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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Effective Java Programming Language Guide
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Joshua Bloch
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The best book on how to program in Java

I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about programming, languages, style, etc. This book is without question the best thing I've read about how to program in Java.
The book contains 57 suggestions on what to do or not to do when writing Java code. Most are common sense, though not all -- the material on serialization was new to me, for example. But it's common sense that's developed over time, and much of it is not obvious until you have a lot of experience using the language. Even then, it's worth reading; I consider myself a fairly experienced Java programmer, and I'd say that a quarter of the book was new material for me. Even when I knew a technique he was recommending, it was really good to read the arguments Bloch made for doing something in a particular way. And I found that I agree with almost everything he wrote.
The book is very Java-specific. Some of the tips generalize to other, similar, object-oriented languages, or to systems with similar thread models, but, by and large, this is nitty gritty Java hacking. I like that: it allows Block to be concrete in what he says. And, unlike most of the stuff written by JavaSoft employees, this book does not try to pretend that Java is flawless, which is a refreshing perspective; see, for example, his discussion of the Cloneable interface.
What's best about the book is that it encodes a lot of the lore and feel of the language: how to use it in practice.
If you're working in Java, it belongs on your shelf next to the language specification, and those are the only two general books on the language you should need.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Cisco Access Control Security : AAA Administration Services
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Brandon Carroll
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Dummy's Guide to Cisco's ACS Product

As we enter the Twenty-First century, new issues and challenges await those in the Information Technology environment. Within the short few years that have already passed the need for more advanced and reliable security mechanisms are presented daily. As such, security has become a clear critical need for the continued operation of any business/organization and especially the information technology portion of the business. Brandon Carroll's book "Cisco Access Control Security: AAA Administration Services" provides a detailed guide for the implementation and deployment of a security solution developed and released by Cisco Systems. Within his book Cisco's Access Control Security or ACS as it is known, is detailed and presented from all aspects including, installation, configuration in various methods and daily use.

Within the book Brandon not only focuses on the application and all the items that make the Cisco's application special; but combines information on the features and components that make ACS important. His details supportive information needed to help System and Network Administrators make educated decisions on methods and purposes for the implementation of different methods of authentication from Cisco's proprietary TACACS+ to the IETF Radius protocol. Within the pages an I found information on how to establish Accounting passed on access groups and how to ensure different individuals are limited to select capabilities strictly based on the group they are in and permissions that group is provided.

Even if ACS itself is not your primary purpose for this book in the initial chapters offer sufficient information on other Cisco devices like routers and switches, that allow any individual to understand authentication and authorization features of the other devices. Brandon clearly researched these areas and provides this research to others by spending the entire chapter two (2) detailing the different commands that are affected by Authentication, Authorization and Accounting as they related to both TACACS+ and Radius. This level of detail is further demonstrated within the initial Section or Part of the book when Brandon explains other Radius applications that are not developed by Cisco, but supported by the Cisco products.

As I read the book it became clear that Brandon was not simply repeating what Cisco already provided on their web site, but he was going beyond the documentation to provide a level of detail that would make this almost a clear to understand dummy's guide to the product. In my belief this book makes an excellent supplement to the material and is clearly a must have for any Network Administrator/Engineer that needs to support Cisco's ACS product. Brandon's ability to detail in step by step procedures from installation to supporting the product enhances and defines the documentation already provided by Cisco is a clear advantage to this book. The only thing I wish I could have gotten with the book was a 90 day demo version of the product, but then again that is already available on the Cisco web site itself for download.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Linux Programming (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Richard Stones, Neil Matthew, Alan Cox
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This book is excellent for those who have a basic understanding on ANSI C, as well as the Unix/Linux operating system, and wish to begin programming for the platform. It is well written and touches on a wide variety of subjects such as sockets, X programming, CGI, shell scripting, etc. An excellent investment!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Rod Johnson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
I agree with all the other 5-star reviews

This is one of the best technical books I've ever read, regardless of topic. Johnson has an amazing technical mind and is a great writer, to boot. It has achieved the nickname "the red book" (as in "go see what the red book says") on my team, because that's where I send people for ideas and examples.
On the strength of this book, I selected the Spring Framework (an open source project based almost in whole on the concepts and code from this book) for my current team's project, and I have not one qualm about the decision. The team really loves Spring as well, and have become better programmers by having seen it in action.
A couple of weeks ago I preordered "Expert One-on-One J2EE Development without EJB", which should prove to have more up-to-date coverage on Spring and more great ideas from Johnson and Hoeller. I'm very much looking forward to it.