Sams Teach Yourself XML in 24 Hours, Complete Starter Kit (3rd Edition) Review

Sams Teach Yourself XML in 24 Hours, Complete Starter Kit (3rd Edition)
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Fortunately I read this book before reading the two previous reviews. In the same way that no one should expect to be fluent in a foreign language after 24 hours, it takes longer to fully master XML. As an introductory text, Michael Morrison's "Learning XML in 24 hours" is accessible and personable. Maybe the other reviewers didn't appreciate his sense of humour, but his book is informative and fun.

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The third edition of Sams Teach Yourself XML in 24 Hours, Complete Starter Kit is everything you need to know about the XML language and how to use it in practical, innovative applications. Understanding the syntax of XML is only a small part of the learning process; understanding how to apply it is the larger part of the learning process, and is the primary focus of this book. It covers a broad range of topics, and wil show you how to use XML to mine data on the web, how to use it to interact with existing data services such as iTunes and Google, and how to use it in applications such as e-books, online speech synthesis, and multimedia. Sams Teach Yourself XML in 24 Hours, Complete Starter Kit, Third Edition will teach you what you need to know to get up and running with XML and more importantly, how to do cool things with it!

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The AMA Handbook of Public Relations Review

The AMA Handbook of Public Relations
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I loved it. Impressive. I won't say it is a "detailed" handbook to use to actually become expert at PR in the 21st century. But it is a wonderful book that covers the following:
>>New media [Web sites, blogs, & mircoblogs]
>>Old media [Newspapers, magazines, etc.]
>>Public speaking
>>Market research
>>Tactics for keeping up digitally
I'm not sure why "market research" was included. But then the book is sponsored by the AMA. I found the text to be well written and outlined. It is comprised of four parts that are broken into 19 chapters and three appendices. I urge you to examine the Search Inside feature Amazon provides for this book so you can see the 19 chapter titles.
Back in May, 2009 I read and reviewed Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR. In that review I commented that there should have been a chapter on Investor Relations. Well, the instant book has one. See Chapter 13 and the related chapter on The Annual Report (14). I like both books. And I think they compliment one another. I highly recommend any public relations professional who wants to be competent in their field and make things happen today read both as companion books. 5 stars!

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Public relations was among the first industries to harness the power of the Internet. But along with business and the rest of the world, PR has changed in the digital age. "The AMA Handbook of Public Relations" is written to help PR professionals merge their traditional and Web-based campaigns into a powerful multi-faceted public image machine while protecting their clients and themselves from negative attention and cyber-sabotage. Readers will learn how to work with trade and consumer media, leverage technology including blogs, podcasts and social networking sites, monitor the Web, manage rumors and crises and quantify online PR efforts and the results they create.

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Building Robots with LEGO Mindstorms NXT Review

Building Robots with LEGO Mindstorms NXT
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This book is just fantastic. Starts out with the basics for building strong stable robots, and moves on to more complex ideas. Great examples of robots throughout the book which will provide ideas for building your own masterpiece.
It doesn't have step by step instructions, and is more of an ideas book for NXT enthusiasts.
I'd recommend this for your home or Robotics club library.

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The Ultimate Tool for MINDSTORMS ManiacsThe new MINDSTORMS kit has been updated to include a programming brick, USB cable, RJ11-like cables, motors, and sensors. This book updates the robotics information to be compatible with the new set and to show how sound, sight, touch, and distance issues are now dealt with. The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT and its predecessor, the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robotics Invention System (RIS), have been called "the most creative play system ever developed." This book unleashes the full power and potential of the tools, sensors, and components that make up LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT. It also provides a unique insight on newer studless building techniques as well as interfacing with the traditional studded beams. Some of the world's leading LEGO MINDSTORMS inventors share their knowledge and development secrets. You will discover an incredible range of ideas to inspire your next invention. This is the ultimate insider's look at LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT system and is the perfect book whether you build world-class competitive robots or just like to mess around for the fun of it.Featuring an introduction by astronaut Dan Barry and written by Dave Astolfo, Invited Member of the MINDSTORMS Developer Program and MINDSTORMS Community Partners (MCP) groups, and Mario and Guilio Ferrari, authors of the bestselling Building Robots with LEGO Mindstorms, this book covers:Understanding LEGO GeometryPlaying with GearsControlling MotorsReading SensorsWhat's New with the NXT?Building StrategiesProgramming the NXTPlaying Sounds and MusicBecoming MobileGetting Pumped: PneumaticsFinding and Grabbing ObjectsDoing the MathKnowing Where You AreClassic ProjectsBuilding Robots That WalkRobotic AnimalsSolving a MazeDrawing and WritingRacing Against TimeHand-to-Hand CombatSearching for Precision*Complete coverage of the new Mindstorms NXT kit*Brought to you by the DaVinci's of LEGO*Updated edition of a bestseller

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Discovering Computers: Fundamentals, Fifth Edition (Shelly Cashman) Review

Discovering Computers: Fundamentals, Fifth Edition (Shelly Cashman)
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Americans are not people who live in America as much as a father is not the person who gets the mother pregnant but the one who takes responsibility for his children. Americans are people who make sure that the future of the world is bright.
A good country does not make honorable citizens; honorable citizens make a good country.
This bookstore knows the future of any country is its students. They lose money to make a better future for everyone. Unlike For profit educations who sell loans with interest and sell books like starbux coffee.
This bookstore's honorable system is an endangered cause, may they last longer than crooks who think about profit at the cost of the future. Thank you.

