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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Real-Time Rendering (2nd Edition)
Publisher: AK Peters, Ltd.
Authors: Tomas Akenine-Moller, Eric Haines
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Algorithms of lasting value

Although not a programming how-to book, this book delivers something much more valuable, an understanding of the underlying principles involved in writing real-time, 3D programs. Too many books just give the author's own personal graphics engine to cut and paste into your own, but you never really learn anything about writing your own code. This book was a much needed breath of fresh air in a market seriously lacking a book on the hard-core principles. This book doesn't teach programming, but read and understand this book and you'll be able to come up with the code yourself. And it will be YOUR code!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: QuickBooks 2004 The Official Guide
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Kathy Ivens, Kathy Ivens
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Reference Book Only - Don't buy to learn to use Quickbooks!

I bought this book to learn how to use QuickBooks properly after my accountant noticed a few major issues with how I tracked things in my company file. I found this book worthless for a beginner trying to learn how to use the product. Also, it doesn't seem to provide significantly more detail than QuickBooks online help. The only thing I've used it for so far is learning a good account naming scheme...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 Unleashed (Unleashed)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Scott Woodgate, Stephen Mohr, Brian Loesgen
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Fill with errors and lies

Three chapters of the book were made available on Theserverside.net and I read the chapter on Biztalk's rule engine. After reading the chapter, I was suspicious of the description of Biztalk's rule engine. I posted a question on TheServerside.net asking for clarification. The response from the author Scott Woodgate is very revealing. His response stated the Biztalk rule engine implements RETE algorithm by Charles Forgy. When I asked further questions, Mr Woodgate's response revealed Microsoft's claim of an inference engine is a flat out lie. His response was that for small rulesets, they use RETE, but for large rulesets, it uses a proprietary algorithm.

RETE has been proven over the last two decadees to perform better than all other algorithms. It's defining charateristic is the number of rules in a ruleset does not impact performance. The fact that Biztalk's rule engine does not scale as the ruleset increases proves it is not RETE and possibly not even an inference engine. Glaring lies like these in the rule engine chapter make the book flawed at best. I would recommend those who read this book completely ignore the chapter on rules as it is a blantant lie.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Developing J2EE Applications with WebSphere Studio: IBM Certified Enterprise Developer (IBM Certification Study Guides)
Publisher: Mc Press
Authors: Howard Kushner, Colin Yu, Doug Weatherbee, Gene Van Sant
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Study Guide and Multipurpose too!

Not only is this a great study guide for the 287 test, it can also help you prepare for the 484 (chapters 3-10). I am also finding this book indespensible as a reference for making performance tweaks and profiling applications. I'm not so sure as a graduate level course book. Being M.S. grad. in comp. sci., the focus is more towards the theory and much more pedantic than what this book, which is much more PRACTICAL!!
One distracting factor was there were a ton of typos in the book -- it was like it was never spell checked. Howard, really nail down the publisher on this one next time around. Other than that you should be about 70% there with this book. But I'll warn you, these tests are fairly difficult and nothing prepares as well as some real world application development. Use the book as intended...a study guide!
Best of luck!