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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Barry Gerber
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
From The Author

First I support a web site with additions and corrections to the book. There's lots of information there, based mostly on comments and questions from readers. You can find the site at http://bgerber.com/Ex2003AddCorrect.htm. Page past the hot news section for a numbered list of very specific questions followed by answers.
The comments that have been expressed about my book "Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2003" are interesting. They seem to come from two basic types of readers: those that have a hands-on job to do and those focusing on the Exchange Server certification process.
The book is for those who have a hands-on job to do -- install and run Exchange Server. Comments I receive from readers with that task, especially those starting anew with Exchange Server are almost always complementary. They also ask questions to which I usually respond quickly.
Hands-on people looking for a more advanced book on Exchange Server 2003, should read Jim McBee's "Exchange Server 2003 24seven," also from Sybex. I was privileged to work with Jim on this edition of his book and am listed as a contributing author on the cover.
People who are collecting facts for certification tests should turn to the many books on Exchange certification. There isn't time or space in a book the size of mine to deal with every detail of the Exchange system. For example, contrary to a comment by an earlier Amazon reviewer, you can actually upgrade an Exchange 5.5 system to Exchange 2000 or 2003, operate it successfully and ultimately remove 5.5 components without knowing that SRS, the Site Replication Service, participates in Exchange 5.5-Exchange 2000 or 2003 data replication. Certification is valuable, but it can't replace hands-on experience when it comes time to do a real job.
I have successfully planned, installed and supported Exchange systems for a number of medium and large user-base clients for 10 years. I also do Exchange Server security breach forensics. As one with a set of hands-on jobs to do, I have written a book for that sort of person.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
My 2 cents on Learning Perl

first of all, I'd like to say that I was once one of those people that thought Learning Perl was too hard and had an excessive amount of Unix, C and other Unix related languages. At that time, I had 0% knowledge of Unix, and despite what the authors said in the foreword, saying they removed many of the Unix referrences, I could still find wayyy too many.
I struggled through Chapter 1, finally finishing it. Then, came monster #2, Chapter 2. I finished it a week later and Chapter 3 took me the same time. Chapter 4 took me three days to finish and understand, and I constantly had to go back to see what the authors meant in an example or exactly WHAT they were talking about. I struggled on and on until Chapter 7, where I gave up. After a couple of weeks passed, I decided to give Learning Perl a second try. I reread from scratch, and wow, was it easy! I still had no knowledge of Unix, but rereading it the second time was so much easier and I read Chapters 2 and 3 in 3 days or so. I was able to read the whole book, struggling ALOT on Regular Expressions, getting confused along the way, struggling. Chapter 14 was way too confusing, even though by the time I got to it I already had Linux and very few Unix knowledge; Chapter 14 was too technical on signals and low level programming and high level programming, things a newbie wouldn't understand.
But I didn't wine about this. Instead, I thanked the author. See, you're learning Perl, while learning Unix here. The difficulty level of the book is one of those barriers you have to overcome. Difficulty isn't necessairily bad. Training a newbie to have good foundations from the start is a good thing. Once that barrier is broken, one can understand difficult concepts instead of getting stuck later on in life and being laughed at for not knowing Perl.
All in all, this book was great. Remember, hard isn't necessairily always bad.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Data Warehouse Toolkit: The Complete Guide to Dimensional Modeling (Second Edition)
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Ralph Kimball, Margy Ross
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Ultimate Powerhouse

This book deserves merely a one sentence review."Simply awesome" . As one of my friends had to say,"We depend on Ralph Kimball for our livelihood"!
This IS the book on Data warehousing. Follow this bookand you will never fail. I have had solutions to allof my design issues from this one book.
A must to every IT professional's personal library,not necessarily restricted to DW professionals

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Envisioning Information
Publisher: Graphics Press
Authors: Edward R. Tufte
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Read to Learn, Read to Enjoy

... though there are plenty others in the book that are fascinating.
I flipped open the book just now and arrived at a discussion of whether Maya Ying Lin's Vietnam Memorial should have had the names ordered by date of death or alphabetically. As there were over 600 Smiths who died in Vietnam and 16 James Joneses, an alphabetical listing would have given the memorial the flavor of a telephone directory.
Tufte persuasively argues and demonstrates how graphic design and information presentation affects thinking, decision-making, and emotion.