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Product: Book -
Title: eBay Secrets : How to create Internet auction listings that make 30% more money while selling every item you list
Authors: Steven Ellis White, Bryon Krug
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Already made my money back with this book!

I consider myself a casual ebay user doing auction sales as a hobby instead of trying to make money. Even so, who wouldn't want to bring in more money? After I bought and read this book, I applied the tips that the author described and was amazed at the noticeable difference in how my auctions attracted attention. The auction page hits easily doubled if not tripled what I was getting compared to my experience prior to reading this book.
This book is written in a very easy to read style and although the first-time reader may be tempted to jump to the end to start using the tips, I encourage that reader to start from the beginning and read straight through to the end. Even for the more experienced ebay seller, this book does have enough tips to make it worth your while. I keep my copy close at hand to as I create new auctions so I don't miss out on any of the tips!
The author encourages readers to email with questions. I have emailed the author on occasion with questions and have received prompt and helpful responses.
Definitely a great book and a super author!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C, Second Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have for anyone involved with encryption & security

Applied Cryptography is quite simply the quintessential guidebook for information about cryptography. It also is one of the finest computer security books ever written. Bruce Schneier is a cryptologist who has a passion for cryptography, and it shows in his masterpiece. Instant classic is an often used oxymoron, yet that term is most appropriate to describe Applied Cryptography. If you have any interest with security and encryption, Applied Cryptography is clearly the definitive publication to reference and the most comprehensive text available about security and encryption. It might sound as if via my high praise for this book that I am getting some type of endorsement, that is not the case. It is just that Applied Cryptography is quite simply the most comprehensive, up-to-date work about cryptography.
The vast array of topics covered by the book is truly astounding in is depth and breadth. There is hardly a single cryptological concept, either minor or major, that the book does not cover. It is not possible to detail everything Applied Cryptography covers. But a few of the topics are: Foundations of cryptography, Protocols, Protocol Building Blocks, Key Lengths, key exchange, key management, Algorithms, the mathematical of cryptography, DES, RSA, One-Way Hash Functions, Symmetric vs. Public-Key cryptography, Public-Key Digital Signature Algorithms, Substitution Ciphers and Transposition Ciphers, Digital Signatures, Random and Pseudo-Random Sequence Generation, PGP, Authentication, Advanced security Protocols, Cryptographic Techniques, Identification Schemes, the politics of cryptography and much (much!) more.
Applied Cryptography also includes the source code for DES, IDEA, BLOWFISH, RC5 and other algorithms. It even covers encryption algorithms from the former Soviet Union, including GOST.
The magnificence of Applied Cryptography is that Schneier is able to take very complex, abstract ideas and express them in an extremely comprehensible manner. Applied Cryptography therefore lacks the dryness that plagues a lot of textbooks. Schneier is able to take both theoretical and academic ideas, and mold them into practical real-world intelligible book. All in all, Applied Cryptography makes for some very enjoyable and occasionally humorous reading.
One thing I really liked about Applied Cryptography is its index. Rather than using the traditional cumbersome citations such as RIV92b or GOL88 that often take a while to locate, Schneier simply uses numbers. In light that he references over 1600 sources, it makes looking up the sources an incredible time saver. What is extremely impressive about Applied Cryptography is that Schneier quotes from every imaginable source. From general security periodicals, scholarly academic journals, conference proceedings, government publications and official standards, Schneier has been there.
Schneier writes at length about whether a crypto customer should choose an algorithm for that is publicly published algorithm (i.e., DES, RSA, Blowfish) or to use a proprietary algorithm that belongs to a specific manufacturer. With a proprietary algorithm, Schneier writes that it is impossible to determine how truly secure the algorithm is, given that the owners do not generally make their code available for open inspection. There is even the possibility that the manufacturer (or government, if under federal contract) has put in a back door into the algorithm. Schneier states that: "Putting your trust in a single manufacturer, consultant, or government is asking for trouble. The NSA has some of the world's best cryptographers working for it, but it is hard to know if they're telling you all you know."
This idea then segues into the (in)famous Clipper chip and concept of key escrow. As a world class cryptographer, Schneier has major issues with the concept of Clipper, calling it "Orwellian" Schneier feels that encryption is too important to be left to the government and Clipper advances the power of the government over the right of the people.
In conclusion, Applied Cryptography is a must have book for anyone involved with encryption and security.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages, Vol. 1: Core Technologies, Second Edition
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Marty Hall, Larry Brown
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Terrific Book For Beginning JSP and Servlet Users

This is my second book on JSP and Servlets and this book is the best. I have learned what servlets are, how to use them, when to use JSP. Coming from many years of Perl/CGI development, this book (and of course knowing the Java language), has helped me begin developing Servlets and useful JSP's. A must have for people interested in developing servlets and jsps.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide (Exam 310-035 & 310-027)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
What you need to do well on the exam

Remember that cool instructor you had in college or high school who stood in front of the class during the final exam review and stomped his/her foot when covering something that was likely to be on the exam? Well, there's a lot of foot stomping going on in this book. I took the exam last week and there was not one item on the exam that wasn't covered in some way, shape or form in the first 9 chapters of this book. The end of chapter tests and the test simulation software on the CD mimic the actual exam to a tee. I can't imagine a better preparation tool for the progammer's exam than this book/CD. But this book is more than that. You will learn a great deal about Java and have fun doing it. In reality the authors try to get you to think like the compiler when examining (and writing) Java code. Good luck. On second thought, get this book and learn it and you won't need luck on the exam.