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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Jeffrey Richter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Well Worth It

For the first 17 or so chapters I felt this was a pretty good book, giving a little more detail on many topics than what is found in the vast majority of books and articles. Then I hit the chapter on exceptions and I became more enthusiastic. This is a good explanation of exactly what is going on inside .NET exceptions with examples of how to limit performance hits that I haven't seen anywhere else. Well beyond the typical "this is the try block, this is the catch block, this is how finally works - don't catch what you don't handle" litany.
Then I got to the chapter on garbage collection. Wow. Laid the whole topic bare with deep detail and concise explanations. I am now the office guru when it comes to how garbage collection is affecting our performance. This chapter alone may be worth the price of the book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire (Bpg-Other)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Cliff Atkinson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Ban da Dots

PowerPoint owns the presentation world.
We've been cocooned by a blue gradient screen with six or more bullet points feeding information.
Or so we've been lulled to believe.

Cliff Atkinson takes a well researched, but almost heretical stand that a presentation is a story and that too much data plastered on the screen, dulls the audience's soul and actually reduces comprehension and retention.

Beyond Bullets walks the reader through the story process and provides tools to structure presentations for maximum impact.

The "PowerPoint" part of the process is easy to follow, even for a novice.
The story telling sections will help improve the most experienced speaker's show.

"But what might not be evident in the simplicity of this slide is what happens when the audience experiences it along with your verbal explanation. Because the slide design is simple, the audience can quickly scan the headline and visual and understand the idea. Then their attention turns to the place you want it. - to <em>you</em>, the words you're saying, and the way the information relates to them. Instead of making everything explicit and obvious on the slides, you can leave the slides open to interpretation so the audience s dependent on you, and you on them.

What (the experts are) saying, basically, is that slides filled with bullet points create obstacles between presenters and audiences. You might want to be natural and relaxed when you present, but people say that bullet points make the atmosphere formal and stiff. You might aim to be clear and concise, but people often walk away from these presentations feeling confused and unclear. And you might intend to display the best of your critical thinking on a screen, but people say that bullet points "dumb down" the important discourse that needs to happen for our society to function well.

Somewhere in our collective presentation experience, we're not connecting the dots between presenters and audiences by using the conventional bullet points approach. This issue is of rising concern not only to individuals and audiences - even the major players of large organizations are taking notice of the problem. It seems that in every location where people meet, from small meeting rooms to board rooms to conference halls, people want a change."

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Mastering Windows 2000 Server
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Brian M. Smith, Doug Toombs, Mark Minasi
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Mastering Winsdow NT 2000 server

I don't know how to stretch this enough, but Mark Minasi is the best as far as the Microsoft NT (on both NT 4.0 and NT 5.0 - aka Windows NT 2000) subject is concerned. I have been a big fan of Mark for a long time. I believe I'm not the only one. I have encouraged my students to buy his books all the times.
The book is really thick, but Mark didn't leave any single page to be without a substantive amount of information. Moreover, Mark never leaved any subject to be touched lightly. Rather, Mark has proven over and over again on many of his books, not only on this one, that he would take time to go deep down to every single subject so that his reader will get the most out of it. (...) You can buy as many other books as you wish, but I can assure you that if you name anything that stands out on those books, I would be able to point out that thing has been covered, and covered rather deeply, in Marks' books without any problem.(...) Another thing, you can have a few laughs when reading Mark's book. This guy really has a very good sense of humor.
Thanks so much Mark.
Tam T. Nguyen, MCSE, MCP+I.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: David Hunter, Andrew Watt, Jeff Rafter, Kurt Cagle, Jon Duckett, Bill Patterson
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
A book of frustrations

If you are beginning XML this is not the book for you. The book contains a high number of errors in the examples. Keep away from this books second edition.