Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming ASP.NET, 2nd Edition
Authors: Jesse Liberty, Dan Hurwitz
this book is loaded with unnecessary fluff.
e.g. on page 625: "the VB.NET declaration is identical except for the final semi-colon". gee thanks, but this book is supposed to be about asp.net, not the differences between C# and vb.net.
This book nicely describes the differences between a repeater, datalist and a datagrid.
There is also too much code, and not enough explanation of what's practical and why.
In general, too much filler; it seems to me that the code is formatted in such a way to take up the most about of space. as if it was important to the authors to make it over the 1000 pages mark (which they did, by 8).
I do not recommend this book for people who want more than just a cursory overview of asp.net.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional C# (Programmer to Programmer)
Authors: Simon Robinson, Christian Nagel, Karli Watson, Jay Glynn, Morgan Skinner, Bill Evjen
I am an experienced C/C++ programmer, and I'm moderately familiar with writing windows applications in Visual C++ 6.0, having developed a few simple dialog-based apps in the past. Given this background, Professional C# is an excellent introduction to using the .NET framework and developing windows applications in C#. Unlike some other C# books, it doesn't waste much time with the very basics of programming, it gets right to the point and covers the C# language itself with a good balance of detail and speed, offering useful comparisons between C# and other languages such as VB and C++. That said, I wouldn't recommend this book for beginning programmers.
I originally thought that C# was "just a new type of C++", but once you try to learn the fundamentals of C# you realize that C# by itself is actually a just small part of the learning process. Rather, C# is intimately tied to microsoft's .NET framework, and learning the overall concepts of .NET is the real challenge. This book covers a LOT of material since C# and .NET encompass a surprisingly large set of concepts. Overall, I am somewhat amazed and very impressed at how much detailed and well-written information is crammed into this book.
A huge weakness of this book is the incredible number of errors, which range from simple typos, to repeated words, to more serious omissions and coding errors. Don't take my word for it -- if you look at the errata page on the Wrox Press website, there are currently 200 publisher-confirmed clarifications and errors listed for this book! (This number is probably an underestimate, IMO.) It also took me by surprise that the appendices are not included in the book, but are available as PDFs on the website. At first I thought the missing appendices were the biggest error yet, but apparently this was done on purpose. This becomes even more confusing because this results in ~200 skipped pages in the book, it jumps from page 1135 to 1307, and yet there are many index items that point to pages in that range (these are italicized). Overall, the missing pages cheapen the book and seem more like a publishing blunder rather than something that was planned from the start.
Apparently this book is available in downloadable form for ~$30 (?) as a PDF, I wonder if some/all of the errors have been corrected and the appendices are included in the electronic version.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Jef Raskin
I do not know who edits books on interface design but all too often the books are more about "look at how great I am" than thoughtful insights. The beginning of the book offers some good interface guidelines and metrics but around chapter 5 it becomes more about Raskin's ideas than interface design itself. The most laughable is chapter 6-4-3 where he advocates the removal of usernames from login systems to rely simply on passwords. He obviously doesn't understand security and never talked to someone who did before publishing it. He contradicts himself in later chapters with points he makes in the beginning, but if you can look past his constant references to how great his systems are, there is good content in there.
Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCDA Self-Study: Designing for Cisco Internetwork Solutions (DESGN) 640-861, First Edition
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Diane Teare, Inc. Cisco Systems, Cisco Systems Inc.
This book has very useful and detailed information that is hard to find elsewhere. Considering its size, the book is very well edited... I only recall seeing one typo but there were definitely not the usual amount of errors I find in other technical books. The book answered many questions I had about designing networks. I now understand what a good and bad design is and was actually able to apply what I learned in a real situation.
I will be taking the exam soon but I feel like this book would also be useful for anyone else who needs to design Cisco networks.
The tons of questions and answers at the end of each chapter really help retaining the information and I suspect will be a big help for the exam (I hope). The case studies are great too.