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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Joel on Software: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Joel Spolsky
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A shortcut to the most important knowledge in software dev

Joel cuts to the chase and gives you the advice that matters the most.
All based on excellent real-world experience.
Thanks Joel! I read your articles on the web long before the book got published and yet here I am, finding hard to let go of the book wherever I go.
And I'm having a heck of a good time enjoying Joel's humor!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Linux for Non-Geeks
Publisher: No Starch Press
Authors: Rickford Grant
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This is the one

I knew the ins and outs of Windows XP well enough to understand its many flaws when I assumed I wouldn't need a book as apparently basic as this one to understand Linux. I could have saved myself some money, however, if I had started with this book instead of the reams of command lists I purchased before it. Styled as a workbook, its warm and humorous tone anticipates emotional reactions such as fear or frustration on the part of the user, and even applauds simple successes. I wasn't left staring blankly at desktop full of mysterious applications. Instead I was guided in steps through various functions of the Fedora core, which I find superior to the SuSE distibution I was using. I think the greatest strength of the book is the author's natural talent with language, which is not only vital in computing, but in translating the meanings of the Linux world into plain English. Documentation for these systems being rare and obscure, this book should serve as model for those who want to assist the migration of adventurous computer users from Windows.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Michael Meyers, Scott Jernigan
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great Read Informative to say the Least!

Ive been building computers for years and ive taken my A+ classes in college back in 2001 and recently a job opportunity was coming my way and I needed to get some certifications and I decided to get A+ certified and knowing my luck the exam was just updated for some new 2003 objectives. So I was in a bind of needing to get some study material and since I had mike Meyer's network+ book I figured might as well get his A+ book since ive heard such rave reviews. So here's my review.
The book is VAST and covers topics in great detail ( for example he has and beyond A+ section in the book that goes into advanced topics - though sadly not enough detail on those - such as the cipher command in windows XP which helped me with my MCSE 70-270 studies ) And will help keep you up at night as his writing always does. The operating system section has to be one of the best sections as well as a few others.
Now time to talk about the bad parts of the book.
Mike has a way of explaining things in a way that either you will get or you won't know what the heck he is talking about. What I mean is he comes up with these crazy analogies that make hardly any sense at all ( such as the section on the CPU ) I wont to learn about the CPU process I can do without an analogy of a little man in a box turning on light bulbs come on this isn't an elementary school class type of book its a college+ book!
Also the book doest cover all you really need to know in a way that clicks all you need for the A+ exam and takes the privilege of drilling into your head useless information that the exam isn't even going to ask about and skims over the topics the A+ exam cares about ( kind of like comptia read all a+ books and made sure no book covered half of the test! )
Also the questions are simple at best and the learnkey videos require internet connection to use ( I got dial up and sadly cant wait all day to view free movies =\ especially sad when I paid as much as I did for the book that I need to register some part to view a "FREE" video ).
However id be remiss if I didn't say that this book is a great reference book and anyone starting out in computers should really read it and take it to heart hence why im giving it a high score even though it doesn't include 100% of what you need to know to pass the a+ exam. If passing the exam is your prime objective id recommend getting exam cram 2 book ( doest cover all you need for the test and also drills in useless information that isn't covered on the test as it seems most all a+ 2003 books are doing ) because it is cheap and the preplogic tests are always nice. Then id recommend either class training or some training videos such as cbtnuggets videos by Christopher Rees he truly can explain this subject in granular detail, enough for the basic concepts to be learned anyway. As I feel you cannot even try and take this A+ test and not have worked on a computer or at least seen someone else work on one ( I mean why would you! ).
Bottom line this is a good book to read and for reference just not " all you need " for the a+ exam. ( and yes I passed both tests in 3 weeks of study time and I know that the topics drilled in my head by both books were a waste of time and the topics I skimmed passed were heavily focused on the exam - KNOW YOUR SCSI! ) And of course you can look on the bright side as you only need to score a 500ish score out of 900 which means you can still miss a whole lot!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition with CD-ROM and Online Subscription
Publisher: Merriam-Webster
Authors: Merriam-Webster
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One of the two best dictionaries for business writers

Be careful when you choose a dictionary: small paperbacks generally aren't complete enough for business writers, and many hardback dictionaries are out of date or badly edited-even many that carry the name Webster's, which isn't a trademark. Fortunately, several reliable hardback "desk" dictionaries are available. This is the most widely used of them. It's on the short list of recommended resources in my book The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course in Business Writing and Communication.