translation is known as Port Address Translation or PAT.
* If a failure of the active Hot Standby Router Protocol peer occurs, the end workstations will experience very little network outage because they will use the ARP protocol to resolve the new virtual MAC address of the other gateway.
* In a frame relay network, a router can map a DLCI number to a remote IP address using Proxy ARP.
* Token Ring networks are called "deterministic" because possession of the free token "determines" whether a device can transmit.
* In the absence of Spanning Tree Protocol, the following scenario would happen: A broadcast frame would circle around among two or more transparent bridges continually until you have a broadcast storm, in which case both transparent bridges will run out of memory and the network will fail.
* A helpful review of inverse mask calculation: To use the 255.255.255.240 subnet mask in an access list, subtract as follows: 255.255.255.255 minus 255.255.255.240 equals 0.0.0.16.
* The order in which OSPF routers boot on a broadcast network has no effect on election of the Designated Router.
* Bit 6 of the configuration register tells the router to load the NVRAM config if set to 1, and to ignore the NVRAM if set to 0.
* The "service password-encryption" command encrypts all passwords stored in the router using the MD5 algorithm.
In my opinion it's bad enough that if a candidate were relying on this book as a last-minute memorization source, he or she could get a number of questions wrong on the CCIE qualifying exam. (I just took it and passed it a few days ago. It was really hard, with lots of tricky questions and depth. Study a lot.)
OK, to be fair, the above-noted error about frame relay using Proxy ARP is corrected to Inverse ARP on the publisher's errata page about this book, but that page is not easy to find. And worse, the very errata page introduces another error, in effect "correcting" two mutually-contradicting statements about the direction in which Token Ring RIFs are read into the exact opposite, but again contradictory, statements. This is not to mention many errors in diagrams and text listings:
* A diagram captioned "Example without HSRP", showing a prominent cloud with the word "HSRP" on it.
* An example of typing the CatOS command "show spantree 1", followed by the output starting, "VLAN 2".
Et cetera. I can see why Coriolis Group is advertising for a technical reviewer on their employment page!
On the positive side, the discussion of Token Ring RIFs is pretty decent, although I imagine one could read that material somewhere else. All in all, I'd avoid this book, at least until Coriolis produces a corrected second edition. I wish the absolutely stellar authors of Cisco Lan Switching, Kennedy Clark and Kevin Hamilton, would write some more books. Are you listening, guys?



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Code Complete
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Steve McConnell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Should be mandatory reading


I've been working in the software industry for 12 years now. I believe that a lot of bad practices have been creeping into programming. A lot of code is poorly written, full of "quick and dirty" fixes, poorly structured, and hard to comprehend. The IT industry is not as rigorous as it once was.
This is what Code Complete addresses. It is not a programming primer, it is an discussion of methods that can be used to make code more legible, more maintainable, and less buggy.
If you don't or can't buy the book then absorb this idea from the book: Programming is not the art of communicating with the computer, it is the art of communicating with other programmers who will read your code.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Object-Oriented Software Construction (Book/CD-ROM) (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bertrand Meyer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This work will make the Dow Jones Index double!


If I had Mr. Meyers' address, I'd send him a $1000 tip for this stellar work. I am the president of a software development firm and its most senior engineer. I am in the rare position of being able to intensely study and implement the technology presented in this book in a near pure form -- not using Eiffel, but using Microsoft Visual FoxPro. (It can be applied to any language which supports an object-oriented approach.) After doing most of the excercises in chapter 6 (and it DOES take doing the exercises to REALLY get it) it has dawned on me that if enough people take the time to really understand this technology in its pure form, a new day will dawn in the software industry. I'm not exaggerating. My teammates are now learning this technology with emphasis on correct and pure application. I have no doubts that my company is going to be one of the first to fully implement it. And I see nothing but blue sky. This book is worth 10X its price and surely, surely ranks up there with the Knuth texts in import and function for the software industry. (The Knuth texts laid the foundation for a large portion of the software industry.) I also think it will go down in history as the "turning point that enabled the software industry technologies to finally catch up with their intensly workable hardware counterparts". My advice to software developers endeavoring to improve their efficiency with this book is: 1) don't go past any words or symbols that you don't fully understand, 2) actually DO the exercises, 3) be patient with the sometimes verbose explanations, and 4) realize that the technology contained in this book is a goldmine and don't treat it any other way.