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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Panther Edition
Publisher: Pogue Press
Authors: David Pogue
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Outstanding book

While I am new to Macintosh I have been a Windows system engineer for several years and have used countless referance books, this is one of the best for gaining a basic understanding of the operating system and the tools that come with OS X. The book doesn't really cover the in-depth technical details that a technician looks for in a book but this is not really part of what this book is meant for. It does however cover the MAC OS and where to find basic configuration settings like network prototcol settings, printer settings etc. The book also covers the iApps, iCal, iChat, iDVD, i Mail, iMovie, iPhoto, iPod, iSync and iTunes applications in exact user friendly detail and has a lot of screen shots. For people new to MAC it also covers useful things like keyboard shortcuts and some basic UNIX commands. What I like about this book is that it is easy to understand and use. I really enjoy researching from this book, the answers are easy to find.

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
Valuable Adjunct to the On-Line Docs

In Chapter 1 the book tells you to get a copy of Ethereal at www.Ethereal.com. This is correct. But be sure you spell it right, if you go to etheral you get to a rather strange looking sight with links to a lot of places that look like you just might want to be sure your virus protection is up to date.

When you get to the Ethereal web site, you'll be offered a link to their documentation. You'll want to download it of course. Then the obvious question is why spend money for this book if the documentation is available free over the net. The answer is organization, layout, convenience and the fact that just having a different person explain things using a slightly different set of words and sentences sometimes makes things more clear. Look at it this way. If you're working on a network problem and reading both the on-line documentation and this book save you an hour of frustration you've more than paid the cost of the book.

In addition, this book contains a great deal more information of the general or background type. For instance, I found the three pages describing the FBI's Carnivore (now DCS100) network analyzer to be quite interesting. This additional information also includes more help in understanding what the data Ethereal collects really means.

If you're into the packet sniffing business, this is a book that belongs on your bookshelf.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Game AI by Example
Publisher: Wordware Publishing, Inc.
Authors: Mat Buckland
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must-have.

This book is simply one of the best AI texts that I have ever seen. The author has the ability (as those others who have visited his website will attest - http://www.ai-junkie.com/ai-junkie.html ) to take complex topics and break them down into simple, logical steps that make sense even to novice programmers such as myself.

Throughout this book, he does that time and time again. He gives thorough examples and describes them very well. These are not "baby" examples that serve only to highlight this or that point - he delivers real, working examples that you could plug right into your own game or simulation. Take Chapter 4, for example. It is an elegant sports simulation of a Soccer match. This single chapter is worth the price of the entire book, in my opinion.

The examples are cool. The code is modern and efficient. The techniques are those in use today.

For years, I would buy a book on AI Programming, only to find that techniques were only hinted at and not fully explained. It was like, with those authors, they were keeping some mysterious trade-secrets all to themselves.

This author doesn't do that. He is confident enough to give you everything you need to know to program your own AI. Be it a Finite State Machine, an intricate sports simulation, or fuzzy logic - just to name a few of the topics you will find in this book. If you have his other book, you know that he is also adept at Neural Nets and GA.

So, my advice is biased because I have read this book and I love it. I think you will, too. Buy this book. You won't regret it.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Microsoft ADO.NET (Core Reference)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: David Sceppa
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Value

I purchase a lot of computer books, mostly over the Internet, and many times feel cheated when the book arrives, but not this time. David Sceppa knows the subject matter and is able present it in an understandable form. In addition, unlike so may others this book comes with a durable cover, searchable CD ROM, and source code. I think this book is a worthwhile addition to any library.