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Discovering Computers: Fundamentals, Fifth Edition, covers the same breadth, but with less depth than Discovering Computers 2009: Complete. The text is ideal for use in a short course on computer concepts or in application software courses because of its thorough and concise coverage. Students are guided through the latest trends in computer concepts and technology in an exciting and easy-to-follow format. Updated for currency, this book and the robust Online Companion provide students with the most up-to-date information on the latest technology in today's digital world.

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eBay: Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks, 3rd Edition Review

eBay: Top 100 Simplified Tips and Tricks, 3rd Edition
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Lets face it...most of those "helpful" eBay books are meant to make money for the author...nothing more. This book is an amazing contrast! The author actually knows what she is talking about. I am an old eBay pro but I have found this book to be helpful. And the beauty of this book is that it is organized in degrees of "difficulty". From easy to understand instructions for the newbie to more sopisticated info for the "pro". Take it from me, this book is worth the $$. Buy it and make more $$ on eBay!

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You already know eBay basics. Now you'd like to go beyond with shortcuts, tricks, and tips that let you work smarter and faster. And because you learn more easily when someone shows you how, this is the book for you. Inside, you'll find clear, illustrated instructions for 120 tasks that reveal cool secrets, teach timesaving tricks, and explain great tips guaranteed to make your eBay experience more productive.

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How to Publish a Kindle Book with Everything You Need to Know Explained Review

How to Publish a Kindle Book with Everything You Need to Know Explained
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Are you a published or an inspiring author? Have you ever wondered how you can publish your own book on Amazon Kindle? You can find out these answers and more in the How to Publish a Kindle Book with Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply.
You will learn the history of the electronic publishing world, and you'll be introduced to all the versions of Kindle. Learn how to set up your own kindle account on, edit your novel, and learn how to create and publish your Kindle Ebook using digital text platform. Take advantage of the internet and social media sites to market your book.
I am currently behind on all the new gizmos, including Kindle, and found the book easy to follow. It is a complete guide to anyone who wants to publish their own novels, blogs, magazines, or newspapers onto Kindle. The prices for your book or subscription should be no more than ten dollars, but you can set the price to whatever you want. The book also has great tips on editing your manuscript, and promoting your books. If you have ever wanted or are interested in publishing your writings to Kindle, you should check this book out.

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When Amazon first launched their new digital eBook reader program with the Kindle in 2007, they provided what many people felt was a major leap forward for digital publication of mainstream books. Until that point, it had remained the one point where the Internet had not moved forward all that much people want the feel of paper and the aesthetic of reading off of it. Now, millions are looking to the low cost, high profit realm of digital publication through Kindle. This book has been written as a guide for anyone who has found the exciting new prospect of publishing a Kindle Book, but didn t know where to start. You will learn the basics of what the Amazon Kindle provides and what kind of market it demands in the largest online bookseller in the world. You will learn what formats are accepted and how the review and publication process works through Amazon to get your book published. You will learn how to change or alter the format or style of your book to match the necessities of the Kindle and how to optimize the format of any text for e-reading. Kindle Writers and Amazon experts have been interviewed for this book to provide a complete overview of everything you need to know about publishing your Kindle book. You will learn how to target your book to the right demographic and what you can do to promote your book in Amazon s online inventory. You will learn the basics of web promotion and building a business with digital publications on Amazon. You will learn how to create new content and work with Amazon repeatedly to produce new products and most of all you will learn how to monitor for updates to Kindle and the electronic publishing industry. No matter what your goals are, you can start building your very own publishing house in your home with the Kindle technology and this book.

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Distributed Programming with Ruby Review

