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Highly recommend this book, one of DeMille's best.
This story is so plausible it will keep you awake at night.
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The best part is an extended reference at the end of the book, and this time JScript is also covered.
I have a few comments about this book
1. The book should have been thinner, with some chapters on CD-ROM
2. You must be at intermediate level to use this book, else you could get lost easily. Beginners, don't yet touch this unless you know VBScript
In short, without a doubt, the best book ever written on ASP.
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The play section was misorganized (Character creation should come before playing rules) and the whole 5 pages that explain the rules do a poor job.
This edition of Mage *does* have a slight problem with clear definition of rules and systems, and I've yet to see any of White Wolf's books completely cover the systems as they pertain to other games (for example, can a hedge wizard be discovered as such using the gift "Scent of the Trueform?"). As with all of White Wolf games, I think this is a game best played with a small group of close friends.
Now a little more about White Wolf and specifically Mage. I don't know how many have noticed this, but all of these games probably seem like they're shaped after Myths or other real-world beliefs (no matter how obscure). The reasoning for this: They are! Take a look through the bibliography of a White Wolf book and marvel at the resources. This is one area where I would promote Mage above the other books (although I said I wouldn't) because in reading through this you get a small glimpse at the beliefs of so many other cultures. What's even scarier - notice how people of different cultures seem like they live in "another world?" If you really think about it, the Mage concept isn't hard to follow at all. We see this in everyday life. We believe things to be one way, and that's true for us. Others believe differently, and that makes their reality. What happens when the two collide? Disagreements, fights, all-out wars (think of the Inquisition)... It's really a great game to get into, but if you're not all that much of a roleplaying fan it's just nice to read and ponder the concept. Great little quotes and mini-stories, too!
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My preschool boys greatly enjoy the twist at the end of the book, where there's a glimpse of the next item that will be found to be missing. The fact that the found mittens are drawn as having parts missing pleases them also. It provides a great topic for discussion.
The follow-up suggestions are rather disappointing and unimaginative. The book certainly isn't helped by their inclusion.
I'd rate this as an average children's book. The basic story is quite cute, but the illustrations make the book.
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It's also way thick. I'm thinking I should exclude from my five-star list any book over 500 pages that is a) not called a reference on the cover, and b) has the word "Core" in the title. Stop the madness!
I didn't think the author had to problematize the issues of distributed programming to the degree he did. For me, this added to the bloat. To the author's credit, those discussions make many parts of the book accessible to a wider audience than Java programmers.
author has a great web site to help you along. It's one of the
few books that has example code that mostly works. He simulates
a multi machine environment on one computer. However, his
example code breaks when you run the server-side code on one
Window 2000 computer and the client-side code on another
Window 2000 system (unfortunately, his book or web site
doesn't help you here and this would be the real world
environment for JINI Technology).
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I though that this book gave decent coverage and was worth the $.
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The book completely misses where the real balance of power exists regarding vocations. Diocesan vocation directors and to a much lesser extent diocesan bishops decide who will be allowed to become a seminarian. You must pass the "political litmus test" of the vocation director regarding what his vision of the Church should be. This usually means that you can not be loyal to the Pope or to the Magisteriam. All the good intentions in the world will not get you into the seminary if the vocation director perceives you as too loyal to the Pope or too obsessed about Church teachings.
In my own case, I was a daily Mass server in my local parish during junior high school, high school, college and my first year of graduate school. Once I got my Masters Degree I applied to be a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. I received a very positive recommendation from my pastor and attended all the meetings with the vocations board of 5 priests and logging over 1,500 miles in individual meetings with each priest who was located throughout the western half of Oklahoma. The decision of the Vocations Director and the Board was that: 1. I was simply looking for something to do until something better came along, and 2. I was simply interested in the externalities of religion. That was the kind of response I got after serving 10 years as a daily Mass server and working on any number of other activities at the parish during the same time.
In 1996-97 I attended several vocations conferences sponsored the the Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington. Archbishop Thomas Murphy was in attendance. One young man asked the Archbishop what a seminarian's relationship with women should be. Instead of giving the Church's traditional answer to that question, namely that a seminarian should confine his dealings with women to his mother, sisters and other female relatives, the Archbishop said that seminarians were expected to be involved in serious relationships with women and that seminarians who weren't would be considered unsuitable for the priesthood. The clear import of the Archbishops statement was that seminarians should be out fornicating to prove that they are "real men." A month later Archbishop Murphy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and died 6 months later. I consider this the wrath of God against Archbishop Murphy for trying to lead these young men astray.
Prior to this, Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen had decreed that he was suspending all further sponsorship of the permanent diaconate because he considered it an insult to women and just another all-male bastion of injustice and oppression against women. His attitude about deacons surely extended to priests (after all, there is only one "Sacrament of Holy Orders" and one sacramental theology of holy orders) and would account for the lack of vocations in his diocese.
The book indicates that several of the men are still involved in dating or carrying on romantic relationships with women. The "rule book" for seminarians and vocations director, "The Program for Priestly Formation," produced by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, specifically states that prospective seminarians and seminarians should already have a committment to celibacy and the observance of perfect chastity which would preclude any romantic relationship with women. The fact that these men were accepted as seminarians even with these issues unresolved is a clear failure of the vocations directors. But then again, most vocations directors and bishop in the United States are not in favor of celibacy or a male priesthood.
There is no vocations crisis in the United States other than an artificially created crisis manufactured by the bishops of the United States in their attempt to pressure Rome into lifting the requirement of celibacy and the exclusion of women from the priesthood. Africa and Asia have a surplus of priests who have offered to serve in the United States. The response of the American bishops: Black and yellow priests need not apply because they are all just a bunch of "economic opportunist." That excuse was never used during the last 100 years when up to half of all U.S. priests were Irish immigrants, but then again, they were all white. If the truth were to be known, dioceses receive plenty of applications from qualified American men wanting to study for the priesthood. But most of these applicants are rejected because they are perceived as too conservative and loyal to the Pope. The result, a manufactured vocations crisis. Vocations offices are full of applicants, but almost all applicants are rejected. A book needs to be researched and published which will show that vocation offices filing cabinets are full of applications but that almost all applicants are rejected. The result, the true that the vocations crisis was manufactured and contrived by the American bishops as a display of opposition to the Pope and the Magisterium.