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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Jef Raskin
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Radical new ideas, sometimes applicability can't be seen

+ I read this book cover to cover, which is seldom, since I usually have 3 to 8 other books lurking around to make up a certain boredom factor.+ His ideas are radical.+ This books made me aware about the real ugliness of modes (my personal daily mode error counter got installed).+ It made me wish for the global incremental search facility.- His ideas are radical (get the hint?): I doubt that without investment from a major global player in the computing industry, his ideas will just not catch on with the broader public audience, and hackers will dismiss his ideas as being too, well, non-hacker-wise. (Which is of course not a problem with the book, but with our industry in general.)+/- Sometimes the computing world he describes is too text-centered. I will always end up in discussions with my friend on how he wants to get a CAD package working with his ideas.- Sometimes there is this "I'm the guru, you know nothing about computers at all." attitude.
Anyway, you should read it, just to know that there is something else than the button-menu world in GUI design.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: C# and the .NET Platform, Second Edition
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Andrew Troelsen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Must Have for Every C#/.NET Developer

I have been anxiously waiting for Mr. Troelsen book on C# & .Net after reading his last book on COM/ATL. This book carries the same level of understanding and ability to boil the topic down into relevant & practical information on such a huge topic. I found this to be the type of book that you will not be able to code without and has save my "arse" a few times already. I have had the good fortune to attend a class by Mr. Troelsen, and it is clear that he is a developer that has been in the trenches and understands what is important in real projects. If you like this book, I would recommend witnessing him in the flesh.
Mr. Troelsen, thanks for sharing your insight with us and I look forward to additional topics, Soon.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Covers everything

There's no stone left unturned here. There's so much code here that I still haven't read through all of it. The commentary is right on - not too thick, not to light. The techniques shown are original and innovative - there's lots of stuff here I've not seen anywhere else. This book is unlike any other SQL book I've seen. It's one of my favorite programming books ever.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCSD Self-Paced Training Kit: Analyzing Requirements and Defining Microsoft .NET Solution Architectures, Exam 70-300
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good for experienced developers wanting details on 70-300

I was anxious to see what's new in the 70-300 Solution Architectures exam before taking it. To my knowledge this book from Microsoft Press is the first available through Amazon addressing this exam. I've just finished my first pass through the book, some 24 hours after receiving it. I plan to work through it in more detail and complete at least some of the exercises prior to taking the exam. I'm going with the 5 star rating for now since I haven't seen but 1 hiccup (SQL 9.0 - see below) in the text; I haven't gotten into the material on the companion CD yet.
There are substantial changes in the material from the 70-100 exam which it replaces. Although a number of people have passed the new exam without an exam guide, based on my review of this text, I would recommend using a suitable study guide just to insure that you've been exposed to enough of the new material. My initial impression is that this book would be suitable. There are other books on the way including an "Exam Cram"; depending upon your level of knowledge that may be adequate.
Although I have differences of opinion on some of the subject matter presented, I have to assume that this book covers what's needed for the exam. Keep in mind that the exam focuses on the Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) which is certainly an appropriate method for a wide range of projects, but is not the only game in town nor is it appropriate for all projects.
The new material includes more in-depth treatment of UML, the use of Visio as a tool to create various models, the .NET framework and ADO.NET, and new security concerns.
The content is good although a number of the topics are covered in a cursory manner with numerous occurrences of "More Info" notes with a relevant references including MSDN (much of the Security chapter), other Microsoft Press books, and seminal books on UML, Use Cases and so forth. The authors assume that the reader is an experienced developer and is well familiar with contemporary technology. There is only passing mention of XML without any of the details and I didn't notice a reference for that.
Interestingly, there's a fair amount of detail about the Data Layer including definition and discussion of the first 3 normal forms and denormalization and database schemas which seemed out of character for the rest of the volume's summary level approach. Historically there have always been specific questions on first, second and/or third normal form on the 70-100 exam so perhaps this level of detail is justified.
There is an example project that is developed throughout the book, a multi-national bicycle manufacturing company which is used for illustrations and reader exercises. Some of the examples include Visio and Excel examples.
The accompanying CD contains the complete text of the book as well as practice exercises and a 100 question practice test. Some of the exercises suggest the reader create various project analysis artifacts on their own then compare them to what's on the CD - the 2 solutions probably won't match exactly, but would give some indication of the suitability of the reader's solution.
The subject material seems to be accurate although in one place there's a curious reference to SQL Server Versions 7.0 and 9.0 without mention of Version 2000. Perhaps the 9.0 is an oblique reference to SQL Server .NET.
If you're in a hurry to get started preparing for the exam, this book should work; otherwise you might want to see what other resources become available in the next month or two.