Distributed Programming with Ruby
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This book provides an excellent survey of distributed programming techniques using the Ruby platform. As a software engineer who is largely unfamiliar with Ruby, but very familiar with distributed programming, I was able to leverage the book both to understand "how you do things" in Ruby, as well as to introduce myself to the (libraries, framework tools, etc.) which make distributed programming a reality. My experience in reading this book was that it had a great flow, and a very clean presentation on the subject matter. I walked away with a deeper understanding of the Ruby language itself, as well as a mapping from "strategy/design concept" to "implementation toolkit" should I have a need to write a distributed service in Ruby. In summary, the book provides an excellent survey of both distributed concepts, as well as several options available on the Ruby platform for each, covering: DRb, Rinda, RingyDingy, Starfish, Distribunaut, Politics, Starling, working with Rabbit MQ, BackgrounDRb, and Delayed Job.
Much like the Ruby language itself, the text is very concise in explaining even fairly complicated concepts. It achieves this focus of delivery by building on fundamental concepts, providing a very simple starting point, and layering on additional "would like to" one at a time, without confusing the underlying intention. This pattern is present both at the micro level, as each chapter introduces a new distributed challenge and leaves you with a working knowledge of what the Ruby space has to offer for solutions implementations; as well as at the macro level, as the topics of each chapter progress from very simple things like remote procedure calls and data marshalling, to advanced topics such as an remote work processor, distributed work queue based on a map-reduce framework or a message queue service. While the phrase "map-reduce" is mentioned in several topic headings, there is no actual example of a problem solved with a map and reduce against a distributed dataset. The final topic, although not directly a distributed programming concept, is useful information for any production system that does any work of interest: a work scheduler using BackgrounDRb.
In a similar way, each chapter presents a very tiny example app, with complete code, and a walk through, distinguishing between the concept at hand, and the library specific implementation semantics. Also, similar examples are used where appropriate, making it easier to understand the specific nuances of a particular library. Mirroring the measured build up of the text, the code samples evolve in a simple and natural way over the course of a given topic. Although one might complain that there is little imagination in the examples, this focus ensures that the reader walks away with a clear understanding of the "Hello World" level implementation - details are left up to further research.
My only complaint in terms of coverage is that the book is overly "Ruby-only" focused. As an engineer working in a largely heterogeneous environment, I would be interested in a comparison of the internal "Ruby" only packages (e.g. DRb or Rinda) vs. tools that are a bit more cross platform: e.g. in this case, a comparison against a more generalized, stack agnostic marshalling framework (e.g. Google's Protocol Buffers, Facebook's Thrift, Cisco's Etch, or Microsoft's M). In particular, this would signify where the Ruby platform offers a particular advantage for a particular kind of distributed problem. However, as the title goes, this text is focused on the Ruby specific implementations of various technologies, instead of how Ruby as a language plays (with others) in these various areas.
Overall, I would say this is an excellent resource to use as a pointer for further research. If you are developing distributed systems using Ruby, then you are likely already aware of a certain number of these libraries; the survey of alternative options might be informative. For someone like myself who is familiar with distributed systems development but relatively ignorant of Ruby, it proved to be an excellent introduction both to the language, as well as to the Ruby specific semantics for implementing a basic distributed design (e.g. marshalling, task / job execution, etc.)
(Reposted from Bay APLN [...])

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"A must have title for the well-rounded Ruby programmer building advanced Rails applications and large systems!" OBIE FERNANDEZ, Series EditorComplete, Hands-On Guide to Building Advanced Distributed Applications with RubyDistributed programming techniques make applications easier to scale, develop, and deploy—especially in emerging cloud computing environments. Now, one of the Ruby community's leading experts has written the first definitive guide to distributed programming with Ruby. Mark Bates begins with a simple distributed application, and then walks through an increasingly complex series of examples, demonstrating solutions to the most common distributed programming problems.Bates presents the industry's most useful coverage of Ruby's standard distributed programming libraries, DRb and Rinda. Next, he introduces powerful third-party tools, frameworks, and libraries designed to simplify Ruby distributed programming, including his own Distribunaut. If you're an experienced Ruby programmer or architect, this hands-on tutorial and practical reference will help you meet any distributed programming challenge, no matter how complex.Coverage includes• Writing robust, secure, and interactive applications using DRb—and managing its drawbacks• Using Rinda to build applications with improved flexibility, fault tolerance, and service discovery• Simplifying DRb service management with RingyDingy• Utilizing Starfish to facilitate communication between distributed programs and to write MapReduce functions for processing large data sets• Using Politics to customize the processes running on individual server instances in a cloud computing environment • Providing reliable distributed queuing with the low-overhead Starling messaging server • Implementing comprehensive enterprise messaging with RabbitMQ and Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)• Offloading heavyweight tasks with BackgrounDRb and DelayedJob

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How to Say It: Marketing with New Media: A Guide to Promoting Your Small Business Using Websites, E-zines, Blogs, and Podcasts Review

How to Say It: Marketing with New Media: A Guide to Promoting Your Small Business Using Websites, E-zines, Blogs, and Podcasts
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I liked this book. But I didn't find it to be a masterpiece. In my humble opinion it merely provides an overview of the basic Internet Marketing tools and techniques available. It includes the following 6 parts:
1. Setting the stage for the new media success
2. Getting your message across with a Web site
3. Getting your message across with an ezine
4. Getting your message across with a blog
5. Getting your message across with a podcast
6. Putting it all together
Each of these parts was divided into two chapters. Thus, there were a total of 12 chapters in this book. I found the text to flow and the book to be an easy read.
I think the book could have been better if it got into a little more detail regarding the subjects it chose to cover. And I think of podcasts as involving both audio files and now, today, video files. I didn't see much if any coverage of video files. And since I just read "YouTube for Business" (ISBN: 9780789737977) a week ago, I kind of thought there should have been some coverage of the subject.
I also thought there should have been a chapter entitled "Getting your message across using social networking Web sites." It seemed odd to me there was no coverage on this. 4 stars!

