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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box
Publisher: Syngress
Authors: Ryan Russell, Ido Dubrawsky, FX, Joe Grand, Tim Mullen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Entertaining and Interesting

While this is not the best book for an introduction into the technical issues surrounding hacking, it is an entertaining approach to some of the issues. The book is not meant to be an instruction course for hacking but rather just some fun stories about hacking. No, the stories didn't actually happen, but most of them could, possibly with a little stretching. I like the book and I think it's a lot of fun to read.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Windows, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Charles Petzold
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
No HTML version included

I was looking forward to put this "brick" on my lap-tops harddisk (my bags are already to heavy) and the cover said that the CD has a "Fully searchable HTML version of the book" on it, so it should be a small thing to do so. It turns out that there is *no* HTML version of the book on the CD. Instead there is something else that requires Internet Explorer 4. So, unless you're using this particular browser, there is no hope for you. Just thought you should be informed.
Also, if you're interested of learning WIN32 in a "least common denominator" way, I guess the 4:th edition biased towards Win95 is a better choice. The 5:th edition has stuff specific to 98/NT which is only extra work to filter out, if you want to write code for all WIN32 machines.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Python Essential Reference (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: David Beazley
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The single most useful Python book I have found

This is an excellant book for the person who is acquainted with Python but needs to look up details or, especially, for someone with a good background in programming languages who wants to learn Python. Expertise in a single programming language isn't necessarily enough background - familiarity with different types of programming language and in particular with object-oriented programming is necessary.

This book packs a great deal of information into a compact format. It contains numerous tables and charts, attractively laid out and well organized. The author's explanations are lucid. It contains sufficient detail to be useful as a reference manual, but also provides an introduction to and overview of each topic. If you already know Python well and just need to look up details, and you always have access to the on-line reference manuals, you don't need this book. For anyone else, it is extremely useful.

As an experienced programmer, I found the O'Reilly introductory book "Learning Python" rather slow going. This book was just right for learning Python and continues to be useful as a reference. Highly recommended.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Unified Software Development Process
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ivar Jacobson, Grady Booch, James Rumbaugh
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
A reasonable book on process but with limitations

This is a book about process, not about RE or OOAD techniques. If you don't know how to do use case analysis, you will not find this book satisfying.
I think that it does an adequate job at demonstrating what a that will fit any project and any organisation. The process shown here will fit a good number of green field projects, small and medium sized. When it comes to other situations (large projects, re-engineering, maintenance and customization) then this process must be adapted and possibly amended. The authors acknowledge this limitation and point to (one might say advertise) Rational's Objectory tool for process customisation. Whether that is the answer is questionable. For large projects I suggest a look at Scott Ambler's books 'Process Patterns' and 'More Process Patterns'.
What the reader or anybody interested in process needs to understand is the fact that putting process into place requires 'process engineering' and ongoing process maintenance. This is unfortunately not stressed enough in the book, giving the impression of a 'silver bullet'. Process is not a silver bullet!
Another issue I have with the process is its focus on use cases for everything. Use cases are useful but trying them to be the carrier of every operation results in abnormal constraints. For example I find the testing section to be inadequate for the simple reason that use case based testing is but one of a number of techniques an experienced tester has to employ.
The book has a reasonable scope but its strength are in RE (requirements engineering), Analysis&Design and Construction phases. It turns weak when it comes to the periphery ie, project initiation, testing, Ambler's book as well. Don't let it lock you in and understand that there is more required than just giving the book to people.