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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional SQL Server 2000 Programming (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Robert Vieira
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book

This is an excellent reference manual for SQL server 2000. It's to the point, easy to read and full of solutions to real world problems. I highly recommend it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog
Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Authors: Rebecca Blood
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An intriguing and informative survey

For an easy introduction, choose Rebecca Blood's Weblog Handbook: it explores how such logs work, their impact on media, and how to participate in a weblog. An intriguing and informative survey of different kinds and styles of weblogs and how they foster new communities.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Inside Com (Microsoft Programming Series)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Dale Rogerson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Very good

This book is excellent overview of COM. It has very clear explanation on major issues of COM, although not very detailed. For me it has additional value, as a dictionary to COM, you can use it as a reference in technical language.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: When Things Start to Think
Publisher: Owl Books
Authors: Gershenfeld Neil
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Personal-Fabrication releasing innovation and talent

Dr Gershenfeld,the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Centre for Bits and Atoms believes the next digital revolution will be a personal-fabrication machine costing about $20k. The personal-fabrication machine is made possible through open software, wireless communication, and internet collaboration technology.

Gershenfeld like Bill Gates recognizes the potential in connecting the computer to the customer. Gates recognized the power of programmable languages; data presentation through a multitasking, preemptive context switching, and windows interface OS; and aggressive marketing of the microsoft products. Gershenfeld realizes the power of giving the most complex and sophisticated hardware and software to scientist and engineers of poor and remote countries giving them the power to fabricate tools and machines. Gershenfeld approach makes the digital virtual bits become concrete natural material bits. This is not about charity, this is about reducing the cost of production and increasing the quality of the product in cost prohibitive areas of the world. More directly it could mean a change in how consumers acquire the products they need. These tools and machines are cool because they solve simple problems where access to manufactured goods and services are not possible because of cost.

Gates received strong support from the engineering and software development community and they rallied too build hundreds of millions of dollars worth of VBX/OCX components. Gershenfeld will need strong support from the community of programmers, scientist, and engineers too build a rich public library of tool/machine/chip schematics available by internet search and all downloadable digitally into the fabrication lab; also, complex scientific theory will need to be delivered, as intuitive concepts for search and application; and engineers and computer scientist will need to write software applications making the Computer Aid Design intuitive and functional.

Manufacturing is about process oriented series steps in a complex series of systematic events. Gershenfeld knows that the complexity is massive and reducing this complexity to a simple lab is the first step to bringing engineering and science to the consumer.

However, Gershenfeld freely admits that scientist experts, computer experts, and engineering experts will need to be access through the Fab Lab communities. The idea that imperfect components with error correction can build a perfect system is the fundamental law. Machines that can provide a little maintenance can last forever and produce indefinitely, things that become smarter.

The personal-fabrication machine will allow individuals and small businesses to customise products meeting their needs and releasing an outpouring of talent. The segmentation between structural design and functionality are bridged by personal-fabrication. Structural engineers can build prototypes and include microchips to provide functionality. Eventually, these microchips will be small wirelessly computers with the ability to provide feedback, make decisions, and start other processes. Personal-fabrication becomes more feasible as the size of the computer reduces and the cost drops and the computer becomes more functional and more closely integrated into all facets of existence.

Gernshenfeld poses a thought provoking idea that smart devices should keep context information and this context information should be used by the device to provide helpful reactions. In the case of the product theft device, a small frequency transmits a certain frequency within a magnetic field, a siren goes off, and staff attention is attracted. The amazing fact is that the device cost about one penny. Gernshenfeld explains that the goal is to get more functionality for less money. In the case of the Fab Lab, micro chips cost about 50 to 70 cents. I believe things of demand always become cheapers, so the goal will be getting desired functionality on these chips fast and easy and that takes brains!

"Fab lab" version 1.0 includes a laser cutter capable of making two and three dimensional structures, a device that uses a computer-controlled knife to carve, a miniature milling machine, software for programming cheap computer chips known as microcontrollers, and a jigsaw.

The "Fab lab" is capable of precision of a millionth of a meter. The purpose is to provide inventors in poor countries with the best technology to solve their problems. Fab Lab provides an scaled down manufacturing fabrication model allowing device creation that is both functional and structural suitable for the need. The end result is a working prototype capable of solving a particular problem. Fab labs have been used to produce jewllery, car parts, agricultural tools, communication equipment, solar power devices, radio collars, wireless networks.
The "Fab Lab" makes printing semiconductors, transistors, and other electronic devices as if they were made of paper. Fab Lab will produce things and these things will be smart. Reuse will of things will be a big issue.

Hey, how cool would it be too walk into Radio Shack, ask for a demo of the Fab Lab, and build a machine? Remember when the TRS-80 when cost 5k? The concept was cool and now everyone has a computer a million times more powerful.

Many companies will ask is it practical to purchase the "Fab Lab" with the proliferation of components that can be ordered by internet or catalogue. I think the Fab Lab will gain in strength as it continues to bridge the gap between form and function. As structural and functional pattern package and standardized by groups these packages will be replicated and the Fab Lab will be the technology for replication. The Fab Lab must build the infrasture to become the bridge between the virtual digital world and the concrete world. The advantages of pure digital storage of pattern is staggering: just in time inventories, richer possiblities for solutions, stronger collaboration between ideas, and open design communities to sponser innovation.