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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Building Robots With Lego Mindstorms : The Ultimate Tool for Mindstorms Maniacs
Publisher: Syngress
Authors: Mario Ferrari, Giulio Ferrari, Ralph Hempel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A FUNdamental approach!

This is a great book, since it not so much treats the basics of programming (as do many other Mindstorms books) but pays equally balanced attention to the principles behind making good mechanical constructions. I especially like the places where behaviorial issues that are seemingly 'obviously programming' are obtained by clever mechanical solutions, since it matches my own way of looking at Mindstorms. Often, these solutions free up motor and sensor ports, and therefore permit to add more behavior onto the basic behavior of the original design.
You really learn many things from this book which you do not find in other Mindstorms books, because the authors take a pleasantly fundamental approach. There are chapters on Lego geometry, and a chapter on walking robots starts with an experimental explanation of the center-of-gravity, which is of course the fundamental problem behind the designs that follow. There are also some basics of signal processing which should help solve sensory issues structurally, without hacking, another commendable improvement over comparable books that ignore such problems.
The playfulness of the authors shines throughout, and this is what makes this serious book such inspirational fun - who would think of using Mindstorms to build a pinball machine or flight simulator? It is brimming with non-traditional ideas like these. The many illustrations are excellent, and there is enjoyment at every level: the design issues at large (such as what to relegate to the hardware, and what to the software), but also the design details; for instance there is an incredibly compact and simple turtle foot that needs to be built to be believed.
Beyond the fun, the book really serves as a good introduction to the principles of robotics, with Lego as the tangible and affordable illustration of those principles. Useful tables in appendices convey the new flavor: Mindstorms is now being elevated from a toy to a specific technical design platform, and thus professionalized (to the extent that the tool allows, of course). In my mind, this enhances rather than reduces the enjoyment of the kits, since the structural approach should eliminate many minor frustrations in designing working robots.
Highly recommended!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Network Intrusion Detection (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Stephen Northcutt, Judy Novak
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very very good book on intrusion detection!

Very helpful book for understanding/analyzing attack types. What I really liked was the way the authors explain the material. I guess being an instructor on these subjects for years has an effect. I recommend to everyone looking to learn about intrusion detection and more.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Effective STL: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Use of the Standard Template Library
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Scott Meyers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Code readability

OK, this is not going to be really deep or anything but is anybody else annoyed by the choice of the typeface used to print code samples in? Why, oh why didn't the publisher use a Courier font or something like the font used in Stroustrup's C++ book? The code does not stand out enough against the main text - a small thing but a bit of a letdown.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: SAP R/3 Administrator's Handbook
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Jose Antonio Hernandez
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
It was so far behind the current times I was bored!!!

I have been doing R/3 Technical Consulting for two years and this is my one and only reference book. It explains the basics of the system architecture and covers major areas, such as user management, authorization profiles, spool system, background processing, basic system monitoring and database concepts (Oracle only).
The information presened in this book is well organized and very helpful on the day-to-day system management.
Don't buy this book if you are looking for detailed information on system installation, ABAP programming and performance tuning.