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Aimed at those with some previous programming experience, Inside C#shows developers the unique strengths, advantages, and tips for coding with C#. This fast-paced and in-depth tutorial will let you use Microsoft's newest programming language on the emerging .NET platform successfully.

The outstanding strength of this text is its in-depth language tutorial on C#, with complete coverage of basic and advanced object-oriented programming techniques. New language features like properties, indexers, and attributes get full coverage, alongside the basics of using classes and inheritance.

The book relies on using Visual Studio 6.0 and the command-line .NET tools for running programs. (Visual Studio.NET, the next version of Visual Studio, was unavailable when the book was written.) First to market with an in-depth language tutorial, the focus of Inside C#is on basic and advanced language features. By viewing generated code (using the ILDASM disassembler tool), the author examines how class design features work under the hood.

The language tutorial digs into features, beginning with a "Hello, World" program and delving into class design features before moving on to more basic features like expressions, operators, and flow control. This sequence makes the book best suited to the experienced developer, since some excellent in-depth material on the most advanced features of C# is presented before the basics of the language. Throughout, you'll learn the newest features of the language, how to use it, and a sense of its personality.

There's also plenty of material on the underlying Microsoft .NET platform, from the basics of the Common Language Runtime (CLR) to assemblies (used to deploy .NET applications), plus getting older COM components to interoperate with the newer .NET standard.

For anyone who's programmed before and wants to learn C# quickly, this in-depth guide anchored with plenty of short, effective examples provides what you need. Inside C#shows off the unique strengths of this new and exciting language and provides a solid introduction to the .NET platform. —Richard Dragan

Topics covered:Introduction to C# and the Microsoft .NET FrameworkTutorial for object-oriented programmingA "Hello, World" program in C#Command-line .NET tools (including the C# compiler and the ILDASM disassembler)C# typesBoxing and unboxing variablesIn-depth guide to C# class design (including members and methods, constructors, constants and read-only fields, garbage collection, and inheritance)Method overloadingVirtual and static methodsPropertiesArraysIndexersAttributesInterfaces (declaring and implementing interfaces, plus interfaces combined with inheritance)Expressions and operators in C# (including operator precedence)Program flow controlException handling classes and techniquesOperator overloadingDelegates and event handlersMultithreaded programming techniques (including thread safety and synchronization)C# reflection and metadataUsing unmanaged code and pointers from within C#COM interoperabilityAssemblies and deployment in C#

Buddha (Penguin Lives) Karen Armstrong  
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Books on Buddhism may overflow the shelves, but the life story of the Buddha himself has remained obscure despite over 2,500 years of influence on millions of people around the world. In an attempt to rectify this, and to make the Buddha and Buddhism accessible to Westerners, the beloved scholar and author of such sweeping religious studies as A History of Godhas written a readable, sophisticated, and somewhat unconventional biography of one of the most influential people of all time. Buddha himself fought against the cult of personality, and the Buddhist scriptures were faithful, giving few details of his life and personality. Karen Armstrong mines these early scriptures, as well as later biographies, then fleshes the story out with an explanation of the cultural landscape of the 6th century B.C., creating a deft blend of biography, history, philosophy, and mythology.

At the age of 29, Siddhartha Gautama walked away from the insulated pleasure palace that had been his home and joined a growing force of wandering monks searching for spiritual enlightenment during an age of upheaval. Armstrong traces Gautama's journey through yoga and asceticism and grounds it in the varied religious teachings of the time. In many parts of the world during this so-called axial age, new religions were developing as a response to growing urbanization and market forces. Yet each shared a common impulse—they placed faith increasingly on the individual who was to seek inner depth rather than magical control. Taoism and Confucianism, Hinduism, monotheism in the Middle East and Iran, and Greek rationalism were all emerging as Gautama made his determined way towards enlightenment under the boddhi tree and during the next 45 years that he spent teaching along the banks of the Ganges. Armstrong, in her intelligent and clarifying style, is quick to point out the Buddha's relevance to our own time of transition, struggle, and spiritual void in both his approach—which was based on skepticism and empiricism—and his teachings.

