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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

OK, so this title has become almost a bible for the software industry - it seems to get cited by every other author I read, so I thought it was about time I actually bought a copy. It is one of those books that has you saying 'YES!' to yourself within a few pages as the elegance and truth of the concepts become apparent, and continue saying 'YES!' to the back cover. Many of the concepts were not new to me, and it was a shock to see not a single mention of Java (because it was written before Java was invented!!). Nevertheless there is more gold in this book than in much of the rest of my bookshelf combined!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Authors: Richard Phillips Feynman
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Feynman Diagrams examined by their creator

These tapes present a live delightful explanation of "Feynman Diagrams" in lay terms. A valued addition to any library but the audio is often atrocious with loud static, other times the audio fades in & out. One tape repeats several minutes.
It appears that the tape producers made ZERO effort to clean up the audio, which is criminal considering the raw value of the material they were entrusted with. While I don't regret my purchase, I strongly object to the absence of even a sophomoric attempt to edit the tapes to enhance their compromised quality.
Feynman gets his usual "A+" while the tape producers should be exiled to an obscure island absent food or water.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XML Bible (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Elliotte Rusty Harold
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Detailed and well-written XML information, with limitations

I read an article titled "The Semantic Web" in the May 2001 issue of Scientific American and I decided I wanted to learn more about RDF, the Resource Description Framework, that could be used to express the "meaning" of Web pages. I found the "XML Bible" which has a chapter on RDF (Chapter 21). After reading the 25 page chapter I feel that I know much more about putting RDF into my Web pages. The chapter discusses what RDF is, and RDF syntax, containers, and schemas. There is a sidebar on the Dublin Core (a particular set of RDF elements analogous to library card catalog information). However, I still don't know how to use the "semantic" information once it is in a Web page. I also read the chapter on namespaces (needed to make sense of RDF), and that was also clear and well written. Overall, based on my sampling of a couple of chapters of the book, I can say it is detailed and well written. Its limitations are its focus on Web page development (rather than XML software development in general--but this is the author's goal as stated in the preface) and, at least for RDF, its lack of information on applications. If you are looking for a book on XML from a Web page perspective, this would be a good book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Flash Math Creativity
Publisher: Friends of ED
Authors: Keith Peters, Manny Tan, Jamie MacDonald
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Math is cool

I don't know if I had more fun writing my chapter, or going through the other author's chapters. The only problem I have with this book is that once I start messing around with one of the experiments, I know the next two hours are going to vanish without a trace.