Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Database Processing: Fundamentals, Design, and Implementation, Ninth Edition
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: David Kroenke
There is a problem in the IT learning experience that surrounds textbooks. The problem is that their is not a logical learning path to follow to obtain the prerequisite knowledge to progress in the field. Data structures and Discrete Math are two prime examples of this. Its not like traditional math where you take Alg1 then Alg2 College Alg...etc....Its more like boom here it is with Discrete. Anyhow, I have been over many textbooks in IT and this is the problem. IT authors are either way too indepth and write textbooks that are practically impossible to understand or...??? Well in lots of cases there is no alternative. Database texts are no exception. I studied Conelly/Begg's "Database Systems" and found that to be an exceptional book for Intermediate level study, however it lacked any systematic learning approach. Its more encyclopedic and detailed than what is needed in a first course. Thats the problem with learning from IT texts. We are forced to learn from texts that are written from a high level non-structured format in entry level courses where structured learning is most critical. So how do we learn and progress when this is the case...answer: you dont...its a weed out. LOL? Anyhow, look at the title, it says FUNDAMENTALS! Then look up the word in the dictionary if you dont know what this means as it seems that some people in the IT teaching/learning world dont understand this word! Kroenke writes this book as an entry level, basic, introductory and FUNDAMENTAL course in database processing. After understanding these basics then you can move on to Intermediate and more Advanced Database courses. Thats what the IT teaching and learning experience is lacking. A Progressive structured learning format with texts written with appropriate titles which is seldom the case! Kroenke does this however as the title suggests. The text is progressive and structured and teaches the FUNDAMENTALS! Hopefully the textbook teaching world will evolve from the dark ages and professors will start writing texts in a progress oriented format in order to make the learning process more efficient and effective. Hmm..maybe thats why we are losing out to other countries, they teach this stuff more effectively? In brief conclusion, although this text isnt perfect, Kroenke provides what many of us are really looking for; to learn the basics of database technology. Thanks Mr. Kroenke!
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
No bull, no hype, just "How To." I received the book on a Monday, and passed my exam Wednesday of the follwing week with a score that I was really proud of. It was the only book I used to prepare. I can't wait to try the "Dummies" series as I work towards that MSCE.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Joe Celko's SQL for Smarties: Advanced SQL Programming
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Joe Celko
I knew of Joe Celko from his contributions to database-related magazines and had great expectations of this work.
However, while there is much in the book that is worthwhile, I found it terribly sloppy, not only in the practical solutions supplied but in all aspects of the book. Nearly every sample piece of code, even quite short snippets, has a bug in it; the descriptions of the problems he is attempting to solve and the explanations of the solutions are full of unstated assumptions; and much of the general text is imprecise or vague and skims over areas that could do with more detailed explanations. Some parts I have read several times over without being able to make any sense of them.
In fact, I have come to the point where, if a section of text or a practical example seems wrong or difficult to follow, I don't know any more if it's Joe's fault or mine.
To Joe's credit, I can say that I have corresponded with him and he was quick to reply and was willing to continue the discussion when I followed up. He generally comes across as a "great guy", and he did accept my criticism of the solution he'd given to a problem and produced a satisfactory alternative, but every point I made to him had to be explained in detail and I still felt at the end that he wouldn't get the solution 100% right when he incorporated it in his book.
One section of the book that I found absolutely fascinating was a short description of the standardization process of the Western or Gregorian calendar. It was mostly irrelevant to the topic of the book but fascinating nonetheless. There are other gems scattered throughout, he has a good list of references and I have found he has made several points which I could quote to support my postion in arguments in standards committee meetings, but I feel that it would take as much more effort to get the book right as it has take already to produce it.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning the vi Editor (6th Edition)
Authors: Linda Lamb, Arnold Robbins
vi has a well-deserved reputation as being one of the least friendly editors in the UNIX world. This book, however, makes vi relatively painless to use, even for those accustomed to GUIs. Nowadays vi tends to be used mostly for quick editing of configuration scripts and the expansive amount of detail here is not likely to be that useful to people except those who plan to use vi almost exclusively. If you follow the examples, and practive using vi while reading this book, however, you will find that it does cover all the basics well and that you will feel quite at home with this much-maligned text editor. Most of this information is available freely on the net, but it not collected in one place in such an orderly fashion as this. Much of the advanced features will probably be rarely used, but if you spend a fortnight with this book in front of a UNIX or Linux box, you will find that you will be a vi pro in no time!