Despite the lack of typical historical documentation, Armstrong has written a rich and revealing description of both a unique time in history and an unusual man. Buddhais a terrific primer for those interested in the origins and fundamentals of Buddhism. —Lesley Reed

The Bible: A Biography (Books That Changed the World) Karen Armstrong  
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As the work at the heart of Christianity, the Bible is the spiritual guide for one out of every three people in the world. It is also the world’s most widely distributed book, translated into over two thousand languages, and the world’s best selling book, year after year. But the Bible is a complex work with a complicated and obscure history. Made up of sixty-six “books” written by various authors and divided into two testaments, its contents have changed over the centuries. The Bible has been transformed by translation and, through interpretation, has developed manifold meanings to various religions, denominations, and sects. In this seminal account, acclaimed historian Karen Armstrong discusses the conception, gestation, and life of history’s most powerful book. Armstrong analyzes the social and political situation in which oral history turned into written scripture, how this all-pervasive scripture was collected into one work, and how it became accepted as Christianity’s sacred text. She explores how scripture came to be read for information, and how, in the nineteenth century, historical criticism of the Bible caused greater fear than Darwinism. This is a brilliant, captivating book, crucial in an age of declining faith and rising fundamentalism.

JavaSpaces(TM) Principles, Patterns, and Practice Eric Freeman Susanne Hupfer Ken Arnold  
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JavaSpaces Principles, Patterns, and Practice delivers an exciting introduction to the world of distributed, high-performance computing on Java's Jini platform using the new JavaSpaces API. Written for academic and business developers, this guide will help you begin using the Jini platform by outlining its powerful, elegant solutions for distributed computing.

After a foreword by distributed computing pioneer David Gelernter, the book provides a short technology overview describing the makeup of JavaSpaces. The authors atomize their description of JavaSpaces as an overseer application that lets programs running on separate computers store and share persistent data. While the JavaSpaces API is by itself remarkably simple, this book demonstrates with deliberate fanfare the resolution of common distributed computing problems using complex design patterns.

Early sections look at the basics of reading, writing, and searching for data stored in JavaSpaces as well as presenting task and result bags as solutions to managing work done in parallel. The book also elaborates on the readers/writers problem, well-known within the field of computer science, and even offers a means of addressing it. The authors use code samples from a chat message server and a model of a paging system using message channels during their discussion of message passing and communication with JavaSpaces.

One section on distributed patterns presents some common solutions to doing work in parallel, including the Marketplace pattern, illustrated with an e-commerce bidding application. Further sections cover distributed events and transactions as they apply to JavaSpaces. The book closes with two excellent examples, one for a distributed messaging service and another for a brute force attack on encrypted passwords.

With the debut of JavaSpaces, business developers gain access to distributed processing previously available only to academic researchers. The JavaSpaces solution, along with JavaSpaces Principles, Patterns, and Practice, will let any Java developer audition distributed computing for the first time. —Richard Dragan

The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld Herbert Asbury  
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The Gangs of New York has long been hand-passed among its cult readership. It is a tour through a now unrecognizable city of abysmal poverty and habitual violence cobbled, as Luc Sante has written, "from legend, memory, police records, the self-aggrandizements of aging crooks, popular journalism, and solid historical research." Asbury presents the definitive work on this subject, an illumination of the gangs of old New York that ultimately gave rise to the modern Mafia and its depiction in films like The Godfather. "A universal history of infamy [that] contains all the confusion and cruelty of the barbarian cosmologies...."—Jorge Luis Borges "The tale is one of blood, excitement and debauchery."—The New York Times Book Review "The Gangs of New York is one of the essential works of the city...."—Luc Sante, The New York Review of Books

Sucker's Progress: An Informal History of Gambling in America Herbert Asbury  
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Originally published in 1938, Sucker's Progress is a complete look at old-time gamesmanship in America. From Midwestern riverboats to East Coast racetracks, Asbury explores the legal, and illegal, history of gambling in pre–World War I America. With a keen eye and acerbic voice, Asbury defines the world of gambling as one of "sharpers" and "suckers": those who excel at the games by cheating, and their victims. From notorious gambling havens like Chicago and New Orleans to lesser-known outposts in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio, Asbury examines the gambling houses, big and small, which peppered the American landscape. Also included are photographs and details of the lives of some of America's most famous gamblers, including Mike McDonald, John Morrissey, and Richard Canfield, as well as their infamous counterparts like "Canada Bill" and "Charley Black Eyes," who made their names as grifters and con men. Asbury also details the games these men played, describing the rules and origins of a number of dice and card games. From one-dollar lottery tickets to thousand-dollar poker antes, America's love of gambling thrives today, but it was during Asbury's era that gambling was established as an American passion.