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B. Eaton "twiglet27"
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Professional VB.NET (Programmer to Programmer)
Professional VB.NET (Programmer to Programmer)
by Jonathan Pinnock
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book of extremes, 28 April 2004
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The greatest strength and also the greatest weakness of this book, is thatit consists of a lot of authors covering a lot of ground. In the case oflaying the foundations for understanding the .NET Framework, it does anexcellent job. The explanations of the architectural thinking thatunderlies .NET and the CLR (Common Language Runtime) are excellent andinformative. If you're coming from VB6 to VB.NET then you really need toknow this information. In fact most of the more abstract (sic) topics aredelivered well along with great chapters on XML, ASP.NET, ADO.NET and (joyof joys) Component Services.
The traditional areas of VB however, are another story. Two areas wherethis book fell down for me (particulary given it being my raison d'etrefor purchasing) was in the area of Data Binding and Windows Forms. Thechapters on these topics are extremely poor in content. True, I'm comingat this book as someone who has spent the last three months living XML WebServices and a year's experience of ASP.NET behind that, but vitalinformation is missing. In the Windows Forms section there is allusion tothe life cycle of Forms at runtime without any suggestion of the best wayto handle this in your applications! This is analogous to explaining whattransmission does in a car without bothering to explain how the clutch isused. The data binding section whets the appetite with datagrids thenfails to actually deliver anything useful (like how to bind specificcolumns).
There is however a wealth of information here which should be good atgetting anybody not writing rich client applications up to speed. VB6developers that haven't yet moved to .NET really should read this for thewindow (sic) it opens up on the .NET world. It's worth keeping as areference and would have got 5 stars but for the nearly useless DataBinding and Windows Forms chapters.


All That We Let In
All That We Let In
Price: 11.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The failure of activism, 3 Mar 2004
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This review is from: All That We Let In (Audio CD)
I never thought I'd not give an Indigo Girls album 5 stars. After all this is a band who could twiddle their thumbs on a record for 45 minutes and still sound good - they just don't make bad records. Amy and Emily still put on a great live show and are always willing to try new things. There are those that didn't like any of their albums since 'Swamp Ophelia'; not me. I'm impressed at the way they went from being very acoustic guitars based to embracing banjos, mandolins, and electric guitars and still sounding great. Despite much of the criticism levelled against it at the time, 'Come on now social' contains some of their best material; 'Philosophy of Loss' is a truly beautiful song.
There's nothing wrong with the songs on this album, kicks off with enthusiasm, goes through a few classy ballads (the title track is superb) and closes down with excellent tracks like 'Dairy Queen'. Maybe I should wait a few more weeks before reviewing it, but it all sounds a bit indistinct to me.
To its credit it plays better on a sunny day (some music just does!) and one does rather get the impression that Emily has gone back to making music for fun and Amy is more comfortable with her punk groove. But for years the Indigo Girls have been influenced by other great artists and yet managed to produce a sound of their own. This album sounds just a bit too much like the bands they're looking up to.
Underlying this is the fact that independent thought and moralilty expressed through activism have taken a serious battering of late. The western powers have conducted 2 major wars since 2001, the rights of gay men and women have been ridden roughshod over in the US (a point beautifully made on Melissa Etheridge's 'Tuesday morning'), and there seems to be less success in protest than there ever was. Perhaps Amy and Emily are still in recovery from this or maybe they just made this whole album sat on the veranda while chugging down beers.
For the moment buy this and lazily enjoy it on a sunny day. Let's call this a hiatus and hope that new life will flower afresh soon. We still love you girls.


Programming Microsoft .NET XML Web Services (Pro-Developer)
Programming Microsoft .NET XML Web Services (Pro-Developer)
by Karli Watson
Edition: Paperback

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fragmented but almost comprehensive, 29 Feb 2004
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What do I like about this book? Well it explains web services and how to implement them and even includes good code examples. It's written in the witty style so beloved of geeks who love their job and works well as a reference book. It does cover pretty much everything there is to know about web services at some point in the book.
So what don't I like? Well it's not a tutorial - not a problem in itself but it does zoom past certain topics rather quickly. For example, how to implement DIME - quite useful for those of us currently trying to scale client-server apps that use BLOBs. Also explains security concepts but doesn't give a guide to a security framework.
However I can't bring myself to drop any stars because it does exactly what it says on the cover and does it well. Besides, if you're trying to become a web services guru with the help of one book then you're clearly nuts - although this would be a good place to start anyway.


Lucky
Lucky
Price: 7.64

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution?, 29 Feb 2004
This review is from: Lucky (Audio CD)
Oh Melissa, how can we not like you? Ok, you came out publicly with a little help from your friends, but this album's the real deal. Gone are the sexually ambiguous lyrics (even on the excellent 'Yes I am' we were never really sure), the veiled references to the bigots out there that you began in 'Scarecrow', and the difficulty you've had in reconciling the All American Girl with the gay lifestyle. 'Lucky' kicks off with real enthusiasm, pulls no punches, and does so well what Springsteen managed all those years ago: to kick your leaders up the backside and still sound patriotic. Not only that but your love life doesn't sound like a Ted Hughes poem anymore. Nice album by the way.


