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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C# Cookbook
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Stephen Teilhet
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Decent, but flawed


Cookbooks are generally a good reference to have, especially those for a relatively young language, such as C#. They are time savers--I can figure out the answer to a problem I'm having myself, but if I can pop open a book and see the solution immediately, so much the better.

I am pleased with the format of the book and the depth of detail; each problem is analyzed, a solution is set forth, and discussed. Unfortunately, some of the solutions are inefficient, and worse, incorrect.

Their discussion on bitwise operations for problem 4.6 is confusing and inaccurate at times, and their solution for the fourth test is wrong.

I have found some condition tests which are unnecessary (such as in 8.10). They don't make the functions wrong, just less efficient. A little bit of analysis would have removed them, and made the code look a little less lazy.

To be fair, I just checked the website for this book, and they do recognize that there is a problem with the 4.6 code. However, they then go on to restate the problem. The original problem says "return true if the language variable matches these two languages exactly"; they have restated it as "return true if the language variable contains either or both of these two languages, but no other". They then misstate the problem in a "what if" scenario (that the test should return true if all of the languages are in the test variable), but fix the test by adding an extra decision (checking if the test variable is 0). It works, but it's just not the way I would do it.

4.6 is the last problem with errata, and I suspect that's only because people haven't progressed far enough into the book to reveal more.

Three stars for now, as I'm going to give the book a thorough go-over. Get it if you really need it, but be aware that you may need to debug the code you're buying it for.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Classical Electrodynamics
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John David Jackson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Enobling and Enlightening


Of course Istruggled with many of the problems, but no more than I did with other texts in quantum, thermo etc.
Physics is one of the most enobling, enlightening adventures known ever.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Software Project Survival Guide
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Steve C McConnell
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Based on reviewing the draft, this will be a good one...


I had the pleasure of participating in the review process for this book over the Web. I think it will serve an important purpose in aiding non-I/S people with understanding what goes into running a software project. The main approach that this book uses is the staged delivery model, which Steve covers in his book Rapid Development. The areas on estimating project length estimation are invaluable in explaining that you just can't pick a date out of thin air at the start of a project and then expect to be held to it for the life of the project. I'm looking forward to seeing the published version and using it regularly in my current position. Tom Duff



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great for Web design newcomers; some interest for experts


Jackob Nielsen is an inspiring effective Web Guru. Unlike many Web commentators he has also worked on many research and commerical Web developments. He knows what he is talking about.
For newcomers to Web design (or others interested in the area, e.g. strategic managers) this is an excellent overview of what makes a web site work (from a usability) point of view. Nielsen also gives some insights into the way the Web is going (e.g., what content will / will not work).
This book is _quite_ suitable for some University level courses in Web technologies. However, the lack of an in-book set of references is a drawback (there is an online bibliography).