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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Very close and gets the cigar!!!

I passed the a+ exams on 8/18/00 with the new adaptive testing format using this book, and by taking a class. In my opinion, this book is absolutely great for studying with, I read it once through, reread about 50% of it before the test, then looked at all the instant answers right before the test. The Cheat Sheet is very good, as well. However, some of the answers in the book contradict each other. For instance, four times it is stated that the maximum length of a parallel cable should be 15 feet (even in the final test review in the back of the book!), but at another point in the book it says that some will say 15 feet (*AHEM* THE BOOK IN PREVIOUS CHAPTERS!) but stick with 10 feet f for the test! Well, which is it!?! Also, sometimes on the test sections, the answers are flat wrong, or instead of using check boxes, they used the radio circles indicating only one correct answer rather than multiple correct answers. This is VERY frustrating! Also, the book did not mention anything about hex mode for printers, which was on my test. However, I took a class to supplement the book, so I knew the answer. In conclusion, these errors make up perhaps 1% of all the facts in the book. I must emphasize this book really emphasizes what will be on the test. It does not try to cover everything you could possibly be tested on. Other books will have every little thing you could possibly want to know for the test. This makes it impossible to weigh the importance of certain facts. For instance, you would not know if knowing your memory addresses or IRQ's is more important (by the way, IRQ's are much more important with the exception of memory addresses of the com and lpt ports). I recommend supplementation in conjunction with this book, but you most certainly can pass the test with this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Object Oriented Perl
Publisher: Manning Publications
Authors: Damian Conway
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Best Perl OOP book.

I pick up this book to learn Perl out of necessity and to see what Perl has to offer in terms of OOP.Having programmed in VB, C,C++, Java, C#, Forth,Pascal,etc I would say that honestly, Perl is very prone to bugs and hard to read(least readable lanaguage I have seen) and maintain. About the only advantage I see is that it's wide legacy code base in Unix platforms and its terseness(if you feel smart writing cryptic code). In my opinion,honestly, C/C++ code is easier to read because of its stricter syntax.The OOP in Perl is added as an afterthought and is not clean and there's messy embodiment of complex scaffolding as one reviewer correctly pointed out.If you have to maintain legacy Perl code and need to write some out of neccessity, this book has much to offer. I like the diagrams and illustrations in it. The author goes to great length to explain things.
If you like clean OOP language, skip Perl and use Java/C# instead. But if you still want a scripting language like Perl, try Python or Ruby instead.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Classical Electrodynamics
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John David Jackson
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not for everyone

My first warning is that Jackson's text makes a terrible reference. If you want to thumb through to find a little nugget of information, you're going to get really really frustrated.

My second warning is that Jackson's text is, from a pedagogical standpoint, pretty lousy. It's not the book's intent to try to impart any physical intuition or knowledge of how E+M works. Deep familiarity and comfort with the foundations of E+M is an aboslute requirement. Jackson gives an extraordinarily rigorous exploration of various topics in E+M, but there's absolutely no pandering to the reader, and very little discussion outside of the mathematics.

What is this book good for, then? For most physics graduate students, the answer is "not very much." If you make it through the book, you'll have a great many powerful mathematical tools at your disposal to deal with many obscure E+M problems. However, there's really not much more value than that. It's not going to improve your physical intuition, your mathematical intuition, or your basic grasp of physics. This really shouldn't be the standard graduate E+M text; it's trying to teach a level or proficiency that 95% of physicists will never need.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Applied XML Programming for Microsoft .NET
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Dino Esposito, Dino Esposito
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
For Advanced readers only

I am a proficient MSXML coder but i can't get what I want (knowledge about .Net XML programming objects) from this book because the author habitually relies on advanced concepts from related technologies to explain things. So unless you are a pretty competent .Net programmer and already proficient in ADO.Net/ADO you will struggle to understand this book and struggle to understand the significance of what you are being told and why. I gave up and resorted to looking for articles on MSDN. Undoubtedly there is good stuff here but Mr Esposito writes as an extremely knowledgeable person for the already extremely knowledgeable person only.