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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Modern Control Systems (9th Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Richard C. Dorf, Robert H Bishop
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Makes a nice paper weight

Not once in all my university courses have I had a text that is this frustrating. It presents results without justification, it uses examples with no explanation, it weighs a ton and yet refers you to their website on every other page because the necessary material isn't even included in the book. If you have a university/college course that requires this text PLEASE do your whole campus a favor and tell the prof. to change to something else.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Network+ Training Guide
Publisher: Que
Authors: Mike Harwood, Drew Bird
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Passed the Network+ with this book + practice tests =)

I recently acquired my Network+ certification thanks to this book. It's very well written and does a good job explaining just about everything you need to know.

My only qualm is that Token Ring coverage is a bit light as I was very surprised to find a lot of questions about Token Ring on the exam. While I had enough knowledge to get through most of them, there were some that the book did not cover in this particular topic. You probably won't need another resource for it, just be sure not to underestimate token ring when you take the exam.

Finally, be sure to take the test at the end of the book. This is probably the closest test of the bunch (CD exams with $50 upgrade and all) to assess your ability to pass the exam.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Zen of CSS Design : Visual Enlightenment for the Web (Voices That Matter)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Dave Shea, Molly E. Holzschlag
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Not what you might expect

After being introduced to the CSS Zen Garden through a web dev magazine, I was riveted by the concept as well as the practices involved. As soon as I read that there was to be a "companion book", it immediately shot to the top of my list of must-haves.

This book is the perfect complement to the CSS Zen Garden web site in every regard. The goals of the book follow those of the site to the letter. It discusses a set of philosophies in visual design as well as web programming. Within the pages lie sources of inspiration for designers stuck in a rut or coders desperate for a workaround or solution. The language of the content is non-technical, conversational, and even friendly.

The book has no illusions of being perfect; the shortcomings of the content (as well as the site) are referenced constantly.

CSS experts will probably not find anything new here in the way of hacks and tools. Likewise, graphic designers will not discover any previously unknown rules or schemes. What this book does provide that is new is a way of thinking.

In 7 years of professional web design, I've picked up my share of bad habits. Deadlines and budget constraints force me to wear both the designer and programmer hats, as well as perform some pretty bad design tricks to get the job done. This book is ideal for someone in my position. It gets me back on track towards better, standards-based programming. It also shows me how to properly mesh design and code.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCNA INTRO Exam Certification Guide (CCNA Self-Study, 640-821, 640-801), First Edition
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Wendell Odom
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
I passed the test so....

it obviously did it's job. I've been an MCSE for years and I was a little anxious about taking a Cisco test because everyone said they were "so much harder" than the Microsoft tests.
This book explained what needed to be explained pretty well. It went into detail when needed and didn't when not needed. Obviously you're not going to know everything by reading this book, but it's a good start. Especially if you don't have an MCSE background, it goes into some basic networking stuff pretty well. Even some things I wasn't aware of.
The INTRO test threw me no surprises, as the practice tests off the CD that comes with the book were actually a little harder than the test itself. The simuations were pretty close to what I had on the test as well. If you can pass the practice tests (assuming you havn't memorized the answers, and can actually tell why one answer is correct and the others are not) then you will have no problem with the INTRO test.
Make sure you download the updates from www.ciscopress.com as this is the 1st edition and the errata is up to 4th edition. I did notice a few errors on the practice tests on the CD before the software was updated.