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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Publisher: Graphics Press
Authors: Edward R. Tufte
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
How to Create Clear Decisions from Clear Data

Mr. Tufte recently gave a full day seminar on the concepts he expounds in his three books (he is working on a fourth), which I was able to attend. This, his first book, is really the foundation for understanding the principles he puts forth in the next two, and present a clear template on how to do the best possible job when presenting data visually. This book explains how to clearly and elegantly design data for presentation in order to maximize its efficiency. While there are several fields where this is directly applicable, web design, finance and any other area requiring significant quantiative analysis, it is difficult to envision any field which would not benefit from Mr. Tufte's very insightful and educational opinions.
This book is divided into two parts, a history and guide to "Graphical Practice" and a section describing the "Theory of Data Graphics." In the first, the author describes what makes for good visual data and outlines the history of the visual presentation of data. In the second part the author discusses many specific techniques for evaluating the efficiency of graphics and methods for ensuring that graphics are created in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. The whole of the book is full of wonderful historical examples of good and bad graphics. Every page has a graphic, and every graphic has been thoughtfully chosen and tells a wonderful story. If you were to purchase this book and merely look at the charts and figures it would be a worthwhile purchase, if you take the time to read the back up text the book truly is a masterpiece. The author does an exceptional job of clearly presenting his points at the conclusion of the chapters and provides a large number of well selected examples of his points.
Mr. Tufte's theories are clear, (1) charts are not just a way of livening up 'boring' data, (2) no chart can overcome poor content, (3) charts should contain as much relevant data as possible, and (4) charts should not be livenend up with 'chartjunk' just for the sake of displaying nifty graphics capabilities. This is an excellent book, which is well thought out and clearly illustrates the author's point - but given the subject matter, that is exactly what you should expect.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming the Perl DBI
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Alligator Descartes, Tim Bunce
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Programming the Perl DBI

Simaply the best reference book for Perl DBI, I highly recomment this book to new users. Over all this is nice book to read and I recommend this to all my collegues and friends. Paper quality is good and examples could have been better in terms of more elaboration as this is a new O'Reilly & Associates book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Networking for Dummies, Sixth Edition
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Doug Lowe, Doug Lowe
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Should be called "Beginning Networking for Dummies"

I am a "Computer Specialist" and can only recommend this book to beginners, or basic computer users who want to get an idea of what a network is. This book gives an introduction to networking, and leaves a lot of loose ends. If the book didn't claim to give you the knowledge to build and manage "any size network," and said it was only for beginners, I'D GIVE IT MORE STARS. It's a good read; it's just too basic for all the claims made on the front, and back covers.
I also have to argue with some of the authors suggestions that users (who have read this book) should try to trouble-shoot the network before calling a guru. That's fine if you really are the one who is supposed to be doing that, it's your network, or you work in a "mom and pop" company. Don't do it otherwise. You're likely to get in trouble, or at least be thought of as a "Dummy." If you want to be a networking pro - and have very little, to no knowledge - start here and move up to more complete information. Good luck on your pursuit of knowledge. :)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Maya Character Animation
Publisher: Sybex Books
Authors: Jaejin Choi
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great, but don't buy this for the modelling tutorials

I am relatively new to Maya, but i have been doing 3d modelling for quite some time using both 3dsmax and lightwave. I bought this as well as Maya 4.5 Fundamentals, and i found this to be a very nice combination for moving into maya territory. Choi's book is, if anything, a very thorough and in depth look at the uses of tools that arent given the time of day in other books, and the animation essays and tutorials are truly helpful, which is quite rare. However, as it has been said by others, the color illustrations, while nice, don't really serve their purpose in the modelling tutorials. For one they are extremely small. Selected edges and faces are almost impossible to see. What puzzles me a bit is that this book is made for intermediate users of Maya, and intermediate users should have their own methods firmly in place. I have to say that personally i find choi's modelling methods (making a profile outline polygon and extruding edges, working out-and-in using edge merging) rather unwieldy, and by far not the easiest way to do things. Also, he has rickety terminology, and it's sometimes hard to figure out what he means when he says "polygon". Regardless, the animation related information is *very* interesting and thorough. I recommend it to users comfortable with modelling but unfamiliar with character animation