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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Voice over IP Fundamentals
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Jonathan Davidson, James Peters, Brian Gracely
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Worth Reading, But of Limited Use

I've had the Davidson book on the shelf for about a year and finally picked it up for a careful read to help me prepare of Cisco's CVOICE exam. While the book is useful toward that end, I recommend it only cautiously.
No doubt part of the problem is mine; by background includes extensive data but very little voice experience. I found the topic Signaling System 7 and similar topics to be slow reading, and I questioned the value of the IP tutorial. A reader with the inverse of my background may have exactly the opposite experience.
This book is unusually dense with acronyms, even for a technical book. The nature of the topic makes acronyms unavoidable, but I felt the lack of a glossary was a serious deficiency. I frequently found myself flipping back and forth through the book to decode an acronym to no avail. Thorough readers might want to construct their own glossary with index cards.
I also had the sense, especially toward the end of the book, that I was getting less of an explanation of the technology than a simple compendium of features. This was especially evident in those thin sections on the Session Initiation Protocol, the Simple Gateway Control Protocol, the Media Gateway Control Protocol, and the Virtual Switch Controller. I found the sections on the H.323 Protocols and Quality of Service more useful and complete.
Given the ambitious scope of the book, I believe the author could have provided a more readable and understandable treatment with six or seven hundred pages rather than the three hundred plus provided. Still, I find my understanding of the subject to have increased substantially. It is a fact that there are few alternatives. I give the book a qualified recommendation. Read it slowly and carefully, mastering acronyms as you go, to maximize its value.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web
Publisher: Pearson Education
Authors: Christina Wodtke
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book

As a freelance designer who is starting to take on larger projects, this book came in VERY handy. I learn't an awful lot and if I hadn't read this book before even attempting to take on some of my larger clients, I can easily say I would not of landed the pitch. Very good info and a lot of resources linked from it for even more reading.

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
Out of Ideas? Fear no more, the Ferrari brothers are here!

This is a perfect book for all people of all ages that have Mindstorms! Let me put it this way, The Ferrari brothers are geniuses, and if you don't like this book, your more stubborn than my step mom, and that's BAD!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Chuck Musciano, Bill Kennedy
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A non-patronizing guide to learning modern HTML

"HTML and XHTML: the definitive guide" will give you a thorough grounding in creating web pages. XHTML, by the way, is just HTML5 - the more mature version of the whizzy dynamic HTML4.
This book does not patronize - not that it's not "for idiots". It doesn't have cartoons, or annoying icons saying "kule stuff" either.
What it does do is to take you through the process of creating websites - from your first steps through to the deep end of HTML. Each element is detailed with sufficient examples; nothing is glossed over. Particular strengths are are the trickier areas for the non-pros - its treatment of forms, GET and POST, frames, CSS and tables are very clear.
The book is careful to delineate what it deals with and what it doesn't. Although it touches upon Java, Javascript, Applets and server technology, these tend to be pointers to the reader - saying what the various things do, evaluating the options and suggesting an O'Reilly book to buy!
"Kule stuff" includes the chapter on XML (should be on your resume!), "tips, tricks and hacks", the tag reference summary and some rather excellent history on the internet and all the various parties that try and work together to make it work. It's a neat book - personally, I'm an XML-type who's having to reverse-engineer my know-how down to HTML and it hits the mark for me!