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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: A. Anthony Bruno, Anthony Bruno
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
A TON of errors

Great Cisco! What in God's name were you guys drinking when editing this book? I'm on pg. 100 and I've counted at least 5 errors so far. And judging from the content I'm reading, it really doesn't seem like CCIE information but more like CCNP. Maybe they want to raise the failure-rate for the CCIE written exam by publishing this book....who knows. IMHO, this book should have been twice as thick for the amount of information required for the CCIE test.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Rational Unified Process Made Easy: A Practitioner's Guide to Rational Unified Process
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Per Kroll, Philippe Kruchten
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A goal oriented guide to RUP

This is a good book telling the philosophy behind RUP. And it also gives some practical advice to adopt, config and apply RUP.Although it is not a thorough description of RUP because it doesn't systematicly describe the disciplines in RUP, it provides some other reference. A good book for RUP beginners.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, Volume 2, Patterns for Concurrent and Networked Objects
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Douglas Schmidt, Michael Stal, Hans Rohnert, Frank Buschmann
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
hard to read - poorly written

Doug Schmidt is a world authority on Corba and a helpful and unassuming person; so I was eager to get this book since he is listed as one of four co-authors. However after 1 1/2 years of sitting on my shelf and not being used much, I think someone needs to point out to the editor, that it is not very readable. The GOF patterns book (by Vlissides) was a pleasure and easy to read. However this book is full of bewildering sentences like (page 217, 2nd sentence, 1st para). Exact quote:
"When asynchronous service processing completes, the application must handle the corresponding completion events delivered by the operating system to indicate the end of the asynchronous computations."
If most of the reader's mental effort is spent in parsing such sentences, rather than grappling with concepts, then the purpose is lost. The hallmark of a skillful writer lies in being able to explain great (though complex) concepts clearly.It is puzzling because Prof. Schmidt's papers are clearly written; "too many co-authors spoil the broth" :)

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCSA/MCSE Windows XP Professional Study Guide, Second Edition (70-270)
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Lisa Donald, James Chellis
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Crap, but sadly the best available

In order to appreciate a review, I believe it's necessary to understand reviewer's perspective. In my case I am NOT someone who already passed the exam and therefore loves whatever book got me there. Nor am I someone who just failed the exam and needs to tear apart the piece of junk that lead me to failure. I'm like you- looking for the best book to study and learn from so that I may pass the exam with as little struggle as possible.
One final cautionary note: Some reviewers out there, especially a few famed Top Reviewers, seem to never have met a book they didn't like. Their reviews are filled will comments like, "oh this book is great to supplement the class I'm teaching..." or something similar. My advice is to take this information with a grain-of-salt. The fact that so-and-so thought a book was a great edition to their collection says nothing of its real value to someone in my or your position. On with the review!
Lisa Donald is another very knowledge techie who can't write to save her life. A lot of this book is a poor summation from Microsoft's own technical reference library. I know this to be true because I constantly referenced Microsoft's website to gain further clarification from the often obtusely explained material in this book.
Check out this sentence, chpt. 2, p. 47, in reference to the /checkupgradeonly switch used with the winnt32 command:
"Used to check the current operating system forupgrade compatibility with the hardware and softwarethat is currently installed and will be upgraded towindows XP professional."
Why not just say, "Checks currently installed OS, hardware and software for its ability to be upgraded to XP"
The book is filled with verbose statements like this. Fortunately in this case the sentence is still understandable. Unfortunately, most of the other poorly written pages are nearly indecipherable. I love this one from chpt. 5, page 178. Here Lisa is describing the two sets of files that are used with Windows XP Multilanguage Version:
"Language groups, which contain the fonts and files required to process and display specific languages.
Windows XP Professional Multilanguage Version files, which contain the language content required by the user interface...."
Seems simple enough on the surface, but try to explain to somebody how these two descriptions are really different. Such an attempt would require actually understanding the difference between these two sets of files: Language Groups and Win XP Pro Multilanguage Version files.
Lets look at Language Groups. Looks like Lisa is saying that Language groups contain fonts for different languages so they can be displayed. Ok, no problem- now lets look at what the other sets of files do: Contain language content (what's that if not fonts???) required by the User Interface (how is that different than displaying them???).
What's lacking here is an explanation. The author does not concern herself with ensuring that the information she is providing imparts understanding or learning. This pattern continues throughout the text- it is almost devoid of comparisons to real life or easy to understand examples that would help relate the material to the reader.
On the somewhat bright side, the book is well organized and seems very detailed (although it isn?t complete). The old adage of never rely on one book to prepare for a certification exam certainly applies here. I found several errors, mostly due to the mind-numbingly poor attempt to write clearly, instead of out right inaccuracies (although those exist as well.)
The other good news (at least for the author) is that to the best of my knowledge, there aren't any decent study guides out there for the 70-270 exam. Exam Cram 2 publishes their indispensable review of the exam, but this is not intended to be a one stop shopping book, only a review book.
That having been said, go ahead a buy Lisa Donald's "MSCA/MCSE Windows XP Pro Study Guide", just don't expect much. While you are at it, pick up "Exam Cram 2: MCSE 70-270 Windows XP Professional". The Exam Cram 2 book is really great- well written, easy to follow, clear explanation, better coverage than this Sybex book and directions on where to find more detailed information at the end of each chapter. Finally, check out the Transcender Practice Exams, they are the best in the business for practice exams but also the most expensive (along with Self-Test, who are both owned by Kaplan.)
I hope this helps and good luck with the exam!