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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: James O. Coplien, Neil B. Harrison
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This rare jewel is a practical guide to the deeper secrets and relationships of software development.

It is however based on "true Science", since it was originally based on extensions to Moreno's sociometric techniques, although it reads like literature -- it is art.

To the lucky ones that read it, understand it, and practice it, it will provide, undoubtedly, the passage to a higher level of understanding of how people work, and work best, when doing software devleopment.

Although "agile development" pehaps was first practiced by LISP programmers in the 1960's, Organizational Patterns is perhaps the first documentation that ever existed on true Agile development. No one, to my knowledge, had done so before. (Not Scrum, which started in 1993, nor XP which started much later. etc.)

To the interested readers I only have one simple advice: read every single page -- twice!!, and practice the patterns, many times!!!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Modern Operating Systems (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Andrew Tanenbaum
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
OS concepts, vocabulary, and details for professionals

Tanenbaum's book is a thorough yet accessible introduction to the design and implementation of modern operating systems. This second edition explains the trade-offs developers must make and shows readers how OS' have matured since the 1960s. Knowledge of programming in C is helpful, especially if the reader wishes to complete the exercises following each chapter. I gave the book five stars for its content, delivery, and humor, all of which helped me learn a difficult subject in an enjoyable manner. "Modern Operating Systems, 2nd Ed" (MOS:2E) is very well-written, which may surprise those who suffer while reading other hardcover college texts. The book introduces problems facing developers, then helps the reader understand both simple and complex ways to address these issues. Tanenbaum's style is lively and informative, like the cover of his books. He appears knowledgeable and opinionated -- especially concerning problems with the Windows OS -- but he can back up his assertions. The best features of MOS:2E are found in chapters ten and eleven. Here Tanenbaum illuminates UNIX and Microsoft Windows 2000, respectively, building upon the material found in the previous nine chapters. He gives real reasons why Windows suffers security problems, such as internal complexity, code bloat, and design choices. UNIX is also critically evaluated, but stands up better to Tanenbaum's scrutiny. I don't recommend computer novices read MOS:2E. One needs a certain amount of interest and motivation to digest this material, and Tanenbaum's explanations of some concepts did not seem sufficient. However, after having finished this 900 page tome, I feel more comfortable reading about design issues for the Linux kernel or the FreeBSD scheduler. If you're looking to learn the how and why of operating system design and implementation, I strongly recommend MOS:2E.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Access 2000 Bible
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Cary N. Prague, Michael R. Irwin
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Really covers the new material

Don't get me wrong, it's well written, but it's a superficial coverage of all topics. Nice overview, but even for someone brand spankin new to access, this coverage will seem a little condescending.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Fundamentals of Database Systems, Fourth Edition
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Ramez Elmasri, Shamkant B. Navathe
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Emphasizes database theory over practice.

If you are looking for a "How to" cookbook for a particular database or application, this is probably the wrong book for you. However, if you are looking for a in-depth discussion of the history and theory of database management systems, it would be hard to find a better book. The book would probably be best accompanying a college course on database theory, or for someone who wants to understand the theory overlying all DBMS systems. It is short on examples of specific applications, but does have valuable discussion of both Oracle 8 and Access 97.
Another nice feature of this book is that it has been recently updated and has much new information about object database theory. I have been studying this book with others, and we have joked about the copyright date of 2000 - hey we're reading next year's book!