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The essential resource for building a global community of customers.How to Say It: Marketing with New Media provides business owners with the tools they need to effectively market their company to today's ever-evolving online community. Packed with power words, content templates, practical steps for getting the word out, and the essentials of speaking to the right audience, this book is the key to building a community of loyal customers online. It also offers quick tips for generating website copy, articles, podcast scripts, and blog posts months in advance, so any small business owner can start an online marketing campaign regardless of limited schedules and budgets.

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Technology in Emergency Management Review

Technology in Emergency Management
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There are other books out there on emergency management. They cannot possibly all be as poorly written as this one. The writer is not particularly articulate, but that's the least of this books problems. Much of the technology is dated. The book, copyright 2007, keeps bringing up the issue that internet access may be compromised by "busy signals." When referring to GPS, he states that it has 30 meter resolution (that improved under President Clinton!).
The reader is advised to purchase "the fastest computer possible" to run GIS applications. It was a bit slow, but I could run ESRI's ARCmap OK on my 2.8 GHz P4. My laptop runs an Intel Core i3 and handles GIS applications just fine. I don't need to plop down several grand to purchase a super-fast Xeon based machine.
On page 63 he states "Geocoding is the graphic representation, usually in the form of a point on a map [of address data]." Never mind that there's not a comma after "map," the fourth word "graphic" should actually be "geographic." This error makes a tremendous difference in the meaning of the sentence and in how somebody unfamiliar with GIS would understand the chapter. This is not an isolated error, just one I recently ran across.
The book has plenty of logical errors, too. He's discussing GIS and says (p. 70) "Staff do not fully understand the technology prior to extensive training." Really? If they did, they wouldn't need the training! Again, this is just one example of a problem that crops up over and over.
To add insult to injury, on p. 114, where he's discussing using satellites for remote sensing and imaging, he posts a picture of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) carried on board satellites to produce these images--at least that's what the picture caption says. The picture there is one of a child's toy radiometer, such as Amazon carries: Radiometer.
This book feels pieced together by somebody who wanted a book contract but didn't know much about the subject he was covering. I haven't finished the book yet, but the first third of it has been so bad that I cannot imagine ever recommending this title to anybody.
If you are a professor thinking of using this for a class--please don't! You will really annoy your students if you require them to plop down $56 on this paperweight!

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Technology plays a vital role in the effectiveness of a management plan during an emergency. Emergency Management Technology not only provides a detailed overview of the technology used, it also clearly explains how the technology is applied in the field. Readers will learn how to utilize technology in emergency planning, response, recovery and mitigation efforts and they'll uncover the key elements that must be in place for technology to enhance the emergency management process.

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Building Websites with DotNetNuke 5 Review

Building Websites with DotNetNuke 5
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I wish that this book was available when I started using DNN 1.5 years ago. It takes you though the installation, then introduces you to the basic concepts, and explains some things that you "must get around to figuring out what it does".
There is a middle section that then explains a little about the core and about the web.config, which are extremely useful, and they are the first documentation I have seen on that subject area.
Finally, the third section, is the brilliant examples from Michaels site on how to build modules easily. If you have not built a module, you will love this.
This book will suit a complete beginner but it will also suit a developer that wants to learn DNN and wants to learn how to program modules.
To followed on from the previous reviewer, my father always said about Country music that it is the chords you leave out that are he nicest. Michael Washington has a particular style, he cuts to the chase and tells you what you want to know without the fluff.
I have five DNN books now, but this is the best. I repeat, I wish I could have bought it a year ago.
thanks for all the help.

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This book has been written both for beginners wanting to set up a website and also for ASP.NET developers with a grasp of VB.NET and C# who want a deeper understanding of how to work with DotNetNuke. To work with the DotNetNuke code, you will need access to Visual Web Developer Express or Visual Studio .NET 2010. No prior knowledge of DotNetNuke is assumed.This book is a practical tutorial with step-by-step instructions and clear, concise explanations. Illustrative screenshots are used for better understanding at every step. You will learn how to set up and administer an example site, stepping through all the tasks to ease your learning. The emphasis is not on becoming a better VB.NET or C# programmer but on taming DotNetNuke.

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Creating a Winning E-Business Review

Creating a Winning E-Business
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This book can open a person's mind to see how many opportunities actually exist out online. This book is general, which gives a broad view of what is needed in a online business, and what's recommended. But this book is a little out of date, published 2006. This book does not get into the technical aspects of online business, but it does provide enough knowledge to commence a business strategy.

