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First of all, he learned that the DOJ had a backdoor added into the program so that the U.S. could access the files of whoever they sold the PROMIS program to, including the governments of Israel and Canada. This led to further revelations and meetings with various informants that further revealed a complex web of deceit leading down some surprising avenues. Casolaro now changed his plans to writing a novel, perhaps even presenting it as fiction in order to avoid scaring off publishers. But before this happened, Casolaro was found dead from what was an obviously staged suicide and many of his notes disappeared.
This very well documented book (that also verifies and is verfied by information published elsewhere) chronicles Casolaro's story, citing many excellent sources, including court records and affidavits. It also attempts to recover and recount some of the information about the conspiracy Casolaro began to call "the Octopus" because of its many, long-reaching tendrils. While it is not always clear Casolaro was on the right track (Casolaro himself often took note of what information seemed manufactured to mislead and discredit him), it is clear he was onto something big given his subsequent murder and its sloppy coverup.
Casolaro might have led a comfortable life as a mediocre writer publishing the occassional article, but because of his sense of justice and the need he felt to uncover the truth, he was ruthlessly murdered. This book is a wonderful epitaph to two courageous men (including co-author Keith who mysteriously died from knee surgery).
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After reading this book so many times, I've developed a new way to enjoy concerts: looking out for Ferrington guitars on stage. For example, at a recent Richard Thompson concert, the artist played two different Ferrington gutiars, one of which is featured in this book. I was almost as excited to see the guitar up close as I was to see the performer playing it.
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This book is designed as a reference not a study guide.This is one of the best Intranetware books I have read to date.
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(1) Repeated Contents: Materials about Servlet, JSP, EJB, JNDI, JDBC, XML, etc are repeated over and over many books. This could waste time, money, and papers for both Wrox and readers.
(2)Books or Articles?: I asked myself: is Wrox publishing books or articles? Each book is written by many authors and the book's flow is inconsistent. The assessment that it is not a book but a collection of articles may partially true. It is true that a book if written by a team of authors could speed up the process of releasing it, but if Wrox editors and coordinators have to do their better jobs.
I suggest that Wrox should review its strategy of publishing books to avoid the repeating of materials over and over and thus bring down the cost associated with publishing the books. The final result is: readers and publisher will both save time and money. Otherwise, readers will loose their belief with Wrox.
Why do I make the above conclusion? Let me give you my general impression of the book first. A theme repeated in several of my recent reviews on books from Wrox is about the problem in coherence associated with multi-author books. Well, having more than a dozen of authors for a single book seems to be a fact of life (for books from Wrox at least) now, as the publication cycle gets shorter. I was rather surprised to find out that the organization and coherence is very good in this book, i.e., there is very little overlap among chapters. Also, this books uses JDBC cleverly to tie other pieces of J2EE together, making smooth transitions from one chapter to another. If you want to know, this factor alone prompted me to add an extra star to the overall rating of the book.
Let's now run down the chapters of this book quickly. The first 115 pages deals object-oriented and database modeling, and can be skipped by any "Professional" developer. Then after your obligatory intro to JDBC API, the next chapter covers the JDBC 2.0 optional package. This is the best treatment of this topic I have seen. Then another chapter is all about SQLJ, another first. The effort of having a chapter on database performance should be lauded, where connection pooling, prepared statements and stored procedures usage are demoed. The reminder of the book is about applying JDBC in various J2EE components, such as JSP, servlets, EJB, JMS, and XML. For this part of the book, even though I accept the fact the proper stage has to be set for each one of them, I still don't believe the book found the right balance between focusing on JDBC and showing what these other technologies are about. A large number of pages are used to teach basic JNDI, servlets, JSP's, and EJB's stuff (remember there is already a book on J2EE from Wrox!). Therefore, it is up to the reader to discover the real nuggets of gold hidden in this pile, which are far and in between in places. I found that some critical issues are not highlighted or details are lacking, such as how to use connection pooling/data sources in servlets, JSP's, and EJB's, the threading issues related to sharing database connections, and good database practices in BMP EJB's. However, the one thing I cannot complain about is that the book did not forget to teach the transaction aspect of EJB with a good depth (there is a short ans sweet chapter on using JTA/JTS inside EJB). There is also a chapter on the brand-new JDO framework, even though the spec is still in a state of flux. Finally, there are 4 case study chapters in the book - although the design and implementation are limited in scope and as a whole those samples do not teach all you need to do know about enterprise scale J2EE system development, they do provide a flavor of how JDBC is used in real world, together with setting up Tomcat, JRun, Orion, and WebLogic to access MS SQL Server and Oracle databases.
Now my overall take of this book. For VB/SQL and pure back-end PL/SQL developers who are eager to jump on the Java express train and need a suitable platform (especially for the ones who learn best from playing with actual code), I recommend this book as one of several you should own. Compared to other JDBC books from say O'Reilly and Sun's JDBC Tutorial, this book is the most up-to-date, contains the most source code, and has the broadest coverage of related topics. But keep in mind some of the advanced topics such as EJB and JMS can be intimidating for new-comers. On the other side of the coin, people who are advanced in various server-side Java technologies are unlikely to benefit a great deal from this book and should look elsewhere for info (for example Wrox's J2EE and upcoming EJB titles).
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