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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Administrator's Companion
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Sharon Crawford, Charlie Russel, Jason Gerend
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Worthwhile desk reference. No coverage of the Web Edition.

This 40 chapter 1500 page Administrator's Companion is aptly named as you will refer to it extensively over time. Out of the 5 different versions of Windows Server 2003, the book covers the Standard Edition and the Enterprise Edition extensively. The Datacenter Edition is very similar to the Enterprise Edition so this book could suffice. The Web Edition is significantly different and is NOT covered in this book.
The Small Business Server is kind of the fifth and unofficial version of Windows Server 2003 and I am not very familiar with this Edition yet. This last version is not explicitly covered in the book but it is possible that it is actually only a slight variation of one of the other four versions. I am not familiar enough with this last version to make any other comments.
Windows Server 2003 is not as much of a jump from Windows 2000 as Windows 2000 was from Windows NT. This is good news for those familiar with Windows 2000 and hence can start using this book as a desk reference immediately. If you are new to the Windows Server family, then it is important to read through the first few chapters and take your time absorbing basic networking and operating system concepts before delving deeper into the book. Regardless of your level, you will find that this book is written in a very simple yet detailed fashion. Of course, the advanced users will find it the most useful.
The book is divided into six parts plus the Appendices. The different parts are - Preparing for Installation, Installation and Configuration, Network Administration, Support Services and Features, Internet Servers and Services, and Tuning, Maintenance & Repair.
I plan to take the MCSE for Windows Server 2003 (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) sometime next year and I am finding that this is a valuable addition to my preparation book list. There are plenty of books out there that help you prepare for this set of exams but you will still need a good reference on Windows Server 2003 in order to pull all the knowledge together.
Overall, I am happy with the money I spent on this book and I am using it quite often as I design and set up my own small business corporate network. All the way from setting up the Exchange Server for e-mail to Windows XP Professional clients for the different people using the network. The network devices are so easily found by Windows Server 2003 even if the device is attached to one of the client machines and not directly on the network.
One final note - even though this book is an excellent desk reference, I am finding that you still have to supplement this book with others depending on your goals. For example - if you are preparing for any of the MCSA/MCSE exams, you will need exam preparation guides. If you are installing specific software like Visual Studio.NET, you may run into some issues that are not covered in this desk reference. The bottom line is that when you get to the Advanced User stage, you will probably need a whole host of other books to supplement your knowledge. And some people find this book to be too heavy to carry around so it may be worthwhile to find a pocket reference type of book for that purpose. I hope you find this review helpful and good luck!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Working Effectively with Legacy Code
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Michael Feathers
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
refactor and test

Feathers confronts a depressingly familiar problem encountered by many programmers. How to maintain a system of legacy code? Where often there has been no rigorous attempt to test it. Even in a manual fashion. He shows ways to build a test harness to automatically test the code. Even if this does not perform an exhaustive test, it may still be far in advance of what you already have (nothing?) to validate the code. He writes assuming that you might never have met a disciplined testing approach. So unit testing is carefully explained and he builds from there.

Simple, useful patterns like Decorator are described. The book is not meant as a comprehensive exposition of patterns. But hopefully, you can see the general idea of patterns and its utility. Large portions of the book are essentially about refactoring legacy code into these patterns, if possible. And also about testing your changes in a systematic way. If you do the former, you should also do the latter.

The examples are mostly in C++ and Java. But that's neither here nor there, if you program in other languages like C# or C. The ideas from the examples carry over well.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ASP.NET Website Programming: Problem - Design - Solution, C# Edition
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Marco Bellinaso, Kevin Hoffman
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
It's a great book.

Well. I am beginner in .Net and keen to find a way to develop N-Tier application. This is a good book to start. Some of the them complaint it is unorganized and the sample code cannot run at all. I have tried it and found no problem. Probably they have to read the readme.html file. Anyway, If you want to learn C#. This book definitely not for you. But if you want to learn how people apply N-tier in their website, this is book is for you.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great Book, Too many threads at once.

This book's attempt at explaining this seeming common thread in Mathematical Logic, Music and Art is a noble one. The author tries to explain, in my opinion, too many things at once. Even though the author is never incoherent, the vast task of explaining not only his thesis but also the history behind it, overwhelms the reader time and time again.
As a mathematics student and enthusiast, this book had a very profound impact in the way I think about mathematics. The fact that mathematics (being as complex as it is) cannot be proven by using mathematics is a very, if not the most, important concept this book attempts to uncover.
As far as the historical/biographical aspect of the book, I think it's very well done and very well contextualized.
The book about three of the most important geniuses in areas so diverse and seemingly disconnected, yet in the innermost layer they all are intertwined. Again, great book, great author, spell-bounding conclusions.
I, however, have couple of caveats (to the reader):
1) This book requires some knowledge in mathematical logic,
2) It is not an "easy read," so be prepared to be mentally challenged.