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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Dan Birlew
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5

By far this is the worst guide Ive seen for any video game. It calims to have a detailed walkthrough unfortunately, the entire guide is not detailed. It skips over everything and gives you a username to use at playonline.com when it should go into greater detail. Go to gamefaqs.com and print out a text guide you will be doing yourself a much bigger favor.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: IT Systems Management: Designing, Implementing, and Managing World-Class Infrastructures
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Rich Schiesser
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
a reference and framework

I did not really learn anything new from the 500 page "IT Systems Management", but Schiesser created an ITIL-like framework from which I can logically organize and reflect on my past experiences and better understand my future experiences.
Schiesser starts by giving a brief but comprehensive history of computing and systems management. In Part 2, he presents a discussion on "people", organizational, and political issues which would be valuable for any new IT manager, although less so for experienced ones. Finally, on page 109, in part 3, "Processes", he finally begins the meat of the book.
Schiesser defines systems management as twelve processes: Availability, Performance and Tuning, Production Acceptance, Change Management, Problem Management, Storage Management, Network Management, Configuration Management, Capacity Planning, Strategic Security, Disaster Recovery, and Facilities Management.
He discusses each of the above areas, devoting a chapter for each. Some chapters provide more insight than others. Most of the points are obvious for a weathered IT manager, but it does provide value in compiling all the obvious points in one place. And, as mentioned earlier, it provides a framework for thought about managing a data center and or an enterprise.
Schiesser uses a lot of paper with lists of things: characteristics of process owners, resources to consider, steps to developing..., issues, challenges, etc., etc. He also includes assessment worksheets for each process - in duplicate versions: one with weights and one without. That is within the text --- he lists them again in the appendix. I think over half the book is assessment worksheets ... and a lot of white space. If he was adamant about listing all of these worksheets, I think the reader would have been much more appreciative of an included CD so they could actually use them without hiring a typist.
Appendix A is a FAQ, which is an excellent idea to address random thoughts about each chapter, but it was much too short at ten pages. I would much rather have an expanded FAQ rather than hundreds of pages of assessments.
He concludes the book with Part 4 "Technology" - a title I thought was a misnomer. This part includes a chapter on "Developing Robust Processes", with sections like "Helpful Ground Rules for Brainstorming" and "Understanding the Differences between a Formal and Informal Process", which I thought were inappropriate for the subject of the book and too cursory to be of any use. This chapter is followed by another cursory presentation of technology to automate processes, a chapter discussing integration of the 12 processes, and finally special considerations for client-server and Internet computing.
"IT Systems Management" is a good *overview*. IT managers with a few years in the industry will appreciate the framework presented in the 200 pages of part 3, but should not expect any earth-shattering revelations or new insights. For a more detailed presentation of the subject, look into the ITIL books.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning OpenGL Game Programming
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Dave Astle, Kevin Hawkins
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Intro OpenGL Book

I'm not new to programming, but I am new to OpenGL. With this book I was able to get a demo to my employer to pursuade them to do our next project in 3D. Very well written and easy to understand with lots of examples. With the additional material on the cd, it's a great value too.

I give this book five stars because it solved my problem for $20.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Regular Expressions, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Understand Regexes

As somone else said, "If you're looking for a handy desktop reference this book is NOT it." But it doesn't claim to be. The title is "Mastering Regular Expressions" and that's what the book is for. If you want a quick reference so you can just find a regex to do what you want, then you're not interested in mastering regular expressions, are you? This book is for someone who wants an in-depth understanding of regexes - not someone with a looming deadline. This book is in the category of "Teach a man to fish, and you've fed him for a lifetime."