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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Rise of the Network Society
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers
Authors: Manuel Castells
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Senor Castells's 1st & 2nd languages: mush; English.

My high hopes for this book were based on hype in a financial journal and were quickly dashed when I encountered sentences such as: "The full understanding of the current technological revolution would require the discussion of the specificity of new information technologies vis-a-vis their historical ancestors of equally revolutionary character, such as the discovery of printing in China probably in the late seventh century, and in Europe in the fifteenth century, a classical theme of communications literature." Note that the sentence would be more tractable if the final murky clause were dropped, if the unnecessary comma between 'century' and 'and' were also dropped, and if the awkward phrase 'probably in the late seventh century' were to be replaced with 'in about the seventh century'. Every other line of this book is like this sentence. I have been unable to detect a theme which is anything more than a verbose recitation of that which is obvious about the information age. Want to read something light and interesting which is related to the techno economy? Try "Crossing the Chasm" by Geoffrey Moore. It's a marketing book, but it's rather coherent and it explains quite a bit about the nature of the mad rush to innovate. I just completed "Conquests and Cultures" by Dr. Thomas Sowell. Dr. Sowell's work is somewhat related to the stated purposes of Senor Castells book in that 'Conquests' gives a historical world view of the ways in which peoples have fared at making the most of new technologies. I can't resist giving a tidbit from Dr. Sowell's book. Be advised that it does not typify the work. It is this: the advertisements for a coming PBS program blame white men alone for the near extermination of the American bison while attributing their resurrection to vague forces of liberalism; Dr. Sowell states that it frequently happened that Indians were hired by white men to do the hunting. -Mike O'Connor

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself PHP, MySQL and Apache in 24 Hours
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Julie C. Meloni
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
i don't understand people's problems with this book!

The author has posted errata, and there are only like 5 things, only 1 of which is an actual error. And that error doesn't even cause a "parse" error, just something you have to look hard to find. I gave this book to some of our junior level admins to get them up to speed on our development environment and they flew right through it and know a lot more than they did when they started. the author says over and over where to get help if there is a problem with installation, and how to determine where your errors are if something in your script is not working. but to say this is a bad or confusing book just makes no sense. I'm an IT manager and this book does a very good job of pulling from the three books to give you just what you need to get started. you're not supposed to get this book if you've been using these things for any great amount of time -- it's a beginner's book, it says that, and it is that. and it is a good one!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Fuel Cell Systems Explained
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: James Larminie, Andrew Dicks
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This book is a must read for anyone wanting to get into the fuel cell industry. I am a graduate researcher at a fuel cell lab and after borrowing my copy several colleagues have purchased their own. It gives a complete survey of the major fuel cell technologies and additionally covers many of related issue effecting fuel cell commercialization such as fuel storage. This text is very suited for a undergraduate course in fuel cells.

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: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
An easy to read database design guide.

It's suprising to me to see how many people in the other reviews weren't so fond of this book. Obviously the book puts so much emphasis on asking questions because it's so important to make sure that you start out right from the very beginning. If you've ever had to completely recreate a database before because you made one little mistake in the design, or you didn't feel as though you had a solid understanding of design, this book is a great thing. I certainly would never expect to follow *ALL* of the procedures the author recommends in interviewing, but the book provides a great mindset to set yourself in.