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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Physics for Game Developers
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: David M. Bourg
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Interesting, yet vague and imprecise


The book does a startlingly good job of covering many areas of game programming that benefit from physics including projectiles, vehicles, and other solid bodies. Some more advanced concepts like fuel burnoff, body shape, and simulation in real time add to the usability of the book.
One of the biggest problems with the text is that if your going to jump into a single chapter and code up a sample of just the object being talked about your going to be okay. However, if your going to be deriving your own code and objects based on the material in the book your going to find yourself having a hard time.
A great example lies in the first chapter which derives formulas for working with a car, with a fuel tank and driver. Now, first off, the author implements 0 source code for the functions shown in the book. This leaves you as the reader to develop your own functions and test things out, possibly by adding another driver, or implementing a generic method for defining composite bodies. If your technically proficient enough to do this, you'll use the numbers provided to test your code. What do you find? Well, that the numbers the author put in the book are wrong.
Since the book is based on precise math and physics, this type of slip-up, especially in a prime example (its the major example for the first chapter), is killer in terms of my trust in the books content.
Still, I do recommend buying the book, just prepare yourself for the technical inconsistencies.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MDX Solutions: With Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: George Spofford
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book to fill the MDX knowledge gap


Let us begin by acknowledging that MDX is a nontrivial topic. With SQL Server 2000 and Analysis Services, Microsoft is providing arguably the most powerful OLAP solution at perhaps the lowest price. But with power comes complexity. Much of this complexity is to be found in the OLAP query language: MDX. Developers will welcome any assistance in climbing this learning curve, and Spofford's book was quick to fill this gap.
This is a thick book, and it is not padded with screenshots of wizards. More than half of the book deals with the syntax and semantics of MDX. It provides a new OLAP sample database for those of us tired of playing with "Foodmart". There are also chapters on local cubes and client programming in ADO. The last quarter of the book is reference material. The MDX function and operator reference in Appendix A includes easily comprehended graphical explanations of function behaviors.
This is not a book geared towards administrators or end users or casual developers. Expect to sweat the details here and to do so from chapter 1. This is a book to read at your computer as you learn the power of MDX by running the examples queries. This author's experience is apparent in the examples, which demonstrate real-world OLAP use cases. Examples range from simple to sophisticated, so this book will useful to both intermediate and advanced MDX programmers.
One weakness of the book is that, since it was written prior to the final release of Analysis Services, there may be some inconsistencies. But the book's web site should post updates and corrections. Also, the book mentions but does not cover the XML for Analysis technology that was released by Microsoft last month (July). XML for Analysis allows SQL Server tables and cubes to be queried using SOAP and XML. Using the WebService Behavior, Internet Explorer can directly make MDX queries and present the results with HTML or graphically (see intrasight.com).
Since MDX has emerged as the defacto standard for OLAP query, all product developers and report developers will want to add this book to their library.
Chris Harrington Active Interface, Inc.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCNA Certification Library (CCNA Self-Study, exam #640-801)
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Wendell Odom
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Third Times the Charm


I have all three versions of Wendell Odom's Cisco Press CCNA books. This latest set, the CCNA Certification Library is by far his best work.
His first two books were great, if not a little overwhelming. I find myself constantly returning to them as a reference in the field.
But these latest 2 books, "Intro to CCNA" and "ICND" (included in the library) are right on target.
Beginners will find the Intro book a great place to start learning the technology.
The ICND book gets a little deeper but builds upon the foundation laid by the Intro book.
I found the questions in the beginning of each chapter helpful as they let me assess my knowledge of a subject and it gave me an idea if needed to go over a chapter again.
I loaded the CD that comes with Books and it had practice questions. I did find a couple of questions that seemed incorrect, but over all a huge improvement over the Cisco Press CD's of the past that were full of errors.
All in all, I believe that the Certification Library set is the best CCNA title from Cisco Press yet. I found them highly informative, easy to read, and the "Wow this is a thick book" factor has been toned down considerably. Plus the 2 book approach makes it easier for a non-technical person to ease into the CCNA at their own pace.
I think if you are pursuing the new CCNA 640-801,811,821 or for those looking for a great reference book. This set is a good buy.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Exceptional C++: 47 Engineering Puzzles, Programming Problems, and Solutions
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Herb Sutter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
If you like Scott Meyer's books, you'll like this one


Clearly, this book is for good C++ practioners, but you don't really need to be a guru to take advantage of it. Like very good (C++) books, hard (exceptional) C++ features are very well explained. The structure of the book is based on few pages items. Because each item begin with a quizz-like example, the reader is not passive, but invited to "play". It makes the learning very effective. Last but not least : A lot of pieces information given in only 200 pages ! Great !