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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows 2000 MCSE Core Requirements Training Kit (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors:
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Read the Book, Study the Book then Flunk the Test


Not very well written. Other Microsoft Press books that I have bought in the past were much better. It seems that it is the main point of these books to confuse you on basic concepts, then not tell you anything that you really need to know to certify. I think MS is starting to hire writers rather that computer specialist to author their books. I passed my test but it is a good thing that I did not rely solely on this "official" study guide.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Access 2000 Developer's Handbook Volume 1: Desktop Edition
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Paul Litwin, Ken Getz, Mike Gilbert
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
For every Access developer


There have been a lot of reviews, but to echo them, if you can only get one book, then get this one.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days (4th Edition) (Sams Teach Yourself)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Rogers Cadenhead, Laura Lemay
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Confusing for beginners, and not much better for others


I'd only recommend Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days if nothing else is available.
First, let me say that a few have eluded to the "cutesy" writing style the authors intersperse throughout this book. It's not as sickening as they claim; in fact, it's actually one of the saving graces of the book, adding enough humor and "down-to-earthness" to keep the reader somewhat interested in it.
My beef is the confusing teaching style Lemay and Cadenhead present. It often leaves the reader frustrated and perplexed by jumping around back and forth in the book searching for a clear explanation on how to do anything within Java. Here's what I mean: frequently, new terminology is only briefly touched upon within a chapter (and it usually doesn't tie in directly with the chapter's subject matter), only to abruptly conclude with "We'll get into this topic more tomorrow" or "we'll cover this more next week". When the topic is reconvened later, you're automatically expected to have a thorough knowledge of it. This leaves you thumbing through previous pages trying to look for any detailed explanation on it. I found that the first seven chapters are especially good (or should I say bad) at this. I can realistically say that at the end of the first week, some beginners still won't know the differences between variables, statements, and methods -- all basic elements taught "in detail".
The examples sometimes include elements that aren't even mentioned until several chapters later. As you're going through lines of code, there's the odd syntax with no details on what it actually does within the example. You're just excepted to accept it. If you're new to Java, and like to know what's going on at all times, this would prove to be quite mind-boggling. While this is admittedly unavoidable, there are so many times the authors could've started out with simple concepts (and examples to match them) and "build up" gradually.
Speaking of the examples -- I feel there should have been more in each chapter. Unless you're the type who remembers everything after being told only once, you'd need more examples and sample applications and applets to help the material "sink in".



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Visual Basic 6 for Dummies (for Windows)
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Wallace Wang
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
For Dummies


I was somewhat surprised about some of the reviews saying that is was too elementary; the title says VB for DUMMIES! I thought the book was a good starting book, but wished there were more coding involved especially in the later chapters. I was also a little put off by some of the examples that seemed a little unprofessional (refer to page 107 and 118 for examples) But overall it was a good book for the beginner.