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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
An Invaluable Resource

I sat down with this book as I tried to bring myself up to speed on working with database design and operation. After reading the "companion" Database Design for Mere Mortals, I tackled SQL Queries for Mere Mortals. While some of the beginning was redundant, it popped me into buiding SQL queries with a ton of examples and hands on exercises. Slowly building your knowledge and allowing you to see how the pieces can stand alone or interlock in the syntax, you are given more and more specific examples to help understand the concept.
Is it exhaustive? No. Is it a quick reference? Not really. What it is though is a good reference piece when I'm trying to remember how do write sytnax for a specific query, showing me a real life example, instead of a list of just possible uses. Many references simply give you the generic terms built into one example statement like "Outer Join Table1, Table2 on Field1 [Order by]...." Instead, this book shows you using databases you are introduced to so you see the syntax in action. Since I don't use SQL every day, it's nice to go here to jump start my brain after some time also. A great book for someone getting into database queries, or who works with them occasionally and needs a guide.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MCSE SQL 2000 Administration Exam Cram (Exam: 70-228)
Publisher: Coriolis Group Books
Authors: Kalani Kirk Hausman
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Next time - Short and sweet

For future reference - short and sweet!
I'll pay more for a short book that covers the important stuff for the exam itself than for an exhaustive repetition of all of the exam criteria on the MCDBA web site. I don't really care what MIGHT be on the exam according to Microsoft. I just want to know what IS on the exam.
This is an EXAM CRAM not a coverage of all knowledge domains for the exam. If I wanted a full source book for reference, I'd buy the Black Book or something like it.
Next time - shorter is better!!!
The end of book self test was the best thing about this book. At least that covered only similar items to what I saw on the test. I could probably have skipped the rest of the book and passed the test just with that. Maybe I should rip out the CramSheet and the self test next time - that would be more of a CRAM.
This is one I won't read again. I read it, I passed the exam, file-13, enough said.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Step-By- Step.
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Michael Halvorson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Not to shabby!

Based on the reviews of others, I selected this book as a text for my VB class. While the book layout and topic are well done, the author introduces very poor programming practices. He likes use of Variant data types, which are very inefficient. Other bad habits are the way that variable types are declarated. My students gave a very lukewarm reception to this book. You can learn to program in VB using this book, but you will not learn good programming habits.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Python, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Mark Lutz, David Ascher
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
It worked for me

I think this book would be quite overwhelming to the compelete newbie to programming. It does assume that you have a programming background already, e.g. You will definitely not learn the principles of OO from this book, though you will learn the python constructs to support OO.
But if you have the background, I think this book serves its purpose well, I was writing non trivial programs within a few days of picking up this book. It gives a good feel of what can be acheived with Python and a good base before you tackle the more hardcore Programming Python.