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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java Servlet Programming, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jason Hunter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Outstanding in all phases

Simply put, this book is thorough, up to date, accurate and reads incredibly easily. A huge number of examples illustrate the concepts. Typical O'Reilly. Buy this book if you are interested in learning about servlets or if you need to know about the updates to the new spec.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company
Publisher: No Starch Press
Authors: Owen Linzmayer, Owen W. Linzmayer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A great unofficial look at apple's history

I'm a big fan of history books about the near-past, especially computer topics like the infamous _Soul of a New Machine_. So I greatly enjoyed this book, especially because it wasn't an official, sanitized Apple version of the past. Linzmayer covered all of the details not only of Apple's great accomplishments with the Apple II and the Mac, but also the great failures of things like the Apple III and Lisa. Also worthwhile were the bits about what the two Steves did after Apple, including NeXT, Pixar, Cloud 9, and so on. Well-written and organized both chronologically and by topic, I enjoyed going through this book from cover to cover, but also find myself opening at random places and reading a page or two here and there. This book is a must-have for any Apple fanatic, or anyone else interested in the history of computers.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
From a programming novice, this book is an outstanding tool

As a non-programmer, I purchased this book to assist me in my duties as a systems administrator. After reading the book cover-to-cover (reading some chapters twice, to make up for my lack of programming experience), I was able to gain a solid understanding of the Perl programming language. Though this book will not make you an expert on the subject, it will give you enough knowledge to begin using Perl for many tasks, and can be a stepping stone to more advanced Perl books (such as O'Reilly's 'Learning Perl', considered by many to be the unofficial bible of the language). For non-programmers like myself, this book is an outstanding learning tool; within a matter of just a few weeks, this book can help you become well-versed in the basics of Perl.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCNP BCMSN Exam Certification Guide (CCNP Self-Study, 642-811), Second Edition
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: David Hucaby
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
"CCNP BCMSN: Exam Certification Guide"

The complete title "CCNP BCMSN: Exam Certification Guide" (ISBN: 1-58720-077-5, David Hucaby, Cisco Press) by itself does not convey very much. However, by examining the exam topics (from www.cisco.com) for the "Building Cisco Multilayer Switched" exam (BCMSN 642-811), the reader will be able to see that the subtitle, along with the content of David Hacaby's book are very much connected.
Nothing more than a CCNA level of knowledge is required to digest the concepts and subjects covered in this book. Certainly, those persons who will find the book most useful will be those who are preparing for the "BCMSN 642-811" exam. However, anyone seeking to strengthen their knowledge of switching concepts will definitely benefit from reading this book.
The "CCNP BCMSN: Exam Certification Guide" text is comprised of 21 chapters, with the majority of the chapters focusing on topics that relate to building a campus network - switch configuration, VLANS, Trunks, Spanning Tree Protocol, etc. Four of the book's 21 chapters pertain to the Spanning Tree Protocol, which is a good indication of the importance of this protocol in the overall performance of switched networks.
Each chapter begins with a set of multiple-choice questions. Each chapter also concludes with a set of questions, but not in a multiple-choice format. Instead, most of the questions at each chapter's end require the user to provide an elaborative response -- compelling the reader to apply a little more recall to what was (hopefully) learned in the chapter. So, by concluding the chapter with questions in this format, the reader is challenged to acquire a deeper understanding of the chapter's content.
The book does not contain a surplus of examples but, those that do exist, provide more than adequate coverage for the topic previously discussed. The examples are easy to follow, and really serve to reinforce the concept that prefaced the example.
The illustrations and diagrams that appear in the book lend an immense amount of support to each chapter's contents by providing a visual aid that really connects to the particular concept being presented. The great majority of the diagrams relate to the position of switches in a network design, which most readers should find very supportive in understanding the campus network design.
Included with "CCNP BCMSN:Exam Certification Guide" is a companion CD. Although the CD contains the same questions from the chapters in the book, it does also contain an entirely different set of questions; some of these questions requiring (and allowing) for the configuration of a router and/or switch. To accomplish the router/switch configurations, the companion CD contains software that makes it possible to simulate the configurations for the particular question.
Not only does the router/switch simulation software develop some comfort in configuring a router or switch in a switched network but, the questions themselves do a great job in simulating a live exam - getting the reader ready for the "BCMSN 642-811" exam, if that is a goal. Those persons not having access to any network (router or switch) equipment will really benefit from the simulation software.
If a sample question on the companion CD is answered incorrectly, immediately the test taker is provided with not only the correct answer but, a reference to the subject that was being tested is also provided, along with the location in the text where the subject can be reviewed. However, whether the correct answer is displayed upon the selection of an incorrect answer is configurable with the exam software.
There are a total of 344 questions on the companion CD - 244 questions from the text itself (multiple choice type ), and 104 that are not from the text that are of the multiple choice, fill-in, drag & drop, and simulation variety.
CCNP BCMSN was very well laid out. The book delivers information to prepare the reader for the Cisco's 642-811 exam, and a little more. For the person that puts in the time to really digest the information in this book, it's hard to imagine an unsuccessful attempt at the exam - again, provided this is a goal of the reader. The book is essentially a "text" for the outline of the exam goals.
With this book's ability to assist the reader with the successful completion of the "BCMSN 642-811" exam, along with elevating the reader's knowledge about switched networks, the rating I would assign to the content of "CCNP BCMSN" is a 5 - with 5 being the highest on a scale of 1-5. The subtitle of the book "Exam Certification Guide" is not a misnomer. Even without the exam outline from Cisco, you can be assured that you are getting the necessary coverage for the "BCMSN 642-811" exam.
If future titles from David Hucaby are produced in the same fashion as this title, I will absolutely read and recommend them!