A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky were revelations to me. Since then, I've been trying to grab as much Vinge as I could, and have generally been disappointed. (Ok, True Names was a decent enough story). This book is a collection of his short stories, spanning 5 decades, and covers quite a variety of story, and mostly sucks. Bit harsh, but in comparison to his best it's not good. Which is to be expected, I suppose. Various stories match up with universes he's used for his longer books. There were 2 stories I did rather enjoy - The Blabber, set in the world of A Fire..., and Fast Times At Fairmont High, which is in a near future on the cusp of a singularity (one of his pet topics, but a nice partner to Accelerando). I have a suspicion this may be the same world as Rainbow's End, which I have yet to read. Particularly disappointing was the inclusion of a story (The Barbarian Princess) which is a direct component of Tatja Grimm's World. Having the same story glued together in different ways in different places is... frustrating.
Having said that, it's not that bad. At 450 pages, it's a fair chunk of stuff, and the disappointment at wading through some dross should not count against the fact that there's some cool stuff in there, and, well, it's interesting to see which themes are common, and which other approaches he's taken. And since it's a bunch of short stories, you can always skip to something else!