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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

besdies a fondness for ms. castro based on her residing in northampton, mass, where i lived for awhile, this is one of the better computer self-educational books i have ever purchased.
her coverage of updates, tags, deprecated tags, tables, CSS and all other things germane to page design is, near as i can tell, comprehensive, while she makes brief and innocuous suggestions about good web design. this book was excellent for reading while at the keyboard building, or on the beach preparing.
ms. castro also recognizes a basic hurdle in internet design - the differences in browser capabilities. she is thorough in explaining what tags are deprecated, why they have been, and which browsers still recognize them, as well as often covering tools and tags specific to netscape or explorer.
this is an excellent book for anyone willing to sit and put the tools into PRACTICE. if you're not, you should be in a class, not learning from books anyway.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Kalen Delaney
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not Inside, not really

One thing is very clear to me after reading this book. Delaney is not a practicing DBA. He spends far too much time on things DBAs couldn't care less about and far too little on the real important stuff. The worst part of it is the book is loaded with errors. Lots and lots of them. There are three errors in the discussion of RAID that any practicing DBA worth his money should be able to get right. There are numerous errors in the discussion of the query optimizer. I feel sorry for him that he doesn't know the technology any better than this. On top of all this, this is some of the dullest writing I've ever read. I liked the 6.5 book, but this one bores me to tears.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Jef Raskin
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5

This isn't the best book it could have been, but it's well worth reading nonetheless. It would have been better had Raskin taken the time to present an in-depth explanation of the Canon Cat interface, rather than taking it for granted that everyone would know all about it. Those who have seen it know that the Cat interface verges on genius, but the rest will find themselves lost very quickly. Raskin talks about LEAPing (a Cat method of moving the cursor around and selecting text) a lot without ever explaining the concept in sufficient detail to get a sense of how it would feel to use it. Others have criticized the book for its scattershot approach in its second half, where each chapter is basically a separate idea Raskin has without much to tie them together. It's a fair criticism, but I enjoyed this part of the book anyway. A third issue is that Raskin focuses almost entirely on manipulating and organizing text. Some of his ideas (having e-mail automatically stream into your workspace in the middle of what you're working on) are just plain goofy and most of the rest simply aren't applicable to anything much more complicated than basic word processing, spreadsheet, and database tasks. Raskin never even hints at how a single interface might be designed that would allow text to be processed, numbers to be crunched, illustrations to be designed, and movies to be edited seamlessly and without modes, as was the Cat's goal. It's as if the desktop publishing and multimedia revolutions never happened in Raskin's world. The truth is that different tasks demand different ways of working. Raskin no doubt knows this but chose to basically ignore it in this book, perhaps because he's not sure what to do about it. Still a good read, though.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
What's so good about it?

I don't understand what others see in this book. I realize that it is *supposed* to be about foundations of good programming style, and not about any language in particular, but being language specific is exactly what it does. Many things it teaches can only be done in Scheme. Also, I think the presentation of material is very poor, whatever the purpose. For example, they spend a disproportionate amount of time on simple concepts, and rush through complicated information, such as the implementation of a logic programming language. This book is thoroughly confusing, and chances are you won't learn anything new. Anyone who has read the book carefully will notice its poor style.