Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Bioinformatics for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Jean-Michel Claverie, Cedric Notredame, Jean-Michel Claverie, Cedric Notredame
I hold a masters degree in computer sciences (so in fact I am a biology dummy), but always had a strong interest for sciences. So I want to delve deeply into this fascinating area, but first wanted to read a book to quickly introduce me the basic concepts. With this background, I must say the book is a little bit disappointing. You can clearly see that this book is written with the biologist in mind, definitely not the computer scientist.
The biological concepts are not explained very well for a biology dummy, let me explain you why :
1. Some basic biological concepts are not explained. I wanted to have some more explanation on the basic concepts of how molecular and cell biology works. A lot of times, the autors tell you how to use some tool, but is not always clearly explained to me why, for what purpose they use the tool. For instance they explain how to find a list of related protein sequences, but for me it is not clear why biologists need to have such a list. And this is only one example, I could give much more simular examples...
2. Remember guys, I am a dummy, so please explain me the difference between a gene and a genome before using these terms. And also, I heard about chromosomes, but why do you not explain what is it exactly ?. Also, there are a lot of explanations on how to work with RNA, but please explain me more about the functional difference between RNA and DNA.
3. The explanations on how to use serveral internet tools are too wordy, they spent several pages explaining things that are so intuitively clear like "click this or that button", "use menu file, edit, copy to past your stuff to the computer clipboard"....
4. A lot of complex terms are or not explained the first time they use it ("phylogenic"). Sometimes these terms are explained further in the book, but from a didactical standpoint, you should at least give an informal definition when you first use some concepts...
Conclusion: I currently read the first hundred pages of the book and maybe I will change this review later on. But I can already tell : the first chapters might be well suited for a computer dummy, but definitely not for a biology dummy. However with some help of the internet(for instance there is an excellent explanation on how cells work at the howstuffworks website http://science.howstuffworks.com/cell.htm), I will continue to read the book further. Maybe after that I will need to change my preview...
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Enterprise JavaBeans, Fourth Edition
Authors: Richard Monson-Haefel, Bill Burke, Sacha Labourey
I purchased this book to learn the fundamentals of EJBs, and then apply the knowledge to existing EJB application maintenance. I am pleased to say that I understand the theory basics and have moved from application maintenance to new EJB application development. The book can be exhausting, though, so plan to read it before reaching your bed (I read it while pedaling an exercise bike).
The book took longer to read than I anticipated, however it was worth the effort. You can skip most of the code details and return to them later when you need examples to guide your own work.
The organization is thoughtful and progressive, but I wish it had some more diagrams. Nevertheless, I will give it the highest rating because it has the needed content, organization, and results.
My recommendations for the next edition would be to incorporate the JBoss EJB server into the examples (WebLogic examples dominate this edition), and demonstrate how EJB application deployment can be managed using Ant (a Java/XML descendant of Make). In this manner, the book's students can practice the examples using open-source, free software - which means everyone will be able to participate (rather than those whose companies use WebLogic).
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming C#, 4th Edition
Authors: Jesse Liberty
I really enjoyed this book. I think its a great intro to C# and a generally good reference for it.
The only negatives are that some of the examples simply aren't real-world. That's a minor thing, and I wouldn't let it deter me from buying the next edition of the book.
I also wish there were more whole apps in the book. Writing everything to the console gets boring. Again, this isn't a big deal and doesn't detract from the overall usefulness of the book.
If you are a serious C# developer or want to become one, I think you should give this one a good read and keep it close at hand as a reference.
Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to 80X86 Assembly Language and Computer Architecture
Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Publishers
Authors: Richard C. Detmer
This excellent addition to any programmers library is the only assembly language book that focuses entirely on the 32 bit flat memory model (under Windows). Sixteen bit programming is mentioned only to fill in background details where needed. Early chapters give an introduction to binary and hexadecimal numbers and a brief overview of computer hardware before discussing how to assemble and link programs plus step through their execution using the Windbg debugger. Subsequent chapters delve into the various assembly instructions, explaining not only the instructions themselves but also what flags are set, the size of the instructions in bytes plus the number of clock cycles consumed in their execution (for the 386, 486 and pentium architectures). Lastly, features such as macros, the assembly process, floating point architecture and the authors own input/output macros (used in earlier chapters to simplify coding) plus other input/output details are discussed.
Throughout the writing is lucid and to the point, with numerous references to high level constructs and how they may be implemented in assembly language. Coming from a C++ background this book filled in numerous gaps in my knowledge, making it a lot easier to get to grips with what the compiler was doing to my C++ code. Though aimed at the student this is a worthwhile investment for anyone interested in exploring 32 bit assembly programming under Windows. My only complaints are the complete lack of answers for any of the exercises given throughout the book plus the horrendous cost. However the clarity and depth of the explanations in the text go some way towards making up for this. A further bonus is the CD package which includes MASM (ML 6.11), Windbg, plus all source code and needed support files.