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Itil Foundation Exam Study Guide
Itil Foundation Exam Study Guide
by Liz Gallacher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.98

2.0 out of 5 stars Too long and repetitive, needs better editing, 5 Nov. 2014
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It's difficult to give this a really negative review as it covers the ITIL foundation syllabus and is clearly written by people who know and are passionate about ITIL and service management in general.

The writing itself is pretty terrible though. It's always going to be a dry subject, but I feel there was a desire to make this a chunky book at any cost. The same concepts are repeated, and often things that don't really fit are written under headings that are obviously lifted directly from the syllabus, for example covering the purpose, objectives and scope of various processes. The syllabus content is there, but often repeated over the 3 sections and with lots of irrelevant fluff added to each one.

The proof reading and editing are sorely lacking also. I realised as I was making my own notes that you can pull out the concise message of each part quite easily, and a good editor could have guided the writers, who are clearly not professional authors, into doing this in the entire book to make it far easier to read. It is well written in the way that a business document can be well written, but this is a book and should be as engaging and straightforward as possible within the limits of the dry subject matter.

The other major editing problem was the ordering which is slightly confusing in places. Luckily a bit of exposure to any IT department will give enough of a vague idea of ITIL acronyms and concepts that it's possible to understand the book, but so much is referenced before it is defined that it could easily be confusing.

I think in general the biggest problem is the long length, and this could be because the ITIL foundation is one of the most easily attainable IT certifications; a few days of formal training or reading a single book is preparation for the exam, compared with months of study and hands-on work for virtually any entry-level technical certification. It's a valuable certification, but this book's repetitive nature and detailed approach makes it harder to achieve than necessary and should be far more concise. I feel the authors were possibly self-concious of producing a pamphlet-sized book of under 100 pages that would let somebody pass the test and went for 300 pages of unedited fluff instead.

I haven't read any other ITIL foundation self-teaching books, but I'd say I would probably recommend anybody else took a punt on any other book with good reviews rather than trying this one, as it's just too badly written despite the acceptable content.

SAP Certified Technology Associate - System Administration with SAP NetWeaver 7.0: 2
SAP Certified Technology Associate - System Administration with SAP NetWeaver 7.0: 2
by Christopher B
Edition: Paperback
Price: £43.51

1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor quality, 24 Nov. 2013
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The questions in this book are clearly homemade and written in a different style and testing a different type of understanding from the real questions in the exam. Clearly the authors did not recall the real exam questions very well when they were writing these.

The poor quality of both questions and explanations renders this largely useless. The sample questions don't explain what you need to answer them properly (whilst the real exam questions obviously do) and the answer explanations usually ramble on about some irrelevant nonsense around keywords from the documentation.

Understanding the Linux Kernel
Understanding the Linux Kernel
by Daniel Plerre Bovet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Book, 27 Oct. 2009
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This book really is exactly what it says, it will take you from linux poweruser/administrator to understanding the basics of the kernel, and getting that vital starting point in developing.

I bought it some time ago for some background reading and found it a little bit too detailed for that, but am now studying it in more detail for a potential honuors project at university on linux file systems, which involves some kernel jiggery-pokery. Without this, I doubt I'd ever be able to get started.

It explains big ideas in English, then goes on to explain the interesting parts in English, along with the tiny bit of C code it is describing.

Well written and explains rarer generic things in an easily skippable way - for example there is a part of the kernel that uses double-linked-lists and the page before that explains them in a nice box, so that anybody who knew about them already (since they are a general topic and not specific to kernels) can skip it easily.

Moab Is My Washpot
Moab Is My Washpot
by Stephen Fry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Honest, 23 Nov. 2008
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This review is from: Moab Is My Washpot (Paperback)
He takes the autobiography genre and makes it his own entirely. One of the newspaper quotes on the back says that he is one of the great originals - and this book shows that in it's content as much as the way that it's written.

The research, the physical, and mostly emotional effort and the amount of himself that he has poured into it is incredible.

Beyond the phenomenal honesty and integrity of his writing, the insight to his incredible life and unsurpassed brain is brilliant. Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has "We journey into Hawking's universe, while marveling at his mind" on the front. I agreed with that at the time - this book and author deserve the title more.

