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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Windows 2000 Device Driver Book: A Guide for Programmers (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Art Baker, Jerry Lozano
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
OK, I'll chime in


It's a great BEGINNER'S book on NT device drivers. There's no better book to START FROM. It's a noticeable improvement over the previous edition, it's cleaner, corrected, it's updated for Win2K, it's better made, easier on eyes, pictures are better too. There's practically nothing negative I can say about this book.
Some reviewers complained that it doesn't cover this or that (network drivers, for example.) Well, it's an INTRODUCTORY book. It sticks to the core NT driver area (and as such, it'll be sufficient for 90% of what most people have to deal with.) Here I'd like to stress that I don't mean it's too shallow, it's fine, rather, it's not all-encompassing. But an all-ancompassing book would probably take 10,000 pages while you want to start small so as not to be swamped. Check the DDK out -- and it's not all-encompassing either -- it's a 5-piece book set! (And I wouldn't call it very readable :-) So, yes, the book is somewhat limited in scope, but within its scope, it's plenty profound.
Therefore, my very strict evaluation goes thusly: it's a good book, the best one to start from, and it's one that is good to have in general, whether just starting or not. Kudos to the author, with this edition - especially to Jerry, who, after reading both editions I feel, did the bulk of updating.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows Scripting Self-Paced Learning Guide
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Ed Wilson
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Frustrating and incomplete.


This book is a double failure.

It fails as a learning guide by neglecting to discuss important basics necesary for all non-trivial scripting, (e.g. how to include a " character in a string) leaving the reader who departs even a little from the labs totally stranded.

It is also useless as a working reference. Nowhere will you find summaries of operators, data types, reserved words, syntax or useful functions. The cutesy chapter names make it hard to even find the long-winded descriptions of what you need a quick refresher on.

Don't get it.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Head First Java, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
This book is entertaining but who proofreads these books?


I am almost half-way through this book, and the first thing that I want to mention is that this book IS entertaining. On nights when I have been totally exhausted, this book compelled me to sit up for yet another hour reading it. In my prior two or three years of trying to learn programming and specifically OOP I didn't learn as much as I have in this book. That is how good this book is, especially for the beginner to programming.
On to the bad. Wow, the spelling and grammar in this book is appalling. You have to wonder, as creative writers as Kathy and Bert are (Kathy founded the www.javaranch.com website), why did they not at LEAST check to see that the code printed in this book compiles? It royally pisses me off to do a "Code Magnets" puzzle (where you take scrambled pieces of code that fell off a refrigerator, and assemble the pieces to get the displayed output), bang my head for an hour over why I can't successfully compile a program that has: an ArrayList object is created in one method and a copy of the reference to that object in another method is inside of a for loop that uses the actual object reference, ONLY to turn to the next page of the book out of frustration (I don't cheat on these puzzles) and see that the for loop was incorrectly printed in the book.
If I can't have faith in the authors of the book, how am I supposed to have faith that I will learn the Java programming language? If you turn to the index of the book, you will find that the material referenced is NOT on the same page as the index says it is on. This is a big time-waster. My conclusion at this point is that while the authors of the book are indeed enthusiastic about teaching Java, you would think that people who teach Java at SUN would at least be careful enough to assure that their book is a reliable one.
I would seriously think about purchasing a Java programming book written by authors other than the ones who wrote this one, in the future. In the near future I will be back to revise my review of this book, as others for this book have done.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming the Perl DBI
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Alligator Descartes, Tim Bunce
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
O'Reilly Does it Again


This book is a quick introduction on how to write Perl programs that access databases using the Perl DBI. The first half of the book is instructional, and the last half is a reference for the different DBI's (Sybase, Oracle, DB2, etc).
Programming for the Perl DBI is another fantastic book from O'Reilly. It's an informative read, and a great reference.