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Creating a Winning E-Business, Second Edition illustrates the processes involved with planning, starting, and marketing a new e-business in today's environment. Four types of cases are used in this practical, entrepreneurial guide to provide a real-world approach, including a book-long running case study complimented by chapter specific real-world case studies that open and close each chapter. Additionally, case studies that feature both successful and unsuccessful ventures are found throughout the book enabling students to learn from the actions of others. A new chapter on Affiliation programs (such as's Associates program) is featured and all chapters are updated to reflect industry changes since the publication of the first edition.

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Mastering Search Advertising: How the Top 3% of Search Advertisers Dominate Google AdWords Review

Mastering Search Advertising: How the Top 3% of Search Advertisers Dominate Google AdWords
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...and only the owner of a company like AdGooRoo could write this, explaining why and how. It's one thing to look at search results and study your Google account; it's another to gather data from thousands of companies and show exactly what works and does not. That's what Richard has done with this book.
As author of The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords & having taught hundreds of thousands of people how to advertise on Google, I was elated to see Richard put hard numbers on many things I've believed but was unable to prove.
Richard shows:
--Specific types of keywords and searches and how they relate to buying behavior
--Hard factors that influence Quality Score and Click Thru Rate
--Information that is very hard to get from Google, like % ad exposure and relationships between bid price, ad position, Click Thru Rate and Conversion Rate
Richard explains the inner workings of Google's formula, revealing why ultra-relevant advertisers get a wonderful advantage of being served *all* the available clicks and not just a portion. If you're up against competition who is in that enviable position, you need all the intel you can get.
This book is not for beginners. I really don't see that as a problem, though, there are plenty of books that do that (such as my own). There's a whole class of Google advertisers who know all the basic stuff but are still perplexed by Adwords. They're in hyper-competitive markets duking it out with hundreds of bidders and they need advanced info. This book is perfect for them.

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Mastering Search Advertising shares insight and professional guidance from an expert Internet marketer on how to launch, manage and improve already-existing pay-per-click campaigns, providing an inside look into a largely undiscovered and exciting industry.Richard Stokes, founder of AdGooroo, a leading search engine intelligence company, has over 15 years of experience in advertising and technology management and includes real-life examples, case studies and charts that reveal not only the basics of creating a pay-per-click campaign, but also break down the intricacies of the process into simple, easy-to-understand steps that will help any business leader focused on achieving a world-class marketing strategy. Successful tactics known only to a handful of elite search marketers are discussed in detail and include specific techniques on how to:Increase search traffic while simultaneously lowering costsConduct keyword researchDetermine the best starting bid prices for new keywordsManage bids without expensive bid management softwareLaunch a new campaignUnderstand the Google quality score algorithmStop throwing your marketing dollars away and learn how to dominate Google AdWords today!"A well researched, truthful, and up-to-date guide for pay-per-click marketers."Mike Mindel, CTO,

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Securing the Borderless Network: Security for the Web 2.0 World Review

Securing the Borderless Network: Security for the Web 2.0 World
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I am giving this four stars because in June 2010, this really helps me see the big picture from a seasoned tech executive, Harvard MBA's point of view. Through no fault of his own, the manuscript will age fast and be less valuable fast. For instance, chapter 6 doesn't have the iPad however, it does have the Apple Newton from 1993. There is a lot of history built into Gillis's research and I found that really helpful, we have to know where we have been to understand where we are going. If you need to understand the emerging trends in security and computing in general and it is still 2010, I recommend you buy this book. If it is later than 2010 and it is not second edition or updated, ask around for a copy to borrow. I guess I am a bit of a Gillis fan, I only recycled his Get the Message from 2004 last month.

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Securing the Borderless Network: Security for the Web 2.0 WorldTom GillisSecuring the Borderless Network reveals New techniques for securing advanced Web 2.0, virtualization, mobility, and collaborative applicationsToday's new Web 2.0, virtualization, mobility, telepresence, and collaborative applications offer immense potential for enhancing productivity and competitive advantage. However, they also introduce daunting new security issues, many of which are already being exploited by cybercriminals. Securing the Borderless Network is the first book entirely focused on helping senior IT decision-makers understand, manage, and mitigate the security risks of these new collaborative technologies. Cisco® security technology expert Tom Gillis brings together systematic, timely decision-making and technical guidance for companies of all sizes: information and techniques for protecting collaborative systems without compromising their business benefits. You'll walk through multiple scenarios and case studies, from Cisco Webex® conferencing to social networking to cloud computing. For each scenario, the author identifies key security risks and presents proven best-practice responses, both technical and nontechnical. Securing the Borderless Network reviews the latest Cisco technology solutions for managing identity and securing networks, content, endpoints, and applications. The book concludes by discussing the evolution toward "Web 3.0" applications and the Cisco security vision for the borderless enterprise, providing you with a complete security overview for this quickly evolving network paradigm.

