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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Decision Modeling with Microsoft(R) Excel (6th Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Larry R. Weatherford
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Fairly well done with numerous resources on CD


Decision Modeling with Microsoft(R) Excel gives a good overview of using Excel to address various linear optimization problems, decision analysis, and event simulation that one might encounter as a manager of a company. The book oozes with examples and case study snippets, helping one see the practicality of the models as tools in exploring decisions.
While Excel has a lot of features, one cannot help but feel like it's a hammer in search of nails. For example, LINDO (not included on the disk) may be easier to work with than the Excel Solver for some problems. Similarly, tools like Crystal Ball, which is included on the CD and runs within Excel, are rarely mentioned.
Many of the included Excel macros were based on Excel version 4, meaning that if you have more recent versions, like Excel 2000, you may encounter difficulties loading them because the security model for the earlier macros is different. You can work around this by selecting Tools -> Macros -> Security, setting medium security, then selecting Tools -> AddIns and loading the macro (e.g., Treeplan). Once you do this, you can set security back to "High" for better protection.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself ASP.NET in 21 Days (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Chris Payne
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
There are much better choices then this book


Walter Nicolau's words mirror my thoughts exactly. I couldnt say it better than him. For the totally uninitiated this book is going to be frustrating, you will need at least a thorough understanding of one programming language( in order to comprehend the logic) and although a basic html is enough. I would say if you really want to master this book in 21 days, strong html experience is needed plus experience in script programming. Bottom line, I agree this book has too ambitious agenda, it would be better renamed "Learn ASP.NET in 21 days for ASP programmers" because it goes into detail about what is difference between ASP.NET and ASp, plus the author has background in ASP previously.
I had only been traversing this book for 6 days, and was disappointed by the 6th day answer key. The calculator source code that is given was really buggy, to me this is inexcusible. Don't get me wrong, the exercises are great and challenging, understanding them would indeed help in reinforcing the knowledge that you have gained in each chapter. However the 6th day exercise would really take about 2-8 hrs programming time (4 for me) to get it done from scratch. Day by day the exercises in the book is getting more and more complex, so I figured I would just go through the answer key and learn from there. However, I was so disappointed finding that the answer code is way less correct than mine :o . Looks like this book was released in a rush ;) , I was even more disappointed that there's no errata correcting this error.
Bottom line, if you are confident about your programming skills and not a beginner than this book will still be a great value to you. If you are a beginner, who has only made your own personal homepage (by notepad/homesite, not using frontpage or MS Word), then I wouldnt recommend this book for you.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia FreeHand MX for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Sandee Cohen
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Adaptation of help file not quite a QuickStart


I would have rated this book a one. I settled for two stars as I did actually learn a few things from it. This book is quite obviously an adaptation of a FreeHand 10 book (which I understand Sandee has written) as there are some remnants of v.10 functionality that has been changed and updated in MX. Ms. Cohen seems to have missed these. Inconsistencies, unnecessary repetition, gaping holes (Polygon options in the Object panel) and incorrect information - Page coordinates start at the top left of the page?As an educator myself I find the sequence of information to be unintuitive; working with views before you even have anything on a page to view becomes a bit conceptual and difficult to grasp for the beginner. Sandee, like almost everyone who writes a book on computer illustration, claims she has the answers to master the ever confusing Pen tool and Bézier curves, I understand them yet found myself reading Chapter 6's eight pages over and over again to figure out what her amazing insight was, especially with regard to connector curves. If you have never worked with a vector illustration package before, I would not recommend this book, you'd do better to print out the help file (which suffers from the same problems as this book), in fact, since they are so similar, I wonder if it's this book that is based on the help file or vice-versa. This book provides (almost) complete step-by-step instructions on using each tool and panel and Xtra and whatever (with some useful advanced functionality) but very little real life application or examples. It will probably serve me as a reference tool for particular functionality on certain tools but little else.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Capability Maturity Model: Guidelines for Improving the Software Process
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Software Engineering Inst. Carnegie Mellon Univ.
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
It's not a book, it's a guide reference.


This is a complete description of the Capability Maturity Model for software from SEI/CMU. The big issue of the book, and the model itself, is that it describes widely what has to be done, but no clue of how to do it. This flexibility is very good to one who has been working with the model for so long, but very hard to news fellows to interpret by themselves.