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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaServer Faces
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Hans Bergsten
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Not much there

Is Orielly losing it? Half the pages are just a reprint of the free online docs, and the first 250 pages could be better too. Check out the Sun Micro book (Geary) instead.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Data Mining Cookbook: Modeling Data for Marketing, Risk and Customer Relationship Management
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Olivia Parr Rud
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Data Mining Cookbook - a core resource

I found this book every bit as comprehensive as suggested by the glowing forward by Michael Berry. I was pleased to see thorough and comprehensive treatment of the full modeling process and commensurate attention to the documentation of it. Modeling of the total customer value proposition is masterful. I also profitted from the initial digestion of the rich complexities of internet activity data. This book brings a wealth of business knowledge to the statistical modeling and data mining professional. The author is to be congratulated on a fine book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Computer Forensics : Incident Response Essentials
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Warren G. Kruse II, Jay G. Heiser
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Suitable for newbie incident responders or non-IT staff

I am a senior engineer for network security operations. I read "Computer Forensics: Incident Response Essentials" (CFIRE) because I am responsible for performing intrusion detection and incident response on a daily basis. Those with similar skills will probably consider CFIRE too basic. Those working outside the information technology world may find CFIRE enlightening. I'm a graduate of the SANS System Forensics, Investigation, and Response course and have read "Incident Response: Investigating Computer Crime" (IRICC) by Mandia, Prosise, and Pepe. In my opinion, CFIRE does not offer any new or truly significant material. For example, chapter 2 ("Tracking an Offender") offers several pages on how to find the headers in Outlook messages. Elsewhere, one discovers very elementary information on UNIX commands, searching Windows hard drives, and understanding UNIX file systems. All of this appears in other books or is common knowledge for IT staff. I was disappointed that the impressive reviewer list did not detect several errors. As a fairly young network engineer, I still recognized this mistake on page 32: "When you dial to an ISP with a modem, you might use a layer 3 protocol called Point to Point Protocol (PPP). Referring back to Figure 2-1, layer 3 is the network layer, and in the case of a dial-up connection, PPP replaces IP." Untrue -- PPP is actually a layer 2 protocol; IP is used above PPP. Furthermore, figure 2-1 on page 24 presents numerous problems: NetBEUI spans layers 3 to 5 (not 3 to 4), web browsers and email clients do not belong at layer 7 (they are applications which call layer 7 protocols), and so on. Also, page 121 claims "you cannot delete an alternate stream from the command line." However, page 193 of "Hacking Exposed: Windows 2000" demonstrates how to remove streams. On the positive side, CFIRE will probably not scare non-IT staff. They will probably find the numerous tables, screen shots, and references useful. This book could be viewed as a gentle introduction to the incident response and forensics field, especially for the Microsoft Windows crowd. Two types of staff wear "computer forensics" hats. The first type investigate misuse of computers, typically by authorized personnel. This group is happy to know how to image a drive and search the copy for signs of illicit images or software. The second type investigates compromises, where unknown (usually remote) parties have penetrated a network and used machines for their own purposes. This group will be unsatisfied when CFIRE states on page 132 "we don't anticipate that most readers of this book will become this specialized." If you need that deep level of knowledge, read "Incident Response: Investigating Computer Crime." (Disclaimer: The publisher provided a free review copy.)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Perl in 21 Days (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Laura Lemay, Richard Colburn, Robert Kiesling
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good stuff. Great author.

The first book which I bought to try to learn Perl was a needlessly high hurdle to jump: Programming Perl, by Larry Wall (the inventor of the language). While I wouldn't go so far as to regret the purchase, Wall seems more interested in demonstrating whatever cute, obscure trick jumps into his mind at the moment, than in giving the reader a systematic grounding in the language. It isn't what one new to Perl needs-- especially being, as it is, a language with so many inelegancies and side-effects.
Then I bought and studied this book by Till, whose patient pedagogy allowed me to find my feet. I think, in fact, that Till is too humble. If one really sat at the computer and concentrated on the book for several hours a day, as he plans, one could learn what he teaches in no more than seven days. In my experience, it is also practical as a reference later, within the scope of the basic topics covered. Of course it is not exhaustive; but holding that against it is about like criticizing Euclid for not discussing calculus.
Now I can go back to Wall's book with some hope of appreciating what he says this time.