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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning XML (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: David Hunter, Andrew Watt, Jeff Rafter, Kurt Cagle, Jon Duckett, Bill Patterson
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Very Poor Indeed

Firstly, before you wish to study XML you're going to need to know a host of other languages. Below is a list of languages you'll need to have an understanding of if you want to use this book, as these languages are used in the chapters given:
Chapter 8 DOM - JavascriptChapter 9 SAX - Java or Visual Basic, you'll also need their respective expensive development studios.Chapter 10 SOAP - ASP, VBScript, Javascript. Also note SOAP encoding rules aren't covered.Chapter 11 Displaying XML - CSSChapter 12 XML & Databases - VBScript, ASP, ADO. You'll also require Microsoft Access.
You'll also need many of the languages listed above in order to follow the two case studies, and with case study one it will help if you know a bit about Java Servlets.
Even if you do have all this knowledge the book isn't very good anyway, as a matter of fact it's quite terrible. The chapter on XSLT is incomplete by far. XSL-FO isn't covered at all. XML Schemas are covered over two chapters but this is still far from complete. Web Services are mentioned but not covered. To be honest nothing is covered properly, you're given a taste and then told to buy another one of their books if you want to learn properly. Plugs for their other books occur over and over again, I lost count of the number of publications of theirs they wanted me to buy in order to teach me what this book was suppose to teach me. Note also that there aren't any questions at the end of each chapter, so you can't test what you have or haven't learnt, as the case may be. Basically they are talking at you and hoping you'll become an expert without getting you to attempt to apply what you are trying to learn. Also the books age is really starting to show. Bearing in mind this books size (about 800 pages) it really doesn't cover much. I also found the order of the chapters was ill thought out, there was no flow.
The annoying thing is that the book is full of babble, if they cut the babble they could of covered each subject more thoroughly, but of course if they did that then you wouldn't need to buy the other books they keep plugging. I don't think Wrox Press appreciate anymore the time and effort it takes to master computing languages. This book will only serve to increase the time it takes to learn XML and its related technologies.
I found Wrox support to be exceptionally unhelpful when I wrote to them with a few queries on areas that aren't explained at all, or are covered very poorly. I wrote several times and I was practically ignored, finally, when I complained quite heavily, they responded, but they still didn't answer some issues so I gave up on them. They claim in the book that they offer exceptional support, well that wasn't my experience. On one problem I encountered they responded by sending me to a web page with a sample chapter from their competitor's publication where my answer could be found. I couldn't believe it!!! Wrox support hindered my efforts in learning this technology further.
Don't buy this book, its old, massively incomplete, and leaves you hanging time and time again. It's really just a plug for their other books on XML and its surrounding technologies, so it is deliberately vague.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Active Server Pages 3.0 (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: David Buser, John Kauffman, Juan T. Llibre, Brian Francis, Dave Sussman, Chris Ullman, Jon Duckett
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Assumes too little; wordy; bad writing/grammar

In spite of the deceivingly good ratings, the book explains something very simple in too many words. Even though I had no knowledge of ASP (but had good knowledge about programming), I found the slow, repetitive, hand-holding approach annoying. Reading/digesting this book isn't challenging at all. Rather, one may have to page through all the wordy pages to find the little information to add to my knowledge. If you have basic understanding of programming of any kind, don't waste your money/time on hundreds of pages explaning what is a "variable", how if/for/while control structures work, what are objects/properties/methods... Also, the bad grammar/writing style, typos, and careless errors in code are intolerable for a $...+ book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows Security Resource Kit
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Ben Smith, Brian Komar, Elliot Lewis, Members of the Microsoft Security Team
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Handy security reference manual to have around.

Recently I passed the 70-214 exam, Security in a Windows 2000 Network Environment, I had very little resources to work with in my studies. What I could have used is this book which makes the perfect companion to Microsoft Press 70-214 Study guide.

The text is written to a specific exam, but rather to a specific topic, security and securing your network. The book works with Windows 2000 and XP network environments and gives you extensive coverage of the security settings you may need to implement on your network.

The authors created a 650 plus page text, which covers everything from passwords and group policies to terminal services and remote access security. I found some very and highly useful information, I really like chapter 2, Understanding Your Enemy.

Included with the book is a cdrom with over 50 utilities you can use for finding security leaks, holes and other risks. One tool I think needs to be added is the MBSA utility and this can be added in future updates.

Overall if you are looking to find ways to make you network more secure than this book is for you. Also whether you are new to the security arena or an old timer you can certainly learn something new.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The CISSP Prep Guide: Mastering the CISSP and ISSEP Exams, Second Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Ronald L. Krutz, Russell Dean Vines
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have!

I found the Krutz book well organized and easy to read. It's a great book if you're looking for a review of the ten domains prior to taking the test. I would not recommend it as the only book you would read if you were a new security professional. The test questions at the end of each chapter are good in that they are written in a similiar fashion to the actual exam. Again, very good study book for the experinced professional looking for a fairly comprehensive overview.