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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Swarm Intelligence
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Russell C. Eberhart, Yuhui Shi, James Kennedy
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good science; not metaphysics : know the difference; win big

You are most likely familiar with the story. In summary form, it is about a group of blind men standing around an elephant each declaring "what an elephant is like" based upon which part of the elephant they are touching -- and elephant is like: a wall (side); a tree trunk (leg); a hose (trunk); a fan (ear); and so on.

What is wrong with this story, nothing...

The elephant is wisdom not knowledge -- Brahma told me when I was stoned once. You have to walk your path alone but "friends" share information with a select few; not because they're snobs but because they aren't -- a friend in this sense is likewise then someone who might be willing to value what may be told. The seekers of truth lie (no pun here)in the middle; the ignorant take stories out of context needlessly and pervert them to justify positions that are essentially ancilliary to the essentials of their own ancestry, which is what the original story is really directed at. The wise don't listen or write these kinds of reviews. But I heard some other fool talk about there being only the social mind at the expense of the individual mind. Question: perhaps this social mind can correct the job situation in Illinois for example? Or maybe it's too involved in the same obsessions that cripple the individual mind. Question: who provides the therapy for a such a stupid, ineffective, globally small minded polyglot that already assumes the vast majority of people want to hold the piss buckets for those few "bodies" working on important "swarm" thinking projects ("bodies": I don't know what else to call these now reduced appendages) in this love fest -- except love is profitable or it's a crack substitute, and there's no need to sell the science that way; it just makes you cheap. Question: if no one does provide some form of sanity check, what have you already said about me (and you)?

Answer: none of the questions apply, because the story is better than either this review or the other one. Give it some thought while your reading the book and find a place where no one is at -- there you are.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design, Second Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Michael J. Hernandez
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Effective communication between designer and end user

This book shines in the process of communicating between the people who need the database and the database designer. This book would be valuable to a business contracting to set up a database. By using down-to-earth ("mortal") terms, Hernandez makes clear the value of normalization, and his "ideal table" and "ideal field" guidelines are practical presentations of the often more theoretically presented normalization. By describing how to document a table and field descriptions, Hernandez provides documentation guidelines that are often overlooked in introductory works. It might be valuable to store the answers to his "Field specification worksheet" into a "metadata" database.
There were a few parts of the book that I thought could have been amplified. The use of "subset" tables was introduced, but lacked discussion on how to build joins between main and subset tables. Database business rules were introduced, but "application-oriented" business rules were not, and they might influence the database structure. I applaud his inclusion of documenting "views", but I would have appreciated a discussion of testing the results of a view. Finally, his "Final goodbye" to the company seems too optimistic ... often there are changes after the initial design. Still, all in all, a useful book!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Linux in a Nutshell, Fourth Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Ellen Siever, Aaron Weber
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Worth dropping your earlier editions of this book

I had the 3rd edition of this book, and the 2nd, and was really hesitant about getting this latest edition. After all, linux is pretty mature these days, isn't it?
Then I read the other reviews, and decided to get it. Glad I did so! Linux is still rapidly expanding, and it really helps to get the latest authoritative scoop, thanks to OReilly.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Scott Kelby
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

MY QUALIFICATIONS: (ADVANCED NOVICE) I am a professional photographer and videographer. IMAGEWERX is my company. I am a video and photo editor, I photo and video weddings, and design and author custom DVDs. I have used Adobe Photoshop since 1997 and the only training I have had has been hands-on and tips from friends.


MY OPINION OF THE BOOK: The best how-to book I ever bought. I have learned a lot about Photoshop from this book. It's Easy to read. Easy to follow. Takes me step-by-step through the process. The attempts at humor didn't annoy me. That didn't distract me from the content of the book. I liked it because it made me feel closer to the author and that he was writing to me and not at me.

HOW I USE THIS BOOK: Usually, I don't read this type of book cover to cover. If I need to know how to do something I look it up. However, I have found myself actually reading this book section by section. I have never done that before (I have adult ADD so keeping me focused and interested for more then 10 seconds is a challenge). But this book has so many valuable lessons that take you step-by-step through the process I can't help but read it. I used to do a lot of things the hard way. Now I am saving a lot of time (which means money) by doing them the right way. I now consider my self a Photoshop expert. My photographs are better quality and my processing time has been more than cut in half because of this book.

WILL THIS BOOK WORK FOR YOU? That's up to you. One review I saw here was worthless because it talked about the information being available on the Web. So what does that have to do with the book? Every book I have ever bought has information I could find in other sources. It is how well it is written that matters to me. I have bought several books on the same subject and they all had the same information, but what was important to me was the one that I could follow and understand the best. This book is that to me.

WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE ADDED TO THE NEXT ADDITION: More Web site creation information including ImageReady how to steps.