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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming the Perl DBI
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Alligator Descartes, Tim Bunce
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Worth it if you are serious about Perl DBI

I'm biassed; I'm the primary author of the DBD::Informix module. And I bought my copy of the book.
The Cheetah Book has a lot of useful information in it. Obviously, it describes the core DBI functionality very clearly, but it also contains a lot of information that was not previously available in a form comparable to what is in the book. For example, the extensive Appendix B, which lists a lot of details about each of the various drivers, is very useful and informative indeed. The information is not yet available elsewhere in this format, and you'd have to download all the drivers to be able to get all the information in one place. The guide to using the DBI Proxy Server is invaluable. The non-DBI database information in Chapter 2 is interesting; it shows how diverse the Perl modules are. And the comparison with Win32::ODBC is illuminating.
There is information in the main text which has not been documented before, such as the "use DBI qw(:sql_types);" -- that isn't in Appendix A (the DBI Specification), either, but that oversight will no doubt be fixed so that it is in 'perldoc DBI' by the time DBI 1.14 is available on CPAN.
This book does not attempt to teach you the rudiments of Perl, and nor should it. It does not teach everything about SQL, and nor should it. It doesn't teach you about every possible use of DBI, and it shouldn't try to do that either. It is a pity that the use of DBI with the Apache web server and mod_perl is not covered at all, but even that would be difficult to do sensibly. Half the effort would be in explaining how to handle HTML and CGI and not in using DBI per se. Nevertheless, should there be a second edition, this is something that should be covered in outline, even if not in complete detail.
If you have any intention of working with DBI, either as a regular user or as a driver writer, you need this book. It is clear and pleasant to read. Having the DBI specification printed in book format is worth the price of the book alone; the rest of the material is also very valuable.
Go, Buy!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential COM
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Don Box
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Definitely Essential

If you are already familiar with COM in C++, then here is a book that can bring your skill to the next level. For those of you who already own many many books on COM, your collection wouldn't be complete if you miss this one.
This book continues on where many others left off. It digs deep down and explores the areas that are ESSENTIAL to your understanding of COM's intricacies. Many insights given in this book are rare, and you probably won't find it elsewhere. If you are already familiar with COM, here is a book that surprisingly still intrigue you on the subjects that you think you already knew.
Though, I don't recommend this book for beginners. As the matter of fact, if I was new to COM and had to write a review for this book, I probably would have only given it 2 stars. It is not because the book is bad, it is simply that this is NOT one of those how-to-book. However, if your level is in the intermediate to advance, you will most definitely want this one.
So, if you do decide to get this book, here is my tip for reading it. Don't try to read the book from front to end, for you may not find enough momentum to get pass the second chapter - that is, if you not into theory and all. Instead, just jump to the chapters that interest you the most. Also note the chapters near the end are very addictive, so you may want to start the book from there. This is how I "re-gained" the incentive to finish the book. You welcome:)

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
What is your purpose for reading this book?

If your school uses this book as a text of a certain introductory cs course that you have to get a "good" grade for, you definitely want to have some help to understand it in such a short time. That is, at most, a 16 week semester.
On the other hand, if you really want to explore the world of programming on your time and on your own pace, it is the ultimate source of programming magic.
Some people from MIT and UC Berkeley say these wonderful things about this book, yet they are
only true when you are really after the knowledge not the grade.

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
Full of depth!

This book's coverage on intrusion detection is out of my expectation. It covers not only technical information on various attacks, but it also contains valuable materials on management issues. Topics on Mitnick Attack, Filters and Signatures, Future Directions, DOS, Business Case for Intrusion Detection are particular interesting and useful. Overall, this book is very well written and it will be useful to all of you who are network security practitioner or consultant.