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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: eBay(TM) Strategies : 10 Proven Methods to Maximize Your eBay Business
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Scot Wingo
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good book


This book was written for the advanced ebay user. The author decided to initially focus on a junior in high school before doing some case studies of larger businesses at the end. I feel the chapter reviews were unnecessary and more hypotheticals would have been nice, but overall an interesting book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XSLT
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Doug Tidwell
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Short on Explanation!!


The author seems to take for granted that the reader already knows XSLT. While there is a comprehensive list on XPath, the author doesn't provide enough examples on how the different expressions works. When one comes across a complicated XPath expression in one of his code examples, one is often left wondering what it means. Perhaps the author could help his readers out by taking the time to explain his approach in greater detail instead of just dumping the code on our laps.
Also, I tried out a lot of the examples in the book - both typing them out manually by hand and using the ones downloaded form the website, and a lot of them simply won't work! I end up spending more energy troubleshooting my code than actually understanding what's going on. Needless to say, it's endlessly frustrating, and I'm ready to go back to JSP and Servlets.
Finally, there's a lack of proper reference to the examples given in the book. A lot of guess work is involved in finding the correct piece of code from the downloaded examples that corresponds with the ones in the book.
I recommend this book only if 1. You already know XSLT and have some extra money to throw away, or 2. You're masochistic and is seeking to be frustrated with a futile pursuit.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Inside C#, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: ANDREW WHITECHAPE TOM ARCHER
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Very introductory book


If you want an easy to read introductory book on C#, this is probably the best so far. If you want to learn how to build real world apps, look elsewhere, as this book does not cover the .NET Framework classes.
This bears repeating: This book focuses on C# and not the .NET Framework classes. It is useful for learning C#, but it is not useful for learning how to build business apps. As all of your data access is folded up into the .NET Framework classes, you will not learn data access from this book.
While most of the code is simple enough to work under beta 2, the book was written using beta 1. I have yet to run into code that blows up (technical term ;->) under b2, but it is possible. Since it does not cover the Framework, it is probably safe.
The strong part of the book is the breakdown of both beginning and intermediate concepts and the plethora of code samples (have to install from the CD to use). Each concept has at least one sample, and some concepts have many more, each building on the first.
I have to rate this book as average, as it does not quite measure up completely to the cover copy. I kicked it up one star (to four) as it is an Inside book, which are typically aimed towards the developer/user that is just starting out in a technology. I would have knocked off stars if the code would not compile under b2, as it comes out in the next few weeks. Since it covers the language more than the Framework, this is not an issue.
I am sure there are those who think this rating is a bit high, but let me explain. If you are advanced, or have played with C#, this book is not for you. As it is not aimed for the advanced market, per se, I cannot fault the book for what it is.
Conclusion: If you want to learn the C# language and syntax, this is not a bad book. As it does not touch the .NET Framework classes, it will not be completely obsolete in a month, as will large sections of every other C# book. If you are interested in learning more about the Framework classes, and building real world apps, I would wait until the next round of books come out. Those in the next couple of months will most likely either be rushed or error ridden, so watch the reviews before buying.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-290): Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Dan Holme, Orin Thomas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
It was everything I needed to pass.


I thought that Holme and Thomas did an excellent job of writing a book designed to help students prepare for and pass the 70-290 exam. They provide a credible alternative to memorizing the thousands of pages in the win2003 Admin Companion, Deployment Kit, Security Guide, etc. The authors were able to distill it down to a dozen or so chapters, plus additional recommended readings before taking the test. Some other reviews seem to criticize it for being disjointed, but the book is clearly designed to help you pass the test, not administer a server (there are lots of other good books for that). Two weeks after buying this book I passed the test on my first try. 'Nuff said.