Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Book Review–Pro SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I’m not sure whether to be excited or disappointed about this book.  The authors (Landrum, McGehee, and Voytek) try to explain SQL Server Reporting Services in a conversational tone, which I find much lighter and easier to read than most technical books. 

As an occasional user of other reporting software and tools, I am starting to learn SQL Server Reporting Services to have another option that a lot of people have already bought with their purchase of SQL Server.  This book helps, but also hurts….  🙂

 The book succeeds in describing SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services concepts and theory in a format that someone like myself new to Reporting Services can understand.  Unfortunately, a lot of the code examples have issues, and don’t work exactly as described (or they are assuming a level of knowledge I don’t have that means there are other things I should be doing not in the step by step instructions….)

 Overall, not a bad book, but not really a good one either.  Not sure I would spend the 40 bucks on it again.

 James

Book Review–Windows Powershell Scripting Guide

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

 It’s not often I give a book rave reviews, but I only have one small nitpicky complaint about the Windows Powershell Scripting Guide.  That is that the title doesn’t truely convey the usefulness of this book for Windows administrators.

A better title, in my humble opinion, would be:  Powershell Scripts That Do Everything In Windows.

 The first two chapters give a nice basic overview of the Powershell environment, its configuration, and basic language elements (flow control, conditionals, etc.).

 After that, all the rest of the book is about scripts to accomplish many of the day to day Windows administration tasks in Powershell.  Need to read event logs, manage your failover cluster, or configure Server Core?  Scripts to accomplish those tasks and many more are in this book.

 If you want or need to script in Windows, you should have this book for the amazing number of scripts the author includes, if nothing else.

 Thanks;

James

Book Review–Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Well, this book is designed to prepare you for Microsoft Exam 70-238.  In that regard, I give the book a 50% success rate at best.

 While the fundamentals of the book are good, there are a number of content areas on the exam that the book either gives no information about or very limited information.  If you are new to Exchange Server 2007 and want to use this book, it provides a good starting point, but DO NOT RELY ON IT FOR YOUR ENTIRE PREPARATION FOR THE EXAM!!!!

If you do, well, e-mail me and we’ll place a side wager on whether or not you pass your exam.

I could not review the included practice tests on the CD because my CD was defective and would not play on either of my computers.  I also found the Case Scenarios wordy and lacking truly technical questions like those on the exam.  Some of the Suggested Practices for hands-on work were very weak as well.

In summary, if you are new to Exchange Server 2007, this book has some good background information, but it is not a comprehensive review or learning resource for passing your exam.

James

Book Review–Delivering Business Intelligence with Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Monday, May 18th, 2009

 The first technical book review I’d like to post is for Delivering Business Intelligence with Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

If you are new to Business Intelligence (hereafter referred to as BI) theory, this is not the book for you.  The first chapters do a cursory review of the BI process and theory, but it is no where in depth enough for newcomers to the topic.

However, if you already have a grounding in basic BI concepts like OLAP, Data Marts, Measures, Dimensions, Facts, Star Schemas, Snowflake Schemas, etc. this book shines in walking you step by step in the setup, configuration, and management of basic pieces of Analysis Services, Integration Services, and Reporting Services. 

The strength of this book for me was the step-by-step Learn by Doing exercises.  These allowed me to get comfortable with the Business Intelligence Design Studio (BIDS) and its complex user interface.

If you are looking for a hands-on walkthrough of the BI components of SQL Server 2005, this is an excellent book to use.

 Hope this helps someone;

James

Book Review–Oh the Places You’ll Go!

Friday, May 15th, 2009

 As the proud father of a little girl, I’ve had a chance to reconnect somewhat with my own childhood and the great authors and books I remember loving as a kid.  And I didn’t want to start off with too serious a book review for our first one, so I thought I’d pick an all-time classic with an underlying message.

 One of those timeless authors is Theodor Geisel, known and loved by millions as Dr. Seuss.  I remember reading classics like The Cat in the Hat all the time as a small child.  Now that I’m reading the books to my daughter, I’m reminded that a lot of the great children’s books have messages that transcend just telling a good story.

Oh the Places You’ll Go! is one of those books.  If you read the book and think about the message, it applies to anyone starting out on a new path in life.  With recent economic woes affecting many of our co-workers in technology and other fields, that could be any of us.

 Take a few minutes and reconnect with your inner child with this book.  You’ll be glad you did.