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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows Command-Line Administrator's Pocket Consultant (Pro - Administrator's PC)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: William R. Stanek
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Concise and Potent

This is a very well written book with every page being very useful and consise. Each page is a treasure, which is a far cry to a lot of tech books filled with fluff and opinion these days.

I am both a Solaris and Windows system administrator, and though I dearly love GUI interface to access complex things, I would not like to repeat these tasks on hundreds of desktops. With this book, I found that I could automate chores and remotely configure desktops. There are so many gems in this book, this is a MUST have for any PowerUser, Admin, or anyone simply wanting to use command-line alternatives.

In the beginning Stanek covers the differences between Windows and MS-DOS command shells (cmd vs command) and environments, Win2k3 Reskit, and Cmd Shell fundamentals (similar but slightly different that ol' DOS Batch files). He then jumps into (Chap 4) one of the most important topics, task scheduling from the command line, which is essential for automation, especially for backups, virus updates, etc. The following chapters, he covers topics like registry maintence, process management, event logging, disk maintences (RAID, partitioning, formatting, etc.). The process management part can be useful in killing spyware processes, especially for spyware that blocks out such functionality through the GUI.

My favorite sections that have the most impact for me is Active Directory tools (account creation, groups, etc.), printer management, and network management. I tried to figure out, for instance, the enigma of "netsh" command before without success, and this book helped me on that powerful tool. Now armed with this knowledge, I can remotely configure desktops IP addresses, and monitor the health of printers, without even getting out of my seat.

All in all, this book is excellent. Very well organized chapters and flow of information, and very well written. It's works both for general reading and also as a reference.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: CMP Books
Authors: Trish Meyer, Chris Meyer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Perfect for Users of All Levels

I've been using and teaching After Effects professionally for over five years now, and I'm thrilled that there's finally a quality book like this one. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced user, this book will save you time and teach you new tricks and techniques. Not only do Chris and Trish Meyer know their stuff, but they present it in a way that's both informative and entertaining. The bottom line is, if you use After Effects, you owe it to yourself to get this book. It's by far the best one out there on the subject, and I've read them all.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Training Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Que
Authors: Charles J. Brooks
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
I want you to pass

I took the hardware portion of the A+ certifcation test just a few days ago and passed. It wasnt by a big margin, but nevertheless I want you to pass so I'm writing this. I think this is a good book. One reason I bought it was because it was recently published(2004), however it's now 2005. I think they still use the 2003 objectives. One thing I like is that this book repeats concepts throughout several chapters. The practice test questions on the CDROM (PrepLogic)were good help to. I made sure I went through all of them. When you buy the book you get a discount on test vouchers when you purchace them through Marcraft (sp). Marcraft also sends you their own practice CD test questions which helps even though they are very similar to the ones on the PrepLogic CD which comes with the book. I have had some expericene with computers, but I really havent had on the job experience so thats why I wanted to get certified. The book goes into depth on a lot of stuff that I proabably have forgotton by now. There are a couple of test questions on the test that I dont recall seeing anywhere in the book. If you really buckle down you can pass. I guess like everyone else I would reccommend another book, although I just used the book and 2 practice cd tests.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential COM
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Don Box
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Useful foundation

On the whole this book is a good intro into the challenging world of COM.
A few flaws in the technical content mar its utility as a serious reference, notably the incorrect explanation of the mechanics of standard marshalling.
If you're learning the concepts of COM, buy this book. If you are already expert, and are looking to delve even deeper, don't bother: read the COM specification and crank up the compiler.