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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Producing Great Sound for Digital Video
Publisher: CMP Books
Authors: Jay Rose
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Get this book!

Having enjoyed Jay Rose's columns in DV for some years, I was happy to know that he had a book coming out. Jay's style has always been clean and conversational, and his columns filled with good information. I was sort of expecting the book to be a collection of his previous DV articles, but I was happily suprised to find that it was an entirely new work covering the gamut from the physics of sound through the production process and on into how to deal with talent.
Jay provides information in an extremely easy-to-understand manner without being patronizing. The information he provides is practical, do-it-yourself kinda stuff that takes the mystery out of getting great sound. He also provides information on the when and why of making creative choices, which is much needed information for the audio professional. The only problem I have is with the title; this book provides very useful information for independent filmmakers, radio theater producers, and anyone who works with audio as a part of their craft. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to get better sound for any production.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
The re-discovery of engineering in software engineering.

Finally when confronted with real world problems, engineers re-discover the good all tricks: decision tables, indirection, message passing, publish and subscribe, message switching, parsing, linked lists, exploding objects into their components at implementation time to better handle versioning ... Too bad the terminology has to be so esoteric, but hey, isn't this a new world? Really?
It was funny to see Christofer Alexander wondering what he was doing talking to a bunch of software engineers several yeras ago. "Closet architects" he called them. No wonder, this business of patterns is only slowly emerging out of its programmers craddle to look into the real enterprise problems.
As a final note, looking at architecture for guidance from the elders may not be the wisest thing. Software is a dynamic environment, not architecture. I would rather look at mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or even try to understand how switching systems software is organized (rather than Smalltalk classes) to see what real software virtuosos have done in the past. The telephone network works. They must have done something right ...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Secrets and Lies : Digital Security in a Networked World
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Protect, Detect, Respond

I really enjoyed Bruce's "Applied Cryptography", so I looked forward to reading what Bruce has learned from his computer security consulting company. Bruce explains that when he wrote Applied Cryptography he thought all that was necessary for foolproof computer security was great technology. But as he tried to help companies implement network security, he learned first-hand that a system is composed of people and computers, and it is only as strong as its weakest link.
With many (often colorful) examples of security failings, he illustrates very clearly the need for a three part strategy. You must first protect your system from obvious/easy attacks, then you must provide a means to defect incursions into your system, and finally you must have response mechanisms to deal with incursions.
A must-read for anyone working in software today.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Approach
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies
Authors: Roger S. Pressman
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
disordered, vague, verbose, overpriced

The author achieves a commendable balance between breadth and depth. None of the topics are discussed at a superficial level. In addition, this text is written in a highly readable style. External sources are frequently referenced, quoted, and summarized. There is an emphasis on software metrics in chapter 5 and chapter 18. A section on structured methods is contained in chapters 11-14. A section on object-oriented methods is contained in chapters 19-23. Excellent introduction to advanced topics such as formal methods, reengineering, client/server, and computer-aided software engineering. Breaks CASE tools into 23 categories. Each chapter includes a set of problems and points to ponder.