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Listen First: Turning Social Media Conversations Into Business Advantage Review

Listen First: Turning Social Media Conversations Into Business Advantage
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Quick Review:
Being a good listener, argues Stephen Rappaport, is an increasingly important skill in the age of effective Internet marketing. This playbook by the Advertising Research Foundation is a detailed (perhaps over detailed) effort to help businesses both small and large learn how to leverage social media as a platform for marketing research. Although quite difficult to read, its value lies in its difference: unlike most social media marketing books, this one is all about listening and research.
I teach Social Media Marketing both online and in San Francisco (you can click on my profile or Google Jason McDonald to find me), and this book is a one-of-a-kind new perspective on social media marketing and reputation management, that I will recommend to my students and colleagues who want to look before they leap into social media marketing!
Detailed Review:
Listen First! Social Media Marketing Research
Marketing ultimately is about selling; marketing is to selling, as strategy is to tactics. So as marketers, we are the eyes and ears of our companies - constantly scanning the environment for opportunities and threats. As Rappaport argues in this book, the new social media landscape provides unprecedented opportunities for us to 'listen in' to our customers - and thereby gain insights into both opportunities and threats.
Whereas previously marketing research was largely about surveys, focus groups, observational methods, and sales data, now we can hear customers as they complain, customers as they praise, customers as they suggest ideas to us (and to each other). Social media venues such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and the like are a veritable gold mine of untapped marketing intelligence.
For that brilliant insight alone - I recommend that you buy this book. Heretofore, most social media marketing books have largely been about talking and getting customers to talk about you; this book switches our focus to the logic of listening.
Defining Marketing Objectives
As marketing needs clear objectives, so too does marketing research and so too does listening in to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Rather than provide clear outlines and guides, however, this is where the book falters a bit. It has many, many case studies but all written in small fonts without clear breaks between concepts and best practices. There is a ton of information in the case studies, but it is really up to you (the reader) to tease it out. It's unfortunate that the book's editor didn't know where the BOLD key was in Microsoft word! That would have made the book a lot easier to read, and to get the correct take-aways.
I especially liked the distinctions made. For example, Rappaport distinguishes between Brand Backyards like one's own Twitter account, blog, or forum and consumer backyards such as the Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter accounts of others. Too often, corporations have tried to control the social media marketing dialogue rather than embrace the necessary chaos of this new marketing world order.
The case study on Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow who provide bacon-flavored products is especially informative. Rather than getting stuck down with academic research agendas and objectives, the two basically trolled user forums and blogs to realize the obvious: everything tastes better with bacon! From this social media marketing insight a bacon powerhouse was born.
At the level of theory, Rapaport reminds us, an overly academic researcher might have objected to the lack of statistical rigor in the I-love-bacon listening strategy. But, he reminds, us the results (sales!) speak for themselves.
So first define your objectives, and then listen. Or better yet: define your marketing objectives as you listen, and don't get too hung up on social science rigor!
Reputation Management and Social Media Marketing Listening
Among the new social media marketing buzz words is reputation management. Rapaport only touches on this subject, but reminds us that listening is a critical element of an effective reputation management strategy. You have to know your reputation, after all, before you can manage it!
He concludes the book with a list of online resources, that I will peruse and investigate during my summer break. I track hundreds of free social media tools, and I am eager to investigate his picks. My hat goes off to him for having a list of resources as many otherwise great books, leave us hanging. In this age of the Internet, no book is complete without a list of links and Rapaport obliges. Thanks!

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"This superb book synthesizes the industry's best thinking on the massive upside of listening. Listen First! is an invaluable resource for marketing executives and will help organizations create real competitive advantage."—Dave Hudson, CEO, NM Incite, a joint venture of McKinsey and Nielsen
"Listening is a business imperative . . . especially in a world of empowered consumers. Brands are getting built and nurtured in a very different way. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to succeed in this new world order."—Stan Sthanunathan, Vice President, Marketing Strategy & Insights, Coca-Cola
"One by one, the best marketing companies are putting 'listening to consumers' on their strategic agenda. Following each announcement, we hear . . . silence, as staff groups try to grapple with the new directive. Listen First! is a timely, unhyped, and pragmatic field guide for those exploring the world of listening."—Ted McConnell, EVP Digital, Advertising Research Foundation; former head of Digital Marketing Innovation, Procter & Gamble
"How many of you have an effective listening strategy? To help guide you in the listening maze, identify new business opportunities, and select the right partners for the development and implementation of an effective listening strategy, this book is a must and an enjoyable read!"—Prof. Yoram (Jerry) Wind, The Lauder Professor, The Wharton School
"We started J&D's with a single idea – to make everything taste like bacon. All we needed now were customers. So we decided to go where the conversations were, and we've been listening ever since. We use social media to connect with our customers, promote our advancements in bacon-o-vation, and ask for their feedback on new product development. If you're an entrepreneur or run a small business, this book will give you lots of examples and terrific and practical ideas for creatively listening to your customers and growing it."—Justin Esch, cofounder, J&D's Foods

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Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today's Consumer-Driven World Review

Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today's Consumer-Driven World
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Credibility is the lifeblood of an organization, and Pete Blackshaw's six drivers of credibility should be indelibly etched onto the reverse of every CEO's business card. They are the essentials of brand and corporate trustworthiness and they are the foundation for Pete's new book, "Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000"--absolute must reading for every one of those CEOs, every front-line/online company spokesperson and, for that matter, anyone within an organization that truly cares about nurturing perhaps the most valuable yet often elusive organizational asset.