The Innocents
The Innocents
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.15

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 15 Dec 2003
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This review is from: The Innocents (Audio CD)
The first song that caught me on this was 'Yahoo', a little overtly religious and possibly subversive. I thought, to quote Hugh Dennis's 'Dad' character, 'it had a good beat'. Never mind the explosion of Euro dance in the 90s (barring the excellent Sash and Robert Miles they were all much of a muchness), this is synth pop as it is meant to be.
The excellent singles are on here (A little respect, Chains of love, Ship of fools) but any of these could have been released as singles and would have fared just as well. It's difficult to do a searing examination of each track a la Radiohead reviews but you really have to listen to this to understand why it did so well commercially. It's more of a case of 'nothing wrong with it' than 'everything right with it' but it sounds good - and in the end if music doesn't do that then what's the point?
Buy it, go back to the 80's and experience the good stuff!


Shadowlands [DVD] [1994] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Shadowlands [DVD] [1994] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Anthony Hopkins

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As perfect a film as you're going to get, 15 Dec 2003
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There is nothing wrong with this film and many things right with it. The acting, scenery, cinematography, score, everything is perfect. Yet it is so much more.
I am reticent to name any film as an 'all time favourite', anyone who can say that has not seen enough cinema - but this is a film which could easily be mistaken for Sunday afternoon schmaltz and yet is in reality a masterpiece. Never have I watched this and failed to enjoy it, or become bored. The performances contain such subtle nuances and so much is going on without being obvious that even after multiple viewings it still holds the attention and creates its magic.
Purists may allow the artistic licence taken with the Lewis/Gresham story to detract from their enjoyment of the film, but this is no simple biopic. Nor is it, as many would like, a piece of evangelism for one of the 20th Century's great Christian thinkers. It is an examination of love, faith, and the experience of life. It is also about how we all deal with our emotions, hopes, dreams, and fears.
Yes, this borders on the fantastic, but then as my Father remarked after the 30th or so viewing - 'the 50's were never that good'.


Windows Server 2003 For Dummies
Windows Server 2003 For Dummies
by Ed Tittel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.55

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather like a famous brand of woodstain, 16 Oct 2003
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This misses out on 5 stars because it doesn't actually tell me the information that I bought it for (i.e. restricting MAC addresses). But to be fair it does exactly what it says on the tin.
I'm actually a developer, and thus far the only Dummies book I would recommend for serious developers are Bill Hatfield's excellent ASP(.NET) books. However when it comes to networks I'm not as clued up as I should be (what happened to the days when IT people knew everything about computers?) which is why i bought this.
This is not a detailed under the hood look at Windows Server 2003 and gets a bit dizzy when going on about Active Directory, but it's explanation of network topology, TCP/IP, and other *fascinating* (mmm...Cat 5 cable) subjects is straightforward and easy to understand.
Admittedly the 2003 Server software does pretty much wipe your rear for you in the setup anyway. But that does kinda rely on you understanding what hardware to use and where to stick it (word to the wise: don't use xp with ICS and an ADSL modem on a 2003 Server network - just buy a router!). Anyway, I'm happy now - who would have thought that you could run Quake and SQL Server on a file/print/DHCP/DNS server with no fuss eh?


Beyond Nab End: The Sequel to The Road to Nab End
Beyond Nab End: The Sequel to The Road to Nab End
by William Woodruff
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of an uncommon man, 20 April 2003
I first heard excerpts from this on Radio 4's 'book of the week' and was so captivated I had to read the whole book. I was not disappointed. It's enjoyable, educational, and inspirational, a real delight.
This is history as it should be, from the perspective of those that lived it. I found this book topical in light of events in the Middle East and the legions of armchair generals comparing the folly of appeasement in the late 1930s with the current situation. William Woodruff's account of what was actually happening in Britain at that time makes clear that while the mistakes of history may seem simple in retrospect, at the time things happen for a good reason. The highs and lows of the 'good old days' are bought to life in exciting fashion.
Even for those with no interest in history this book is a wonderful read about a remarkable man who has lived a very full life. There is no superfluous waffle or self-pity, but a joie de vivre that comes across clearly despite the intervening years. A pleasure from beginning to end.


The Road to Nab End : An Extraordinary Northern Childhood
The Road to Nab End : An Extraordinary Northern Childhood
by Ann Oakley
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.08

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History as it should be told, 23 Mar 2003
The finest thing about this book is that it is a history lesson from a very personal perspective. It is an excellent autobiography and a joy to read, which in themselves are reason enough to read it, but it brings home the human cost of what may now seem like irrelevancies in British and World History. Descriptions of the scale of poverty in early 20th century Lancashire are put forward in a matter of fact manner but still they cause one to balk. If not for the spirit of the Lancashire folk one could be forgiven that one was reading about the third world.
I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this book to anybody with even a passing interest in the social sciences, but also those that like a good story. To describe it as a masterpiece is fair.


ASP.NET for Dummies
ASP.NET for Dummies
by Bill Hatfield
Edition: Paperback

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 13 Mar 2003
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This review is from: ASP.NET for Dummies (Paperback)
For those who read the original ASP for Dummies by Bill Hatfield, I can assure you that this book is as good as that, if not better. The book really lives up to the 'for dummies' claim in that it doesn't complicate issues that don't need to be complicated (such as explaining what .NET actually is!). But neither does it skimp on detail or technical information. The author is all the things a good writer should be; concise, humourous, and clear.
If nothing else the book is a great tutorial on Visual Basic .NET and even manages to explain systems architecture without sounding too geeky. Definitely worth the money.


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