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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Data Model Resource Book, Vol. 1: A Library of Universal Data Models for All Enterprises
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Len Silverston, Len Silverston
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Resource for any Database Developer

If you are looking to save time and money developing and implementing databases, look no further than this book. The Data Model Resource Book by Len Silverston is an excellent roadmap for various data models and has served as a valuable reference for me in numerous projects. I will continue to take advantage of this resource in the future.

These data models are both practical and efficient and work in a real-world environment. Len has over 20 years of experience and knowledge that is passed along in this book. I highly recommend The Data Model Resource Book to anyone.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Experience XSI 4: The Official SOFTIMAGE XSI 4 Guide to Character Creation
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Michael Isner, Aaron Sims
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
What is it with XSI books?

I recently decided to get back into 3D after a number of years out of the loop. After experimentation with the top applications (Maya, XSI, 3DMax and Lightwave, plus a number of less well known applications such as Cinema4D), I decided to go with XSI. Maya came a close second: XSI just seemed easier and more intuitive.

The next problem was finding some teaching material to learn XSI with. There are literally hundreds of courses, books and DVDs for Maya, but only a handful for XSI. This was a fact that almost made me go for Maya (there is no point getting a high powered application if you dont know how to use that power!), but I took the precaution of actually reading some of the XSI books, and boy was I impressed - although there are far fewer XSI books out there, the quality of them exceeds many other digital authoring and computer books I have read. As a computer book author and freelance web designer myself, thats no mean feat... I get through a lot of books!

There are only two books you need to get up to speed with XSI: The XSI:Illuminated:Foundation (published by Mesmer) and this book.

The expertise of the authors of the Experience XSI 4 books is obvious just by flicking through the pages. One of the authors was actually involved in the development of XSI itself, and the other is a noted CGI professional. You just can't go wrong with tutors like these!

The other surprise was the high production values and low price of the book: full color gloassy paper throughout. This is not a showy color book with little technical depth though, far from it. It is packed with concise and totally practical tutorials.

Perhaps one downside of the book is that the authors push you straight in at the deep end: the character you create is commercial quality (ie it would not look out of place in a Hollywood motion picture). For me, thats an advantage not a pitfall: I'd rather be working slowly through a book that showed me how to create a believable, realistic character than fly through 300 pages creating cubes, matchstick men and simple rotating logos!

Highly recommended.


Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft(r) Small Business Server 2000 Resource Kit
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent overview of SBS2K, but little technical detail...

This is not a "resource kit" in the typical, MS Press sense... Why do I say that? Resource Kits have traditionally been highly technical, giving you a very concise understanding of the product it covers.
In the case of the Small Business Server 2000 Resource Kit, however, you're given a quick and very high-level overview of SBS2K and its component parts. There's nothing wrong with that, of course... If you want to know more each component, then buy the appropriate resource kit... For example, if you want to know about Exchange, then buy the Exchange 2000 Server Resource Kit.
This book is aimed at professionals new to Small Business Server, and it succeeds in this goal. It'll give you a (very) basic grounding in how to plan, install, administer and support a network based on SBS2K.
I would recommend that you buy this book to give yourself a high-level summary and quick peek at SBS2K, then to buy the Resource Kits and Administrator Guides (from MS Press) for the various components of SBS (namely Windows 2000, Exchange, ISA, and SQL).

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: IT Systems Management: Designing, Implementing, and Managing World-Class Infrastructures
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Rich Schiesser
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A framework for IT success

Managing today's complex IT infrastructures can be a serious challenge without a framework for success. Mr. Schiesser's book offers one such framework: people, process and technology. This comprehensive structure addresses the three critical dimensions of any IT environment. In the people section, you'll learn how to gain executive support; organize and staff your department; and understand what it takes to deliver good customer service. Twelve critical processes, including production acceptance, change management, problem management and disaster recovery are all presented in an easy-to-understand format including case studies from Rich's own experiences. The final technology section tells you how to put it all together to achieve meaningful results. If you were to simply follow the advice presented in this book, your IT infrastructure would probably be orders of magnitude better than most out there today.