Public affairs professionals will want to keep a copy within easy reach. (Mine now sits in front of my "Roget's Thesaurus.") Customer Relations and Consumer Affairs personnel should read it at once, then again, and--likewise--keep this easy to digest textbook at the ready as you go about talking to, emailing or--more likely--instant messaging internet-savvy customers and consumers.
Pete Blackshaw writes with the common sense clarity of a consumer, yet as readers we benefit from his well-honed expertise in social media and interactive marketing as well as his own well-earned credibility in the vast and potent online marketplace. Pete has written a fine and timely how-to-book on the art of relationship building in a business world being powerfully influenced by consumer-generated media.

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The Network Is Your Customer: Five Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age Review

The Network Is Your Customer: Five Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age
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This is a fabulous book. A lot of marketing experts offer half-baked hints and tips for exploiting the potential of social networks. Rogers, however, has thought long and hard about the implications of the network for companies, and he applies his intelligent analysis to examples in various industries and in politics. His five strategies derive from this analysis. They're clearly presented and supremely actionable. Among the millions of words written about marketing in the digital age, this book stands out as really insightful and important. If you want a deep understanding of the implications of digital connections for marketing, as well as some practical tools you can implement in your own enterprise, this is the book you want. I recommend it very highly.

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"An incredibly useful and valuable guidebook to the new consumer economy. Buy it. Learn from it. Succeed with it."—Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do "This is the stuff that every business and nonprofit needs to embrace if they're going to succeed in a changing world."—Vivian Schiller, CEO of NPR With clear analysis and practical frameworks, this book provides a strategic guide that any business or nonprofit can use to succeed in the digital age.
Marketing expert David Rogers examines how digital technologies—from smartphones to social networks—connect us in frameworks that transform our relationships to business and each other. To thrive today, organizations need new strategies—strategies designed for customer networks.
Rogers offers five strategies that any business can use to create new value:
ACCESS—be faster, be easier, be everywhere, be always on ENGAGE—become a source of valued content CUSTOMIZE—make your offering adaptable to your customer's needs CONNECT—become a part of your customers' conversations COLLABORATE—involve your customers at every stage of your enterpriseRogers explains these five strategies with over 100 cases from every type and size of business—from shoes to news, and software to healthcare. In The Network Is Your Customer, he shows:
How Apple harnessed a host of collaborators to write apps for its iPhone How IBM designed a videogame to help sell its enterprise software How Ford Motors inspired an online community to build brand awareness for its new Fiesta...and countless other cases from consumer, b2b, and nonprofit categories.
The book outlines a process for planning and implementing a customer network strategy to match your customers, your business, and your objectives—whether you need to drive sales, to enhance innovation, to reduce costs, to gain customer insight, or to build breakthrough products and services. Because today, whatever your goals and whatever your business, the network is your customer.

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The New Entrepreneurial Leader: Developing Leaders Who Shape Social and Economic Opportunity (Bk Business) Review

The New Entrepreneurial Leader: Developing Leaders Who Shape Social and Economic Opportunity (Bk Business)
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A fascinating look at the mind and worldview of the "new" entrepreneur. The book lays out three key principles of entrepreneurial leadership based on years of research and the expertise of business school professors who give lively, first-hand accounts of training MBA students at Babson College, the top business school for entrepreneurship in the country. Especially interesting is the idea of "cognitive ambidexterity" which posits the necessity of using both analytical reasoning and experiential, action-based learning. In other words, a leader must be able to shift from logic to creativity and back again to succeed in the business climate of the future. As an educator myself, I was heartened by the stated mission of the authors who believe that the next generation of managers must be inculcated with values that go beyond creating profit to embrace concepts like "maximizing the common good and minimizing social injustice and environmental impact." Filled with colorful detail and stories from the trenches of real entrepreneurship at work, the book is a must-read for anyone interested in leadership, education, or social justice.

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In years past, the keywords for leaders were confidence, single-minded purpose, and strategic planning. But today's vastly complex, globalized, and fast-evolving world requires a different kind of leadership. This game-changing book details a new approach—entrepreneurial leadership—developed at Babson College, the number-one school for entrepreneurship in the world.

Entrepreneurial leadership is inspired by, but is separate from, entrepreneurship. It is a leadership approach that can be applied in any organizational situation, not just start-ups. Based on two years of extensive research, it embraces three principles that add up to nothing less than a fundamentally new worldview of business and a new logic of decision making.