In negative news it is rushed at the end - very much so in fact. Part of me doesn't want to doubt this, since it's a long book already and I want to believe that there is good reason for cutting it short, but in reality hearing more about his depression and jail time would have been good. Perhaps he just couldn't bring himself to write it, who knows.

Freecom MusicPal WLAN Internet Radio
Freecom MusicPal WLAN Internet Radio

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly as it says on the tin. Great gadget, 5 Nov. 2008
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This thing connected to my wireless network amazingly easily and quickly, was as simple as typing in the WEP key. Not tried with WPA security, but I can only assume that works as well.

The web interface is great (type the IP addy into your browser) although I haven't used it as much as I expected - apart from the fiddly entering of letters (it's only got two knobs and two buttons) the built in interface is very good.

It has a very basic web browser built in, which can be enabled from the web interface. This lets you use it to view websites, but in practice it is about the same quality as the first internet phones - not much use for anything and with no images or colour. You can also set it to take RSS feeds for displaying under the clock as well as in an RSS viewer.

I normally don't like wireless much and only connected this to it because my network socket is behind my desk and I couldn't be bothered moving it. I had planned to connect this to the wired network eventually but I don't think I'll bother - its perfectly reliable on wireless.

The list of stations built in seems very comprehensive. It works perfectly with BBC Internet Radio, the negative reviewers complaining about the lack of this feature are trying to get around the fact that they are in a different country and trying to steal radio funded by the British public by using the internet version, which blocks foreign connections for this very reason.

The sound quality from the speaker is almost exactly what I expected for £60 - more than acceptable for using around the house, but not for dedicated listening. I'll certainly use it when I have the radio outside in the garden but indoors I have used the line out feature. I was a bit disappointed with this at first, but if you use the Settings menu or the web interface to select Yes to line out, it outputs only to line out and not the built in speaker. You can then set the volume to around 85% and it will give you an almost perfect line out signal for connecting to your hi-fi equipment (although you may notice a loss in quality from the compressed nature of internet radio if you have really good speakers and ears, but I certainly don't notice enough for it to bother me)

The interface is very simple - I only had to look up the instructions to find out how to turn the thing off! (hold down the volume knob for 3 seconds, another reviewer said they couldn't find how to do this). I've found it handles the spacious but still small screen very well and it's always quite easy to get to what you want to do. The interface is also very responsive - too many modern devices take ages to respond to controls but this seems very perky indeed.

The ability to connect to a media center seems to work very well, and lets you browse around the tracks available on the media server very easily. It says it only supports Mac and Windows, and includes software and guides for setting up your Windows computer as a media server to play all your MP3s on the radio.

I use Linux which is apparently not supported, but I installed mediatomb (from ubuntu repositories and probably most others, or source from their webpage) and got that to work amazingly easily. (check mediatomb process is running, if it is check log file at /var/log/mediatomb.log to find out the web address. otherwise start it with command mediatomb and the web address will be the last line output. go to that website and you can add your mp3s and then just open it from the menu on the radio. mediatomb has loads of online docs)

The system automatically picks up the exact time from a network time server on the internet(or one of your choice if you happen to have one) which is good. Not only keeps it perfectly accurate but it means you don't need to set the time to use it as an alarm clock.

Obviously its not perfect as its only £60. I'd like the line out to be a proper, static volume line out, but it actually varies with the volume control and distorts above about 90% volume. The built in speaker could be a little better, and it could have the function to wake you up to a different station from the one you were listening to last. And the front panel can smudge if you have greasy fingers and touch it for some reason. The screens backlight isn't perfect either - its not evenly the same brightness across the screen. Not enough to bother me, I don't even notice it really, and still just as readable but some people don't like that sort of thing.

Of course I had to take the amazingly low price into account when giving it 5 stars. If it cost double the price as many of the others do, I'd have given it 4. But in saying that, I bet I'd have just as many or more niggles with the expensive models and ended up giving them a lesser score.

Probably among the best gadgets I've bought in terms of its ability to just work, it ranks up there with Sky Plus and the TomTom.

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