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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Hardening Cisco Routers (O'Reilly Networking)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Thomas Akin
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great compilation for hardening Cisco Routers

Although the content of the book can be found in the Cisco web site, but why bother digging the web site for it?
Thomas Akin did a great job by providing all the basics (and more) that we should do to hardened Cisco Routers before putting it in a production network specially those routers providing internet access to users.
Danilo Castro DyMCP+I, MCSE, CCNP

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: iPod & iTunes: Missing Manual, Second Edition
Publisher: Pogue Press
Authors: J.D. Biersdorfer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Buy this Book it Rocks!

The Apple manual for the iPod is 6 pages long, a good start, but hardly enough to really get your feet wet with your new cigarette-pack sized personal music assistant. J.D. Biersdorfer supplements this with a 331 page tome that tells you "everything you ever wanted to know about the iPod, but were afraid to ask". Biersdorfer covers all versions of the iPod back to generation one (1G) and bringing you up to date to generation three (3G), including those designed for the Windows operating system. The book is organized into five parts: Hardware, Software, Beyond the Music, Extreme iPodding, and Appendixes. Each of the parts explains in layman's terms the relevant areas of the iPod experience.
The Hardware section covers the various incarnations of the iPod, as well as, various accessories like the remote control, case, and earbuds. Hardware also covers charging, and synchronizing the iPod with the computer (Macintosh or Windows) of your choice. Clear instructions and diagrams/photos make the hardware section easy to follow. The hardware section even includes instructions for installing a Firewire card if your computer is not equipped with Firewire. One section is sure to be controversial; instructions are given on how to copy music FROM the iPod TO the computer. Biersdorfer admits that this could be used to pirate music, but counters with some good reasons to transfer music WITHOUT piracy.
The Software section includes a good discussion of digital music formats including MP3, AIFF, AAC, and WAV. A rather lengthy discussion of the features of iTunes for Macintosh is included to get the reader up to speed on the usefulness of this portion of the digital hub. The books publication predates the December 2003 release of iTunes for Windows, so the older MusicMatch for Windows is covered. Finally, a good overview of the iTunes Music Store is given, with a tour of the features and a really great takeoff on Billy Joel's "Piano Man" called "iTunes Man".
Beyond the Music covers the other uses of the iPod including Address Book, Calendar, Games and eBooks, iSync, and the iPod as a hard drive. I found the Calendar section particularly helpful, as it covers using the major players: iCal, Entourage, and Now Up-to-Date.
Extreme iPodding was tor me the most interesting section of the book, as it talks about iPod hacks and cool tricks as well as the myriad accessories available for the iPod. Currently I'm looking to use my iPod in my car and the information on devices to connect to a car stereo helped me to decide which of the routes to take. The troubleshooting section brings together much of the information from the Apple Knowledge Base articles into one easy to find location. As I have had issues with both of my iPods, it was nice to be able to find the information in one spot, rather than clicking to the 4 or 5 different articles on Apple's website, and having to cross reference the troubleshooting procedures from printouts.
The appendixes cover both the Macintosh and Windows software offerings, menu by menu, and explain some of the lesser known keyboard shortcuts for the commands in each program.
Overall the book is a great compliment to the iPod experience. It is clearly written and has just enough humor sprinkled throughout to keep the reader smiling and interested. I opened the book thinking that 300+ pages on a device this small with five buttons was overkill... J.D. Biersdorfer and O'Reilly proved me wrong. I learned to make my iPod more than "just" a music player, and I had fun while doing it.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Solaris Internals: Core Kernel Architecture
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Jim Mauro, Richard McDougall, Sun Microsystems Press
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
5 stars...no reservations!

This is the ONLY book I've ever rated 5 stars. It has to be the most depth-filled book ever to come out of SMI (although Adrian Cockroft offers some competition in the tuning book).
It is not for the faint of heart, however. The book is meat only--no "history of the internet" chapters and no assumption about the audience's inability to comprehend. If there ever is a "for gurus" series to mirror the "for dummies" series, this book will be included as a ground-breaking first.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Authors: Al Ries, Laura Ries
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Includes an additional 11 laws for Internet branding.

This book was recommended to me by my business coach and I have not regretted the purchase ever. At first, I was a little concerned with the strange looking cover with the difficult to read font and the bright colors. My concern was that if they know so much about branding, why this kind of a cover.
But my concerns end with the cover as everything in between was very well laid out, backed by common sense and facts based on real companies. There are several examples used on every page to explain the total of 33 immutable laws (22 regular and 11 internet). We all intuitively understand branding because we are consumers and hence experience on a daily basis our purchasing being swayed by branding. So it was very nice to be able to read this perfect book on branding and understand so much in such a short time. It won't take more than a few hours to read this book cover to cover.
Let me share an example law without spoiling the book for you - #4 Internet Law: The Law of the Proper Name explains how proper names are better than common names for Internet branding. The clear proof of this is in the common names that never took off - drugs.com, university.com, wine.com, telephone.com, etc. and the proper names that did take off - priceline.com, amazon.com, etc. And I really like the explanation for why this law works.
So if you are a small business owner who can influence the branding of your business, products and services - go ahead and buy a copy of this book as you won't regret it. Of course, the content of this book is not restricted to small businesses. I am sure almost anyone involved in the branding efforts of the companies they work for will find it useful.
Good luck!