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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Embedded Hardware
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: John Catsoulis
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
This Rating May Change

I assume I'm the real target reader for this book. I've been programming microprocessors and microcontrollers for 20+ years now, but I'm a hardware dunce. The book starts pretty much from Square 1 of simple electronics. The challenge of writing such chapters is to remember what it's like for a raw novice. An author should explain things and not skip ahead.
What I really wanted this book for was the chapter on simple Electronics rather than all the rest. It could use work. Current is represented in equations as "I". The author neglects to mention that. He just springs it on you in an equation. He also doesn't explain how he got the formula for the voltage divider. It's presented as some "magic" formula where he should taken just a few more steps to show how he got the formula (Ohm's Law, plus the bit about current in R1 and R2 being equal). Some of his other descriptions seem vague and incomplete (like inductors). That being said, I did learn stuff from that chapter so it was helpful.
I have a feeling many professionals are skipping this chapter and moving on to the meatier ones on how to hook stuff up, so their ratings are higher. There's some sage advice in the book (like disabling the brown-out voltage reset on 3.3V PICs as they are set at 4 volts!).
The emphasis is totally on hardware. You won't find any code listings for playing with the devices once it's hooked up, but that should be no problem for the intended audience. But if you were ever sitting there with a microcontroller in one hand and a DC motor on the other and wanting to know how to hook it all up, this is a good book for it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java Swing, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: James Elliott, Marc Loy, David Wood, Brian Cole
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5

I bought this book at the beginning of a long weekeend, trying to understand how to make a JTable editable with combos. By the end of the 3rd day I rushed to the bookstore and got my money back. Then I bought the Swing book my Robinson/Vorobiev and my table with combos was ready in half an hour, understanding what I was doing.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Definitive XML Schema
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Priscilla Walmsley
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5

This book just happens to be *first*. Just wait until some of the other XML Schema books that are listed as "not yet published" hit the racks. You'll forget about this book rather quickly.
In my opinion, this book serves more as a reference and doesn't really serve-up any good ideas or suggested practices. In addition, one of the most annoying aspects of this book is the SIZE OF THE PRINT. It's so darned big on relatively small pages that when they referred to a figure, I would sometimes have to go backwards or forwards 2 pages. It almost reminds me of writing my college thesis... make the font bigger, spread the text further apart, move in the margins... voila 100 pages...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Oracle Database 10g XML & SQL: Design, Build, & Manage XML Applications in Java, C, C++, & PL/SQL (Osborne ORACLE Press Series)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Mark Scardina, Ben Chang
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Does not start the job well

This book does not do a good job of getting the small experiments running. And w/o that, it is difficult to get any handle over the big picture. If you haven't done XML and Oracle integration before, this book definitely is not what you are looking for.