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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: VBScript in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Paul Lomax, Ron Petrusha
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Mighty small nutshell

If you are looking for a good language reference on VBScript, then this is it. I use this book to help me when writing ASP applications, and it is a life saver. Any programmer or systems admin (like me) should get this book. Would be nice if it had a few examples of how to use some of the objects. Other than that, it is a great book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Security Warrior
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Cyrus Peikari, Anton Chuvakin
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
To know the enemy

Security Warrior comes with the subject "Know Your Enemy" written across the top of the cover. In those three words, Peikari and Chuvakin give you the reason to read the book. O'Reilly's books are usually of the highest caliber, and happy to say this is shown in Security Warrior. The book is aimed at the security administrator, or the hard core computer person. While much of the book, and of security writing in general, is directed at UNIX systems there is a decent coverage of the Windows environment, which given its track record is in much more need of security warriors.

What the authors do is to give you the why and how of attacks and various threats, showing you some of the tools that can be used in these actions against you. The reader can then take these tools and turn them against the attackers, finding vulnerabilities first, and using other tools to counteract attacks and minimize damage. The first part looks at attacks at software, showing how reverse engineering can find out a lot more than might be planned as to how the program works. Things can get rather technical here but it's a great introduction to the mechanics of reverse engineering software and shows how someone could go looking for vulnerabilities, and finding out maybe not all the hows of the program, at least potential entry points in the software's operation.

Then it is on to OS and network security, with the focus on UNIX and some Windows Systems. The authors give some practical examples to explain what goes into attacks you commonly hear about - SQL Injection and Overflow attacks - but may not have seen demonstrated with examples. Many of the chapters and sections that are written about could and do fill whole books, but the authors do a very good job of balancing going beyond the surface of the topic without going too deeply down the technical details and examples to overwhelm or bore the reader. This is not a light, breeze through book, but a technical reference guide. It's one that I can see returning to again and again to help brush up understanding of certain topics as they are needed. This book is a very good starting point for overviewing the ideas as well as the mechanics of security attacks and to help you learn how to repulse them and become the security warrior. Know thy enemy is the necessity of the modern world.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Peachpit Prints Gold!

Having been in the HTML world now for a number of years, I am constantly looking for better references and tutorials. Elizabeth Castro has done both with this excellent book on HTML. Again and again I find myself turning to this book to find ways of doing things that I used to do in JavaScript (the "Gee I Didn't Know HTML Would Do That!" syndrome). What I like most is the format of the book; an excellent index allows the reader to easily look up specifics. The book contains some of the following chapters: Text Formatting, Images, Layout, Links, Lists, Tables, Frames (a big problem area for a lot of web programmers, well presented and explained here with some pretty neat hints and tips), Forms, Style Sheets (happily, this is heavily explained with four chapters dedicated to it's many facets), Scripts (wow! An HTML author who finally admits there are other languages out there! The author even spends a little time on the basics of JavaScript, however, she stays true to the focus of the book, only showing enough to wet the appetite before moving on), debugging (this is another biggy rarely covered by HTML authors, again well done here). The author spend some time even on publishing a web site. The problems and solutions to getting: a domain name, web host, transferring files, getting listed on search engines, etc. Several appendices: Tools, Special Symbols, Colors, and Tag Compatibility are covered. The index is very well done. This book is a must buy for any serious web developer.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Internet Texas Hold'em: Winning Strategies from an Internet Pro
Publisher: Dimat Enterprises Inc
Authors: Matthew Hilger
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good value pokerbook purchase

Just a note I put in all my reviews. I reserve 5 star ratings for only out of this world books. If there were a 4 and a half star rating I would have chosen it for this book.
I was going to wait to review this book after I had fully digested it and put the advice into practice and see what resulted. But since there is so much information it would take me years to do that.
The book delivers what it advertises. A solid piece on Hold'em in the internet environment. If you're looking for information on internet poker tells you can find it here. The author concentrates the work on Limit Hold'em almost exclusively. There are some pages devoted to Pot Limit and No Limit Hold'em, but Limit Hold'em is the star of this piece. The starting hands chart is a great guide for beginners at Hold'em or experienced players who are looking to trim the fine edges of their opening plays. I was also happy to see a section on a topic that many poker players do not know enough about, money management. The numerous hand examples in the book represent a variety of websites and stakes level.
The only thing that kept the book from receiving a full five stars in my mind was that there was not enough information on the emotional aspect of internet poker. No, you can't see the opponent who just bluffed you out of half your stack laughing at you, but emotional control is still an important factor in making profit at online poker. Maybe I'm just looking for that everything poker book. Actually, there isn't any maybe about it.
The final analysis? A good buy. Four and a Half Stars.