Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, Fifth Edition
Authors: Chuck Musciano, Bill Kennedy
i am a self-taught (is there any other kind?;) web designer for Icon Medialab. this is (or was, at least) by far the best book on HTML, when it came out a year ago. edition 1 was 5-96, edition 2 was 5-97, so where is edition 3? revisions to the HTML (4), browser bugs/support issues, CSS and XML/XSL are all sorely needed! i am putting off buying other books becuase i REALLY REALLY hope O'Rielly releases a new edition of this must-have book soon!
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Excel Data Analysis: Your Visual Blueprint for Creating and Analyzing Data, Charts and PivotTables
Authors: Jinjer Simon, Jinjer Simon
The "Read Less - Learn More" trademark on the cover encapsulates the essence of what any reader can get out of this very non-traditional software user's guide.
Although I am an MBA grad and am knowledgeable of data analysis techniques, I had always considered myself a novice user of Excel. I recently found myself in a predicament where I had to quickly learn the more complicated Excel features of data analysis in preparation for an interview for a position with a market research firm. In a panic, I went to the local B&N bookstore and bought a copy of the old stand-by Dummies Series- "Excel Data Analysis" (I'll refer to it as "DS"), as well as the book in this review (I'll refer to it as Visual Blueprint, "VB").
The thing about this book that really appealed to me was the logical and clean (uncluttered) explanation of each of the topics presented. It's a very user-friendly manual to follow along with the use of a computer (to go through the exercises).
Progressive screen-shots are always located at the bottom half of each page, in successive order from left to right with clearly labeled numbered steps to follow. The examples that are shown in the screen shots are simple but very illustrative.
On the top half of each left page is an introduction of the topic being covered and what the main processes are to accomplish the particular task. On the top half of each right page are additional methods of application and extra hints and descriptions of the syntaxes for functions that can be used.
The arrangement of the graphics and the text work very well together and allow the reader to efficiently grasp each of the concepts being presented. What would normally be covered by a traditional user's manual in five to ten pages (reading from top to bottom- large text sections interspersed by graphics), this reference does the same in either two pages or four pages maximum. The way the editors have laid out this manual was very clever; not only does the reader have a lot less pages to get lost in (especially when trying to work through the examples with a computer) but also the topics are presented concisely and as simply as possible.
I relied heavily on this book to prepare myself for an Excel test given by the company I was interviewing with. I spent at least 90% of my time referring to VB, and where necessary, I spent 10% of my time referring to DS for supplementary information. I studied over a period of one week and passed the test well enough to be hired!
As enthusiastic as I am about this book, it is far from perfect with regards to being an ultimate and comprehensive manual for Excel. (That said, however, the Appendices are full of useful information...keystroke and navigation shortcuts as well as a handy reference for VBA and function syntaxes / commands....much more than is included in DS.) Additionally, as another reviewer had written previously, I can corroborate that I had found a few minor errors (formula calculations in examples, syntaxes), but not in such a large amount as to dissuaded one from using this book. My other negative is that the examples provided on the included CD were poorly referenced in the Manual; some examples, I couldn't find on the CD. Again, this didn't happen often.
I gave this book a perfect score, not because it is an authoritative and fully comprehensive manual on Excel Data Analysis (it isn't), but because it delivers on empowering readers to learn the software in much less time than traditional manuals can deliver. VB is quick and dirty- but it works!
Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigms
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Maarten van Steen
Tanenbaum and van Steen have updated their textbooks on networks and distributed systems to include chapters on Distributed Document-Based Systems (examples: The World Wide Web / Lotus Notes) and Distributed Coordination-Based Systems (examples: TIBCO/Rendezvous / JINI). There are other good chapters as well, including; Security, Distributed Object-Based Systems, Distributed File Systems, Fault Tolerance, Consistency & Replication, and more. I have always liked Tanenbaum's textbooks and picked this one up for a textbook discussion of TIBCO/Rendezvous because of my work in federated information systems. The chapter on TIBCO discusses the coordination model, architecture, messaging, events, processes, naming, synchronization, caching, replication, fault tolerance and security. There is a similar discussion on JINI and a follow-up comparative analysis of TIBCO/Rendezvous and JINI. In short, this book is an excellent reference for people of all experience and education levels working with distributed systems. Like all Tanenbaum's books, Distributed Systems is well written and easy to read. Highly Recommended!
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: SQL/400 Developer's Guide
Publisher: 29th Street Press
Authors: Paul Conte, Mike Cravitz
I'm an AS/400 programmer with over ten years experience with RPG, DDS, and DB2/400. I've been working with SQL/400 for a little over a year. I wish I'd had this book when I started learning SQL! It has very thorough introductions to all the essential DDL and DML statements. Although I'm somewhat beyond the "basics" level now, I've also found lots of help with more advanced issues.
The explanation of transaction isolation levels and record locking is better than I've found anywhere. Also, the complex rules for "system" vs. "SQL" naming are finally comprehensible. The authors seem to know SQL/400 very well, judging from the numerous "nitty-gritty" technical fine points that are provided in footnotes.
This is really the kind of book that an AS/400 developer needs to become a good SQL programmer, too.