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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Core Requirements, Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Zacler. Craig, J.C. MacKin, Ian McLean, Microsoft Corporation, Dan Holme, Orin Thomas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
1500 practice questions and 15% off exam fee discounts!

Just the sheer number of practice questions alone makes it worthwhile to buy this set from Microsoft but adding the 15% off exam fee discount voucher makes it really hard to resist buying this set. If you actually take all 4 exams and buy this set from Amazon, your cost is 60% off the list price! But after comparing the number of practice questions from other vendors, I found that it is definitely worth buying this set.
Even though these books are intended to train you in the Windows Server 2003 Operating System, I found that it is better to have either 'Windows Server 2003 Administrator's Companion' from Microsoft or 'Mastering Windows Server 2003' from Sybex as a reference guide and use this set mostly for review and exam preparation. After comparing the two reference books, I found the book from Sybex to be better as its coverage is more extensive than the book from Microsoft.
The four exams covered in this set are 'Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment', 'Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure', 'Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure', and 'Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure'. They are exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, and 70-294 respectively.
The books are made of very thin paper and are all paperback editions. This makes it easy to carry the individual books around. This is especially important considering that there are 4000 pages in the whole set and imagine what the hardcover editions with heavy paper would feel like! There are 2 CDs that come with the set. One has a 180 day trial version of Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and the other has the 1500 practice exam questions and several good ebooks. All four books are in searchable and printable electronic formats that are supposed to be Pocket PC-ready. The extra ebooks are 'Microsoft Encyclopedia of Security', 'Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking, Second Edition', and 'Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Sampler'. This last ebook contains excerpts from other Microsoft reference books. But the first two are worth quite a few dollars if you purchase them separately! There are several white papers and miscellaneous software on the second CD-ROM on top of what I already described above.
This training kit assumes that the readers have a minimum of 12 to 18 months of administering Windows technologies in a networked environment and an understanding of Active Directory. I am still looking for a good book on Active Directory Infrastructure.
Each book has its own unique and specific hardware requirements but to illustrate, they recommend that you have two computers to learn from the 70-290 book. One computer needs to have the server installed with a specific name (Server01) and the domain controller in a specific domain. This may make it difficult to use a work computer for training purposes unless your boss lets you have a dedicated computer or these requirements don't affect what's already on the server. The other computer should ideally have a Windows XP client for the optional hands-on exercises.
Each book follows a lesson style format with each chapter having several lessons. Every lesson has an estimated time at the beginning that may not be that accurate depending on your level of experience. Each lesson has several tasks with the concepts and the step by step instructions explained in a easy to understand manner.
Beginners may be able to do okay with the 70-290 book but intermediate to advanced users will definitely be more comfortable with the other three books. I am finding the 70-291 and 70-293 the hardest probably due to my background.
Overall, I think this set is definitely worth purchasing as I haven't run into any good competing books yet. But the price and the number of questions included make it extremely WORTHWHILE to purchase this set. Not to mention the additional free ebooks that you would have to pay for otherwise! If you are planning on taking the MCSA/MCSE exams, definitely get this set. If you are just trying to learn Windows Server 2003 from this set, I believe that there are better books out there. Good luck with your training and exams!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: eBay for Dummies, Fourth Edition
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Marsha Collier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Thorough new edition of the fact filled Ebay classic

It is filled with helpful information and links. I was so scared to start using ebay, but this book has set my mind at ease. Thank you so much...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ColdFusion MX Web Application Construction Kit, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Macromedia Press
Authors: Ben Forta, Nate Weiss, Leon Chalnick, Angela C. Buraglia
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Perhaps the best computer related book I have ever read.

I am relatively new to the world of ColdFusion. In my research before purchasing a ColdFusion book I was overwhelmed at how many people recommended this book to start with. While it's size may be a tad bit scary at first, you quickly find yourself immersed in an engaging and even entertaining read.
The book doesn't drive readers away with computer lingo that only the nerdiest of the nerds can understand, but rather uses common day to day phrases that even newcomers to the web development arena can understand. It has excellent real world examples given for almost all the instructions presented. It tells you how to do it, but also tells you why you should do it a certain way as opposed to another way.
I also appreciated that Ben didn't get technical for the sake of being technical. I have read many computer books where you feel the author is just trying to impress people with his knowledge. Ben presents the material in more of a flavor of someone that is truly interested in seeing you progress in knowledge and be successful in your endeavors to learn ColdFusion.
I also appreciated the coverage of SQL in the book. I had very little knowledge of SQL before I started reading it. I was surprised by a couple of the reviewers wishing the SQL had been left out. I feel this would have been a tremendous mistake. Having a basic fundamental knowledge of SQL is only going to help a CF developer write quality apps. The book does not get bogged down in SQL, it just presents the basics and gives examples of how to do the most common things in SQL. I feel it was a necessary couple of chapters that made things more clear later on down the line.
I also just recently purchased the Advanced version of this book and am looking forward to reading it. I highly recommend this book for ColdFusion beginners and for those that dabble in CF from time to time.
If your already proficient with CF, you probably will want to go with his advanced book.
No complaints from this reader whatsoever. For those that don't know, I'll add this... this book is the best selling ColdFusion book of all time. That says something about its quality.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Business of Software : What Every Manager, Programmer, and Entrepreneur Must Know to Thrive and Survive in Good Times and Bad
Publisher: Free Press
Authors: Michael A. Cusumano
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Thinking of starting a software business? Read this.

This book is an excellent introduction to the nature of software business based on the first-hand experience of the author during the last two decades.

Before I discuss what this book is about, I'll briefly mention what it's not about. In this book you won't find overly simplified "Dos and Don'ts", "ten easy steps to start your business" or readymade solutions. Instead, Cusumano delivers a very sobering insider's perspective on the birth, evolution, -and sometimes- death of software start-ups. His personal involvement with many of the companies discussed in the book provides a very fresh and unique perspective.

The contents of the book cover not only different types of software business, but also different geographical areas (e.g., U.S., Europe, Japan, India and others), enabling the reader to explore different segments of the market with a global perspective.

His discussion on business strategies for software companies and the three broad business models (product, service, and hybrid) is concise and well-written. He gives many real-life examples demonstrating the central concepts of the book, which helps a lot with grasping these concepts and adds credibility to his arguments.

Since this is a very complex and rich topic, there are no groundbraking conclusions at the end of the book. You may even have more questions about software business than you had before you started reading this book. However, you will have some good answers, a solid framework for testing and developing your ideas, and a better understanding of the business aspects of software. You will also find a wealth of properly referenced information that can be used to develop your business plan.

I have been looking for a good book on starting a software business and developing a business strategy for quite some time. This book is by far the best one I have found so far, I highly recommend it.