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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good blend of light science and history.

I consumed the book in two days. Very entertaining and a must read for anyone who is interested in crypto. Outlines nicely the ever changing lines of information security.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java 2 for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Barry Burd
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Too advanced for "dummies", too "dumb" for the rest of us

I'm astonished that this book is getting positive reviews. I took an Intro. to Java course at my local university last spring (received an "A" as well, even though I'd never programmed anything but a VCR before the course). I decided this spring to take Java 2, the next level. Wanting to brush up on my Java, I decided to read "Java 2 for Dummies".
Talk about convoluted! This book is actually making me more confused, rather than refreshing my memory on everything I'd learned last year (I'm only halfway through, but I don't think I'm going to waste any more time on it). The author launches ahead into various aspects of Java code without explaining much of it, what it does, or why you have to use it. Nor does he take the time to explain formatting conventions. One gets the feeling of being rushed through the topics, with the author's attitude being "Just type the gobbledygook you see here and your program will work. Never mind what it means or why it's necessary."
Object-oriented programming requires a great deal of careful, detailed explanation so that the student fully grasps the concepts before being shown how to utilize those concepts. Otherwise, you're just parroting back code you've been shown, without grasping how everything is working.
I usually enjoy the Dummies books for what they're worth, but this is by far the most inadequate one I've read. If you're new to programming, don't even think you're going to learn Java by reading this book. You'll need to read several other books just to "unlearn" the confusion this book is likely to leave you with and also to fill in the enormous gaps it leaves in your brain.
If you're an experienced programmer looking to learn Java, this is not the place to start. Like the title of my review says, this book is too advanced and lacking in details for beginners, but too simplistic and meandering for those familiar with programming concepts.
Stay away!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: OCA/OCP: Introduction to Oracle9i SQL Study Guide
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Chip Dawes, Biju Thomas
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good enough

I just took the 1Z0-007 test this morning and passed, though not with flying colors! This book was good enough to get me through the test with little background Oracle experience. I would highly recommend getting some experience using the stuff in this book before taking the test, but, if you're impatient like me, this book (and a good amount of studying) should get you through.
There were a couple errors in the tests, but I thought they were a decent representation of the actual test questions. There were no surprises on the exam, and it seemed as though most topics were covered (some lighter than others).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Photoshop Elements 3 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter)
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Scott Kelby
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Straight to the point with a little humor

Excellent book! I'm not familiar with Photoshop Elements but I am enjoying learning now that I have this book. Scott keeps it simple and shows you step by step exactly what to do. Now I can fix problem photos, edit and make my old photos better and enjoy doing it. Scott...thanks much!