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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Ethereal Packet Sniffing
Publisher: Syngress
Authors: Angela D. Orebaugh, Gilbert Ramirez
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Really needed this book!

I've been using Ethereal for quite some time and consider it one of the most useful tools that I use. I rely on it very heavily to monitor the peformance on my network, and also to help diagnose and troubleshoot any problems that come up. As much as I like the product, I always found it difficult to maintain, update, learn new features, etc. because there were no books or anything. The web site and things are ok, but aren't theat thorgouh. This book does an incredible job of teaching you do use all of the features, and also how to actually interpret and use the resulting data. The authors really know what they were talking about. The alway gave good answers and explanations on the mail lists, so I was glad to see they were actually writing a book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCNA INTRO Exam Certification Guide (CCNA Self-Study, 640-821, 640-801), First Edition
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Wendell Odom
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Loses a star for errata

The 640-821 INTRO exam is typically one of, if not the, first vendor-specific certification test folks in networking sit for. People taking this exam range from network engineers who have been working with Cisco equipment for years to folks just getting started in networking. The problem with creating a single study guide for the INTRO exam is that you have to provide enough info for folks just getting started to pass the exam, but not so much that network veterans get bogged with details they're already familiar with. I think the CCNA INTRO Exam Certification Guide strikes a good balance between those two goals.


- For networking veterans, the "Do I Know This Already?" quizzes at the beginning of each chapter are indispensable. These will keep you from wasting time reviewing things you already know. Taking them also keeps you from possibly missing some arguably odd things Cisco deems important enough to include in the exam.

- Odom and Cisco Press definitely do a much better job explaining networking fundamentals in this volume compared to past CCNA study guides. If you're new networking and/or the CCNA, this book should get you comfortable with most networking concepts (or at least well enough to sit for the exam).

- The accompanying CD includes a PDF of the book and exam and router simulators. If you use the simulators, make sure you download the latest updates from the Cisco Press Web site.


- For whatever reason, the universe will not allow publishers to print error-free exam study guides, and the CCNA INTRO Exam Certification Guide is no exception. In spite of having *three* CCIE's act as technical reviewers for the book, it managed to rack up an impressive FIFTY-TWO errors since the first printing. Nothing is more obnoxious or problematic than a exam prep book with errors. We use these books to learn and study. Whenever there's an error it undermines learning and that defeats the purpose of the book.

- Some of the figures in the book are counter-intuitive. For example, some show data flowing from right to left. We read left to right, so using diagrams that move right to left appear unnecessarily backwards.

- For some inexplicable reason the PDF version of the book on the CD was an older printing than the book itself. This will drive you nuts when you start finding errors in the PDF book that aren't in the printed version.

The book gives networking veterans enough information on Cisco particulars to pass the exam, and it's written well enough to make most networking concepts accessible to folks just starting out in networking. When you think about it, that's pretty impressive for one book. As a bonus, it's published by Cisco Press, so it's much more likely the material you see on the exam will have been part of your reading.

So, if you can only afford to buy one book to use in studying for the INTRO exam, this should be it. It should give you everything you need to pass the INTRO exam and a little more.

(NOTE: If you're planning to take the 640-821 INTRO exam *and* the 640-811 ICND exam (or just the 640-801 comprehensive exam), go ahead and get the "CCNA Certification Library, 6th Edition" - it contains this book and the CCNA ICND Exam Certification Guide and is cheaper than buying both separately.)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: An Embedded Software Primer
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: David E. Simon
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great for beginners and undergraduate level students

I started working on an embedded platform 1 year ago. Although now I have a good understanding of a lot of the aspects of the system, I never get the big picture.
This book provides exactly what I needed.
If you are a working software engineer and have spent years doing high level programming, the first few chapters will give you a good review of low-level-close-to-the-machine things that you need to know, which is also very useful for students as these are very important concepts that they need to understand to have a solid foundation to conquer higher level, more abstract CS subjects.
In embedded system, bugs in task code can bring down the device. Author has done a very good job explaining how to protect shared data using mechanism provided by a RTOS. The communication between interrupt/task and among tasks are also discussed thoroughly.
Unlike the other reviewer, I found the use of the C!! language in this book a very clever way to abstract away the hardware dependent code from the point being discussed. Consider it pseudo comment if you will.
BTW, the excellent typesetting and use of fonts also makes it a very pleasant experience reading this book.
Looking forward to see a more advanced text on embedded system from this author in the future.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Wicked Cool Shell Scripts
Publisher: No Starch Press
Authors: Dave Taylor
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great guide to scripts

Folks, if scripts intimidate you in any way, this book is great! It brings practical scripts in a wide variety of areas to you. Once you learn these scripts, it's easy to customize them to meet your needs.
If you're really interested in becoming a Linux Sysadmin, you need to know how to script. Once you learn these scripts, you'll be able to demonstrate your knowledge on any interview!