The authors discovered that rapid change and increasing uncertainty require leaders to be "cognitively ambidextrous," able to shift between traditional "prediction logic" (choosing actions based on analysis of known trends) and "creation logic" (taking action despite considerable unknowns). Guiding this different way of thinking and acting is a different worldview of business and society, where simultaneous creation of social, environmental, and economic value is the order of the day. Entrepreneurial leaders also leverage their understanding of themselves and their social context to guide effective action.

Praise for The New Entrepreneurial Leader

"The Babson team cracked the code on global entrepreneurial leadership for the 21st century. Their three principles—cognitive ambidexterity, responsibility and sustainability, and self- and social awareness—are the bedrock for winning on the competitive global playing field of tomorrow. A conceptually sound and very practical guidebook for leadership success." —Noel Tichy, Professor and Director, Global Citizenship Initiative, University of Michigan, and coauthor of Judgment (with Warren Bennis)

"Helps us understand the imperative for developing leaders who create both economic and social value. Importantly, this book offers a blueprint for how educators across the curriculum can prepare students to have the vision and ability required to achieve integrated value." —Nancy McGaw, Deputy Director, Business and Society Program, Aspen Institute

"Precisely what our turbulent and uncertain environment requires: a new leader with good self-knowledge and passion, able to reconcile the apparent contradictions (in the yin-and-yang tradition of the Chinese) brought by complexity. The model will be a source of inspiration, and action, for all those concerned about leadership today." —Henri-Claude de Bettignies, Emeritus Professor of Leadership and Responsibility, INSEAD, and Emeritus Professor of Global Responsible Leadership, CEIBS

"Working with Babson College, we've seen how its entrepreneurial approach to management education can unlock the growth and job-creation potential of small businesses across the United States. The New Entrepreneurial Leader is a must-read for anyone who is interested in positioning American students and businesses owners as the cornerstones of this country's economic recovery." —Dina Powell, Global Head of Corporate Engagement and President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, Goldman Sachs Group

"As business schools reconsider their point of arrival and their future destinations, The New Entrepreneurial Leader provides a vocabulary and conceptual road map for those institutions that consider entrepreneurship and innovation as the way forward. The book both provides a toolbox and shows the power of a core focus on entrepreneurship in developing a distinctive educational program that has implications for all business schools." —Rakesh Khurana, Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Harvard Business School, and author of From Higher Aims to Hired Hands

"This book is an exemplar of the new wave of thinking about how to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders, and managers for the 21st century. The discussion is framed by tractable concepts and is grounded in practical application. You will gain a valuable perspective on what matters and how to deliver transformational learning to students." —Robert F. Bruner, Dean and Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, and author of Deals from Hell "In a world overwhelmed with problems, we desperately need more entrepreneurial problem solvers—whether that's young people starting companies from scratch or change agents inside big companies launching breakthrough initiatives. This remarkable book showcases the newest thinking from Babson College, one of the world's most-admired centers of entrepreneurial education, about two timeless questions: what makes entrepreneurs special, and what are the most effective ways to teach aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed? The best education doesn't just tell you what you need to know; it changes how you think. This powerful book does just that." —William C. Taylor, cofounder and Founding Editor, Fast Company, and author of Practically Radical "In The New Entrepreneurial Leader, Babson extends its own leadership in management education. Indeed, this book effectively argues that 21st-century management requires entrepreneurial leadership. Larger companies should require this book for every executive." —Stephen Spinelli, President, Philadelphia University, and cofounder, Jiffy Lube International "More than thirty years ago, Babson College was the first institution to teach entrepreneurship as a discipline, and once again, with the publication of The Entrepreneurial Leader, Babson has demonstrated that it is an innovator in management education. This is a thought-provoking book that provides very practical insights on ways to teach future entrepreneurs how to think and act more critically and analytically, strive for greater self- and social awareness, and achieve outstanding results." —William D. Green, Chairman, Accenture "This book provides a vision for developing leaders who aspire to create social, environmental, and economic value simultaneously. It offers practical advice on how to transform management education to realize this vision." —Liz C. Maw, Executive Director, NetImpact "This is a book that was long overdue...the chapters that discuss the challenges of defining metrics for CSR and the difficulty of linking CSR to corporate social performance (CSP) have the potential to impact the content of our business curriculum." —Dr. Norean Sharpe, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University

"Reinvention is essential and must be done with guts and in a vigorous manner. In The New Entrepreneurial Leader, you will find a viable approach to reinvent management education. This book is a must-read for all who run, teach in, or plan to attend a business school." —Kevin C. Desouza, Associate Professor and Director, Institute for Innovation in Information Management, University of Washington, and author of Intrapreneurship "This book builds on Babson's thirty years of pioneering researching and teaching entrepreneurship. It challenges conventional business education by arguing convincingly that the entrepreneurial mindset is key to success in our incredibly complex world—not just for entrepreneurs but also for managers, whether they operate in businesses or nonprofit organizations, in highly advanced or in emerging economies. It is a must-buy book." —Guy Pfeffermann, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Global Business School Network

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