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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: DNS on Windows Server 2003
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Cricket Liu, Matt Larson, Robbie Allen
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Waste Of Money

Unfortunately, I have to make a comment about this book. I can easily say that the authors just changed a few things from Windows 2000 and called it a Windows 2003 book . It does not contain any detailed information about the new Windows 2003 features. They didn't even give an explanation of "ForestWide" and "Domain Wide" application partitions. I would say they should change the name to "Windows 2003 DNS for Dummies". Sorry to say but that is what I felt when I read this book. It is a waste of money.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: SQL Queries for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation in SQL
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Michael J. Hernandez, John L. Viescas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
SQL Queries for Mere Mortals

I have been using MS Access 2000 to develop database solutions for use in sales and marketing departments and needed to go to the next level and develop solutions based on SQL Server, so I was looking for a book to understand SQL queries better and thereby SQL Server. Knowing, that by writing your own SQL queries when working in Access you're able to develop a scaleable application that easily is transferred to SQL Server, the book helped me in this transition since all 5 sample databases included on the CD-ROM is available in both SQL Server 7.0 and MS Access 2000 files.
After an introduction to relational database theory and the SQL language in the first 3 chapters, you'll start learning about queries and each of the remaining 14 chapters includes exercises that will train your skills in writing SQL queries. Throughout the book the authors make use of diagrams to visualize the SQL queries, in the beginning they may seem difficult to understand but as you get used to them you will find yourself reading them faster and faster.
One of the things I learned the most from was the authors use of a 3-step method to write queries: A simple question in plain English to get the needed information from the data goes through a Translation, then a Clean Up, and finally you've got your SQL. With this method not only do you gain confidence but also an insight into the simple mathematical logic on which the queries are based.
To accompany this book and enhance the knowledge you gain from reading it I recommend the following titles: On Access 2000 I recommend John Viescas' "Running MS Access 2000" (ISBN 1572319348), which in my opinion is one of the best books on Access 2000. To strengthen your knowledge on relational database theory and design I recommend: "Inside Relational Databases" (ISBN 354076092X). To learn SQL Server 7.0 I recommend: "Professional SQL Server 7.0" (ISBN 1861002319).
Most people are able to develop a database that contain lots of data, but only few know how to transform these piles of data into useful information by using the powerful tools of SQL queries. With the knowledge from SQL Queries for Mere Mortals you will be well on your way to become one of the few.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Embedded C Programming and the Atmel AVR
Publisher: Thomson Delmar Learning
Authors: Richard H. Barnett, Sarah A. Cox, Larry D. O'Cull
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Actually, 4.5 stars, due to a few bad chapters.

I will say upfront that this book represents some of my best spent money. This book is concisely and intelligently explaining embedded C programming, in a way well-suited for people used to working with assembler. It's so well-written that it keeps the readers interest and invites him/her further into it's fascinating world of electronics and programming.

Even the seasoned C programmer will find the book interesting, as it sheds light into a different aspect of this programming language and the hardware on which it runs. And did I mention that the book was really written well?

Said all this, I think chapters 4 and 5, as well as appendixes B, D and E are unnecessary, some of them are a real let-down compared to the rest of the book. The chapter and appendix about Codevision AVR are not any better than just starting a simple project with CVAVR - CVAVR is a really simple IDE for the AVR series of MCUs. Unfortunately, those chapters and appendixes represent more than half of the book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Envisioning Information
Publisher: Graphics Press
Authors: Edward R. Tufte
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A superb book about the design of information

Designers, if you're looking for a way to describe to your mother what you do for a living, let her read Tufte. He uses inspired diagrammatics and superbly interesting stories to help us understand the bridge between data and knowledge--information and insights. Tufte helps everyone--from health insurance salesmen to fine artists--understand the powerful role that design plays in presenting mankind's insights. Those who give less than five stars need to read again.