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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Big Java
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Cay Horstmann
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great for College Course

I'm a Java instructor at a state university, and I recently received a copy of this book. I think it addresses the needs of a classroom far better than many of the other Java books I've seen so far. We used Core Java for a while, but it lacked the pacing, visual aids, and examples that were needed for our students. I think it will be perfect for our 2nd-semester students who have had a semester of C++ and now need to explore inheritance, polymorphism, and recursion. I particularly like the fact that Big Java introduces container classes and elementary data structures, providing a smooth path from this level into a full-blown data structures course in the following semester. Another plus: Horstmann introduces graphics at a very early point in the book, making this topic easily accessible and providing motivation for the students to explore graphical programming at a deeper level later on in the course.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Enterprise Architecture Using the Zachman Framework
Publisher: Course Technology
Authors: Carol O'Rourke, Neal Fishman, Warren Selkow
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Worth the time and effort

On the plus side, it's entertaining and, unlike most other books I read descriptions of, applies the Zachman framework to general business processes rather than only technology driven ones.
On the minus side, after six hundred pages I still don't understand the Zachman framework (take the labeled fast-track through the book to shorten it). This book is definitely not for practitioners and is of questionable value to beginners like myself. It's filled with entertaining examples and is fun to read, but I found the explanations inadequate. If you're the type who can read examples and have that "ah ha" moment where the lesson leaps out at you without being explained this book might be perfect for you. If you have more of a linear approach to learning, I suggest looking somewhere else.
The largest problem though is that the framework itself doesn't make sense. The book (and attached articles by Zachman) makes a big deal out of each cell being complete in and of itself and not duplicated by any other cell. But then the definitions and examples (both by O'Rouke et al. and in Zachman's articles) blur the cells into each other. For example, along the top of the framework there is Who, What, Why, When, and Where, each of which is supposed to be unique, with no overlap with other columns. The glossary defines What as "items like employees...." and Who as "people, including organizational descriptions..." What exactly, is the difference between "employees" and "people"? If you want an answer, you'll have to find it somewhere other than this book.
This book makes the framework seem one of those ideas which are great in theory and useless in practice. But since I know practitioners who do actually use the framework this may be a failure to explain and not a failure of the framework.
P.S. If you do get this book, the article on the CD titled, "Conceptual, Logical, Physical: It's Simple" helped clarify a few things for me and I suggest reading it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MDX Solutions: With Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: George Spofford
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great tutorial and reference to MDX

The book provides an excellent tutorial & reference to MDX which is today's default lingua franca as OLAP query language. George does a great job in bringing home MDX and developing solutions using MDX. I recommend this book and also the other title from George & Erik Thomsen on Microsoft OLAP solutions which is as well a excellent book on building OLAP solutions with Microsoft Analysis Services. The other salient feature I wish to emphasise is the author - George Spofford as been kind enough to answer email queries from readers on the subject matter. Erik Thomsen and George Spofford are gurus in the Microsoft Analysis Services. The best thing I found about the book was the authors not only bring out the strengths of analysis services but also its limitations. This helps somebody embarking on implementing analysis services be aware of its limitations and workaround those limitations. In all I give 5 stars for the book there are not many honest authors out there. My only request to the authors is now since the next release of Microsoft SQL Server - Yukon is due for release is next 3 months and Yukon will be another major landmark in SQL Server and Analysis Services technology with several major features slated to debut in Yukon it would be highly appreciated if the authors post appendix chapters on new Yukon features as and when it comes on their web site which will be a great benefit to existing owners of their books.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Oracle E-Business Suite Financials Handbook (Osborne ORACLE Press Series)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: David James, Simon Russell, Graham H. Seibert
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
An Outline, not a Handbook, of Oracle Finanicials !

Did someone call it a Handbook? What the book offers is less than a bird's eye-view of Oracle Financials. To be fair to the authors, it is unfair to expect much in a single book on such a complex package like Oracle Financials. However, many important features of Oracle Financials are omitted and at the same time, repeated presentation of the same information, possibly on the same page, irritates you several times. Many graphics are confusing, even to a reader familiar with the topic.
Despite being the only source of published information about the subject, the book disappoints you irrespective of your knowledge level of Oracle Financials.