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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java Swing, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: James Elliott, Marc Loy, David Wood, Brian Cole
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
very disappointing book

This book have too many simple descriptions about swing APIs, so it more like a manual than a book on swing. There are neither in-depth explanations about swing nor practical hints on swing programming in this book. You can find almost half the contents of this book by reading the documentation of Java Swing. I have to say this is a useless book for programming with swing.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Authors: Michael Dell, Catherine Fredman
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
An Operations Management student's perspective

The book was written by the founder and current CEO of the number two computer manufacturer in the world, Dell Computers. It is written in two parts. The first part is written almost like a biography of Michael Dell and depicts some of his experiences he had while starting and running his first company. He takes us from childhood moments to today's challenges. He writes about successes and mistakes providing insight, hindsight, and lessons learned on each. In the second part, he writes to entrepreneurs who desire to do what he has done. It is written like a cookbook providing the recipes for success that he has learned. The second part incorporates all the ideals that were expressed in the first section.
There are a few themes that continue to appear in this book. The number one thing expressed is Dell Computer's selection of its method of bringing the product to the customer. This one concept is the driving factor in every other activity the company pursues. The author terms it the "direct method". It means selling straight to the consumer and avoiding the middleman. Dell further distinguishes its delivery method in that they customize each computer to the customer's order. It is, and was, a very different way to sell mass manufactured computers. The industry method has been for computer manufacturers to make a particular model, pass it to its distribution channels and let the retailers worry about selling the product, that is let the product sell itself.
Dell Computer makes nothing until it has received an order for it. They abhor the retail process. Michael Dell's book explains in detail the benefits to be obtained from such a practice. First and foremost, the computer industry is a constantly changing environment where new products are introduced at an astronomical rate. With the retail method (termed indirect), the manufacturer has to worry about getting the products that are on the self off the shelf and into consumers hands. This has resulted in considerable delays in introducing new technology to the individual consumer, as the company does not want to put a bigger, better, cheaper computer on the shelf next to its older version. Instead they pass these dinosaurs on to the unsuspecting consumer then restock with the new models which incorporate the new technology. Sometimes the retailers must make drastic markdowns in order to move these older products. These losses are borne by both the retailer and the manufacturer due to industry standard covenants.
Another major benefit of the direct method is that the company receives instantaneous feedback from its buyers. Offering a large selection of various components, Dell is able to immediately see the market's direction for various components. As consumers order directly, Dell is able to see market trend as it occurs. Armed with this information, Dell can alert its suppliers who can either plan to increase or decrease production. Dell has tapped its customers preferences and does an exceptional job at meeting their expectations. Their strategy mandates the incorporation of customer feedback into their process. They in sense acknowledge and cater to the boss - the client.
By seeing future trends so quickly, Dell is able to modify its product line as changes occur. New technology is embraced, and if successful, can be delivered within days to the consumer. Success rates can be measured within minutes of product offering due to the direct method.
As a byproduct of the direct method, and another leading theme of Michael Dell's book - inventory is king. Early in the company's history, they learned a valuable lesson: attempting to get ahead of the market, Dell made a large purchase of RAM chips which it used extensively in its products. Within days of their "look ahead" inventory purchase, new technology made the chips virtually useless. The company took a huge loss on the inventory and posted its first quarterly loss ever as a result.
The author explains that Dell now keeps only 6 days worth of inventory, where the industry standard is 40. He explains that he can incorporate new technology with 6 days to market.
Prior to reading this book, I would have only purchased a Dell by coincidence. Today I am sold. I will buy from this company.
The CEO, a college dropout, appears to have learned his lessons via `on-the-job" experience and does an good job of bringing them to the reader.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Enterprise JavaBeans, 3rd Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Ed Roman, Rima Patel Sriganesh, Gerald Brose
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Begining to End EJB Title

I bought this book b/c it has a really nice set of appendicies that cover the details many other books just mention, like XML deployment descriptors, and it also covers alot of project topics. This book would be gentile enough for someone new to EJB's and good for those already using them. This book has info on every EJB question I have had thus far. The only downside would be the price. I hate dropping that much on a book but I think this is worth the investment.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Advanced Perl Programming
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Sriram Srinivasan
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not bad, but could've been better

"Advanced Perl Programming" says in the Preface that it has two goals: 1) "To make you a perl expert" and 2) "to supplement your current arsenal of techniques and tools for crafting applications".
If you want to buy this book because of the first goal mentioned above, you'll be decieved. Because the book doesn't cover all the issues in details to be able to make one a "Perl expert". To achieve that goal, I recommend you to go for "Programming Perl", "Perl Cookbook", "Object Oriented Perl" and "Mastering Regular expression". Those four all together will make a "perl expert" out of you. The book only meets its second goal, but only partially.
Chapter 1 covers some basic data structure and introduces to references/pointers as they are implemented in Perl. The chapter is 22 pages only.
Chapter 2, "Implementing Complex Data Structures" does show the implementation of some complex tasks using Perl's multi-dimensional data structures. It lasts about 14 pages
You might find chapter 3, "Typeglobs and Symbol Tables" a bit usefull and more informative.
Chapter 4, "Subroutine References and Closures" was the one i Just skipped over :)
Chapter 5, "Eval" gives in depth explanation and the logick behind "eval()" and "eval { }". Lasts about 17 pages
In Chapter 6, "Modules", i believe there's nothing much to discover. "Progamming Perl" gives all the information and even much more that Sriram covers his book. Lasts 13 pages.
Chapter 7 and 8 cover Perl5's Object Oriented style and I found it pretty informative. I found it much better then that of "Progamming Perl". But when it comes to this subject, nothing can win "Object Oriented Perl" by Damian Convey
Chapter 9, "Tie" is about perl's built-in "tie()" function and its implementation. The chapter may serve as a decent reference. But couldn't do the job better than "Progamming Perl 3rd editon", Chapter 14.
I enjoyed Chapter 10 "Persistence" and Chapter 11 "Implementing Object Persistence". They deal with Storable, FreeThaw, Data::Dumper, Adaptor modules. I don't know any of the books out there that cover these topics in details.
Chapter 11 and 12 are about Networking. They implement IO::Socket module for developping network clients, and write a Msg module for implementing "Messaging Tooklkit"
Some good Tk examples are available in Chapters 14, 15 and 16.
The rest of the book is dedicated to Perl's Internals and extending Perl. They use SWIG and XS toolkits.
So if the above sounds like what you need from the book, you can buy it, I guess. If you're just starting Perl, and not good at Perl's some advanced data structures, you won't gain anything from buying this book. Go with "Learning Perl" for getting started and/or "CGI Programming 101" if your goal is to implement Perl in Web progamming.
Good luck