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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCSA/MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-290): Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Dan Holme, Orin Thomas
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Studying for MCSE

If you have no experience with Windows 2000 or 2003 you will not pass the exam regardless of which text you buy. I am studying for the MSCE in Windows Server 2003. This text covers all of the objectives for the 70-290 exam. This book also includes a Prometric exam discount voucher and a set of practice questions on the CD in addition to those in the text.
The exam objectives listed on Microsoft's site are covered by this text. The coverage is not deep, but is adequate for those that are attempting the exam who have experience with the operating system. Unexperienced candidates are wasting their time on the new MS certifications and should get some hands on before heading off to the testing center.
The questions in the second part of the book appear well written. They mirror some of the lengthy questions on the actual exam and this aspect of the text was refreshing. Most certification textbooks skimp on the practice questions adding them as an afterthought rather than a feature. To many books ask questions like "what does DNS stand for" and "where would you use DHCP". The first time I tried many of them I got them wrong. When I was getting them right I tried the exam and passed. Until the Transcenders are released, finding good questions will be difficult. Resources like this text are quite valuable.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Windows Forms Programming in C#
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Chris Sells
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
A lot of staff and a little of substance

This book covers a lot of topics from how to create a rectangle to custom controls to XML and resources. I primarily bought this book to understand how to manipulate windows user interface on the control level. Unfortunately book doesn't provide enough information about exposed methods of controls and doesn't tell you how to override their behavior. The examples given in the book are very short and do not allow you to see the full workings of the class or method being described.

This book has a lot of 5 star reviews. This was the reason why I bought it, so may be there is something there for you, but I'm talking it back to amazon and hope to get something better for my purpose.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MySQL (3rd Edition) (Developer's Library)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Paul DuBois
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The only MySQL book you will ever need!

Paul DuBois does an excellent job of providing a thorough introduction to MySQL. This is one of two technical books that I have been truly satisfied with, the other being Friedl's _Mastering Regular Expressions_. If you have a limited budget (or limited time to read) and are using MySQL in web development, buy this book.
I was somewhat hesitant to purchase a text on MySQL. Having seven years experience using databases for GIS analysis, I thought that I had a good fundamental understanding of database design. Reading the first section of _MySQL_ made me realise how much I had been missing. The text is liberally interspersed with examples of SQL that were very valuble in pointing out language concepts that I had missed. However, the thing that I found the most appealing about this book was the author's writing style. DuBois balances the extremely technical subject matter with a commentary that makes you want to keep reading. This is something that is sorely missing in most technical writing; I felt like I was reading a good novel.
The features that I found to be most useful in this text were the sections on query optimisation and complex joins. As someone with little formal education in database design, I had always been a little afraid of these concepts. DuBois has helped me conquor my fear and raise these considerations to the forefront of my consciousness when building new applications. I also use the extensive references included in the book as part of my day-to-day work. They are well organised, well written, and are easily accessed by way of a comprehensive index.
I have to admit that I have not read the middle third of the book. To most this would seem a waste, but I have no interest in system administration, and already have a good grasp of how to interface programs with databases. If I ever have time to come back and read the other sections I will. Until then I will rest easy in the assurance that the knowledge I have gained from this book already is worth far more than the price I paid for it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Visual Studio Hacks
Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates
Authors: James Avery
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very Useful Information

This is a great resource for making the Visual Studio IDE even better than it already is. Highly recommended.