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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Visual Basic 6 How to Program
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Harvey M. Deitel, Paul J. Deitel, Tem Nieto, T.R. Nieto
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Good for College groundwork, needs lots of errorproofing

I read this book through and followed the livecode examples. The beginning was a marvel for me, having been in old style basic for a long time and needing to refresh. For the immetiate first timer, it would still be very easy to go through the initial parts.
The more advanced topics are presented in a complicated way. The treatises on ancient data management systems could be cut down to reduce the boredom factor. The practice exercises that end the chapters are not real-life and so, unattractive. The live codes are quite numerous and helpful sometimes. But lengthy in many cases, without actually improving clarity. The pros of that is that program code module arrangement becomes natural to you by the time you finish.
The sudden change in style of the Chapter on Relational Databases (despite the footnote warnings) are rather distracting. A single series editor should smoothen the landscapes to a uniform picture.
This book is strong on string formatting and error handling, but is completely lacking in data validation. It is a yawning omission. I like the screenshots and I like the free VB learning CD. It helps you start and then creates the hunger to buy your own Professional Edition when advanced chapter examples would no longer work on the learning edition. But then, this book could have discussed packaging deployment, using the flab cut away from the redundant discourses on all and every type of ancient data handling techniques. And again, why devote the lone chapter to colletions and dictionaries, and end up making it a scarry subject. It makes the book end on a bad note. It could have ended well with the well-put-together VBScript brief Intro. And all those typos concentrated at the end part suggest that the proofreaders always started from Chapter One and kind of got tired towards the end.
I am happy I read the book, and it helps me understand the other books easily. It is a pain that it did not come out real-life. It could have been a bestseller if it borrowed her and there from the style of "Step-by-Step" by Michael Halvorson.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
got to help get the average rating up to 5 stars

One of the most amazing works of art and science ever created. Beautiful and funny (in an esoteric way), mind-stretching, and soul-building. I would be a different person if I had not read this book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Software Architecture in Practice, Second Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Len Bass, Paul Clements, Rick Kazman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
High density, abstract and excellent book

This book has only a few hundred pages. It took me still two months to read through it. Every sentence is loaded with information. A lot of important statements are stuffed into lists and tables. This gives the book excellent reference qualities and this makes the book quite a hard read, especially after work.
The content is relevant, clearly described and trustworthy. It has very little references to alternative views on the subject.
I am still looking for a good introductory fat book on software architecture.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Architecture and Internals
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Complex optimisations

Microsoft's SQL Server does not have all the functionality of Oracle or IBM's databases. But Microsoft has put a huge amount of work into beefing it up, as shown in this book. Henderson has done far more than just write a straightforward guide to the query syntax. In fact, the latter is not the emphasis here. Rather, he explains how SQL Server integrates into the Microsoft operating system, for one thing. Like memory mapped files, WinSock and network connections, and how they relate to SQL Server. He provides a long discussion of its memory management; crucial if you are heavily loading up the database. With queries and table joins, you get help on how to optimise, based on knowledge of SQL Server's innards.
At over 900 pages, the breadth might seem daunting. But it reflects the complexity and potential of SQL Server.
Henderson also provides some nice extra touches. Each chapter ends in a quick list of review questions, to see if you have been paying attention. Plus, at the book's end, he has 2 essays. One is on the drivel that constitutes most [all?] management fads. The second is on pseudo experts in newsgroups. The entire book is worth it, just for these essays! Very biting.