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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Swing, Second Edition
Publisher: Manning Publications
Authors: Matthew Robinson, Pavel Vorobiev
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have for any serious Swing work

Before the first edition came out, I was very frustrated with the books available on the topic. The first edition was already the best book on Swing. While reviewing the manuscript for the second edition, I made up my mind to purchase the book as soon as it would be available. In a forward that he wrote for the book, James Gosling -creator of Java- gives credit to the authors for their excellent work.
Swing is a difficult topic, with many concepts that are a departure from more traditional Window MFC or Visual Basic GUI programming. This book does an excellent job at covering those concepts in simple terms, so that by the time the reader hits the first examples, he/she is already familiar with the general principles. I would have no problem recommending this book for people of all levels, as I believe they will all find some serious material to further their comprehension of Swing.
But do not think this book is a dry text book either, or a mere reprint of the voluminous Swing documentation. Once equiped with the general concepts of Swing (including an excellent coverage of thread safety in GUI applications), the authors embark on a methodical review of the Swing components, illustrating each with some real production grade code. No 10-line hello world in this book... but no verbose samples that have you wonder why the authors took an approach that you know would not survive the test of a production environment. No. The source code is excellent, documented, and accompanied with some detailed specific explainations when necessary (too many books have a long wordy reprint of the sample code in plain english that simply detracts from the essentials).
Everyone has a different style of learning. I find this book to be a good balance between the dry concepts and the concrete tips. Notes throughout the text highlight the differences between successive releases of Swing... a nice touch when you have to develop for multiple target platforms. As you progress in your understanding of Swing, you will find yourself going back to this book over and over again, looking for more details about the inner workings of Swing.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Mastering Windows Server 2003
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Christa Anderson, Michele Beveridge, C. A. Callahan, Lisa Justice
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Before even buying it; MCSE NT3.51/NT4.0/W2K, MCT, CCNP

...I am also practical. Though Mark always puts in his books that they are not for certification, his is the first book that I will shell out my own money (what other endorsement do you need)!! I now teach at Montgomery College, MD and University of Maryland, University College in the evening and work for the Department of Treasury, FMS in the networking branch.
So I still recommend Mark's Mastering books for certification to learn/certifying for hands on experience/certification knowledge. Are there study guides sure, but get your office to buy those as well as the $300 resource kits but if you need one book get Mark Minasi's "Mastering Server 2003". As soon as I have some time between projects in the wan area, I buy THE book on Server 2003

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Protocols (TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: W. Richard Stevens
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great explanation

This book provides simple and in-depth explanation of the TCP/IP protocols. Handshaking algorithm, TCP timeout retransmission and a whole lot of other TCP stuff. It allows you to see clearly how everything works! Use this book with Unix Networking Programming by the same author and everything begins to make sense!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Security+ Study Guide
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Michael Pastore
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Don't buy

It is clear that Mr. Pastore has done his homework. What I liked about it was that it addressed a wide range of issues at just the right level of detail to make it compelling as well as understandable. The illustrations were straightforward and clear, the narrative tracked well with the illustrations and topics were nicely organized. Another feature I liked was that many of the chapters are readable on their own, so that the reader can pick the topics of interest without struggling throught a lot of peripheral information. Mr. Pastore's style is direct and clear - rare attributes in competing computing security books - and invites the reader to stay engaged. I highly recommend this book, not only for computing professionals, but also any computer users, at home or at work.