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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft® Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John Walkenbach
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
A waste of time and money

I think it is a waste of time and money getting this book, it helped me in no way. Everything is superficial and you can be sure that you are not going to program anything with it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional Software Development: Shorter Schedules, Higher Quality Products, More Successful Projects, Enhanced Careers
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Steve McConnell
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Excellent Diagnosis, Questionable Solution.

As the author of the software's industry's classic tomes, "Code Complete" and "Rapid Development", anything by Steve McConnell is required reading. However, I believe that "Professional Software Development" along with its parent text, "After The Goldrush" is highly unlikely to have the impact of his earlier work.
McConnell remains at his best when detailing the problems of the industry and few will argue with his call for the adoption of established best practices and the creation of a better-qualified, structured and more accountable profession. The contentious area is his attempt to base this profession on engineering; a discipline that many feel is not an appropriate metaphor for the distinct and unique task of producing software.
Other industry authorities, in particular, Alan Cooper, have eloquently and convincingly denounced this view of software design and construction as engineering, and it seems to lead the author into some increasingly strange territory, for example his bizarre proposal that prospective software practitioners should study traditional engineering topics!
In swimming against the tide of movements such as Cooper's Interaction Design, Fowler's Agile Development and Beck's Extreme Programming, I would suggest that McConnell's ideas on creating an engineering-based Profession, are unlikely to see widspread adoption outside of the large-scale developers of in-house, scientific applications.
For all this, the book is still an interesting and stimulating read, but I suspect that many are still hoping that McConnell will return to his area of true expertise - the software construction process - and revise Code Complete to incorporate the latest methodologies and environments.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Illustrator CS Classroom in a Book (Classroom in a Book)
Publisher: Adobe Press
Authors: Adobe Creative Team
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Every bit like school.

I used this for an online Illustrator class and was impressed. Not unlike a classroom setting, you do moan and groan as you plod through the lessons. The reward is that you do learn quite a bit. Each tool is explained along with a basic technique. After that, the creativity and vision is up to you. This is a great starting point for the program, even if you are arrogant enough to believe you can 'figure it out'.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: SNMP, SNMPv2, SNMPv3, and RMON 1 and 2 (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: William Stallings
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not That Happy

Ten years ago I thought that William Stallings was a good author.
However, technical writing has moved forward since then or at least I have read a lot more technical books, and when given the choice of a Stallings book or a book by another author, I would check out the other author first.
Mr Stallings is something of an interpreter of incomprehensible standards documents, a high priest of hi-tech. Unfortunately his style is not very accessible, as though he is keen to maintain a certain element of mystique and maintain an intellectual distance from the unititiated.
For me, he is on the wrong side of the balance between technical stringency and accessibility.
For anyone who wants to use SNMP rather create SNMP software, it helps to break off from discussions of entities, instances, objects, vectors and the finers point of Abstract Syntax Notation to give some meaningful concrete examples with words like WAN link, packet, error etc. Mr Stallings is much more comfortable with the abstact than I am as befits a man who reads IEEE specifications but he needs to remember that he is preaching to more practical simple-minded types who like to talk about "relatively" tangible and familiar things.
I think the guys who rate this book highly are programmers who already knew about SNMP before buying the book and who use the book as a reference. As a network admin who wants to use SNMP to manage my network, I can say that I would buy this book with my company's money but not mine.