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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java (tm) Certification
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid A. Mughal, Rolf W. Rasmussen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good book to learn java if you already have programming exp

Some months ago I purchased "A Programmers Guide to Java Certification". Working through it in preparation to take the Sun Programmer Certification exam, I have found this to be an excellent book, very well-written, very readable, very thorough and with excellent program code examples which illustrate the subtle points really well. I cannot praise it highly enough.
I'm 50 years old, with 20 years experience of COBOL programming and should point out that I have not read any other similar books and haven't actually taken the SJPC exam yet, so cannot comment on how well it prepared me for this. However, with no commercial Java programming experience, this book has made me confident about taking the exam - an exam which Sun Microsystems says cannot be taken without programming experience.
Prior to starting the book, I had completed course M874, a postgraduate course on Java, with the Open University in England. This Java 1.1 course only covered the language basics however. The book provides the rigourous, no-nonsense, complete story on each aspect of the Java language syntax. It repays close attention to the code examples.
Note however that not all of the book is relevant to the exam, so you can leave some chapters (Swing, Graphics, etc) until after the exam. There is an appendix to cross-reference the exam objectives to the relevant chapters, but please note that since the first edition, the Programmer Certification exam objectives have changed, so that chapter 18 Files and Streams is now relevant to the exam.
Thus the book not only covers all of the exam objectives, but also has chapters which cover other essential aspects of Java.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Michael Meyers, Scott Jernigan
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Book Was Over My Head........

This book turned out to be an oversized paper weight. It over covers the basics, and wastes lots of space talking in detail about long out of date "historical" info. The author spends too much time writing about detailed situations and personal experiences rather then getting to the point. I think he likes to hear himself talk? I passed both parts of the test but it had very little to do with what was in this book. Since the tests require the taker to be prepared for 80 questions out of 1000, the less that has to be read ensures the more important information that will be retained. Many of the topics and details covered on the test aren't even in this book. I don't know what other book to suggest, I just know that this one isn't sufficient to do the job of aiding a newcomer in passing the test. Maybe it's fine for someone with years of experience but not for a beginner.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen, Marie Tahir
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Jakob is not all he's cracked up to be

HAve you seen this guy's site, useit.com? That says it all concerning his abilities. He loves to see his name and pictures in print, and that is very obvious from checking out his site.

I would not buy his books, nor listen to any of his advise. At best he can offer tips for designing handicapped accesible sites, but that's about it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML 4 for Dummies, Fourth Edition
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ed Tittel, Natanya Pitts, Ed Tittel
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
First let me be absolutely clear...

All dummies books. I think it's insulting and arrogant to place the reader in the position of claiming to be stupid in order to obtain information about something. It would show more respect (and therefore be deserving of money earned from sales) if titles were something like "HTML Simplified" or something.
There! I'm glad I FINALLY got that off my chest.
All that said, I bought this because it was required in an online course I took. (I resent the title so much it actually hurt to pay for it. I may not know much about computers, but that doesn't mean I'm a dummy.)
As I went through it I decided the dummy isn't the reader at all. I leave it to you to decide just who is! Compare this book to Jakob Nielsen's DESIGNING WEB USABILITY (subtitle: The Practice of Simplicity)and it comes out sadly lacking. In DUMMIES the humor is strained and sometimes inappropriate (tests should be serious)and there's too much repetition (stating something twice -- the second time as a reminder -- is plenty). As far back as Chapter 20 the authors are still saying things like, "Going easy on the graphics, bells, whistles and hungry T.Rexes."
Web design is fun. It's easy to learn. But that doesn't mean that because you don't understand it, you're dumb. It just means you ought to buy a different book on the subject, one that shows respect for the reader.