Book Reviews

Blazing the Trail to the 70-216 Summit

Mike Meyer's Passport opens doors for newbies and experts alike.

When I was younger, I received my first passport. It was a magical moment. That thin booklet opened the door of the rest of the world to me and suggested endless trips to storied destinations I yearned to see. Some of these journeys were complete disasters and I couldn't get away fast enough. Others took me to places full of wonder, excitement and enchantment.

Mike Meyer's Certification Passport Guide series provides a lengthy itinerary. Some of the stops are pretty rough, and you can't get wait to get out. Others are fabulous finds that make the whole trip worthwhile. Such is the case with Mike Meyers' MCSE Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure Administration Certification Passport. Don't let the length of the title put you off—this book is fabulous. Using Passport 70-216 won't guarantee you a passing score on what may be Microsoft's toughest core exam, but it'll make studying an admittedly dry subject a lot easier and more enjoyable.

The principal reason for this is that author Rory McCaw possesses exceptional communication skills. This is the first book of his I've read, but it won't be the last. I submit him to your short list of superb technical writers.

The book itself is well organized and covers the objectives for the exam in workmanlike fashion. As with the entire Passport series, each chapter is broken up into a series of travel-related topics. Itineraries list the official exam objectives covered; ETAs provide information on the amount of time needed to complete each lesson; and Travel Advisories offer expert advice on critical topics. Concise definitions of key terms and concepts make-up the Local Lingo, and Travel Assistance is used to suggest resources for more information. There are the requisite Exam Tips to warn you of common pitfalls and points to ponder. Checkpoints designate the end-of-chapter questions, answers and explanations. The book also contains a simplistic Career Flight Path to help you determine where to go next on the certification trail. The book comes with a practice exam on a CD using the ExamWeb test engine. The book does a thorough job covering the exam material, and McCaw and the editor receive credit for minimal grammatical and factual errors.

Regrettably the book does not have a glossary. There were a few minor annoying typos—I couldn't understand the books insistence on calling it an Lmhosts file rather than an LMHOST file. Although the test questions on the CD aren't very representative of the actual exam, though those at the end of the chapters are useful.

The book's strength is that it takes a dry collection of mostly technical information and makes it accessible to everyone. McCaw isn't merely gifted at explaining things, Passport 70-216 borders on literature. That fact makes this book's value immense. Because the student wants to read, he ends up liking the subject. The beauty of Passport 20-216 is that both newbies and experienced network administrators can read it and benefit. For that reason alone, it belongs on your bookshelf.

About the Author

David W. Tschanz, Ph.D., MCSE, is author of the recent "Exchange Server 2007 Infrastructure Design: A Service-Oriented Approach" (Wiley, 2008), as well as co-author of "Mastering Microsoft SQL Server 2005" (Sybex, 2006). Tschanz is a regular contributor to Redmond magazine and operates a small IT consulting firm specializing in business-oriented infrastructure development.

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