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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Non-Designer's Design Book, Second Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Robin Williams
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Helpful info for the irretrievably lost

I am one of those people that professional graphic designers meet in their nightmares. Totally clueless when it comes to what constitutes good design, and enrolled in desktop publishing classes which are meant to equip me with some degree of technical ability, but fall short of addressing issues like creativity and design concept.

I am finding this book helpful so far (it was required reading for one of my classes) and it's given me some very useful insights on how to lay out a page. The finished examples are by no means sophisticated works of art, but my goal is really to be able to master the ability to execute decent-looking newsletters, direct mail pieces and so on... and perhaps be able to run a sideline business once I've developed more expertise (strictly small-potato variety, not Madison avenue). But I'm not about to unleash my ineptitude on any unsuspecting bosses or clients yet! This book clearly states that it is written more for people like me, who in the course of their jobs need to get up to speed in this area fast! People in a similar situation would probably derive benefits from this book as well, but more advanced students or designers may be disappointed.

Since I have no designs on pursuing a formal degree (terrible pun intended) I found a lot of use for this book. I also have a question for the graphic designers who bashed it..what do they recommend for a student who knows vritually nothing about graphic design (besides switching to some other field) as a good primer to help them produce layouts that don't scream "TACKY!"??

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: UML 2 for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Michael Jesse Chonoles, James A. Schardt
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A nicely written book

This book is certainly a good investment. The depth and detail of the book are good to clear and understand the concepts. This helps in lot in the preparation and also in the learning and knowledge.
A nicely written book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Developer's Workshop to COM and ATL 3.0
Publisher: Wordware Publishing, Inc.
Authors: Andrew Troelsen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An extraordinary book

I own at least 8 books on the subject of COM/DCOM, and this one is by far the best. It provides the technical information I need, but does it in a logical progression that doesn't overwhelm you. The Labs are very illustrative, work the way they are suppose to, and are well timed to keep you awake.
Definitely the best book I have read on COM.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Kalen Delaney
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One of the best books about database internals

First of all, let me strongly disagree with low rates that some other reviewers gave to this book. I don't think it's correct to lower the rating just because the contents didn't change much since "Inside SQL Server 7". SQL Server 2000 is very much like SQL Server 7.0 (adding XML is the only major difference). It's a companion to the product, so it should be just a next iteration of "Inside SQL Server" series.
Then it seems that some reviewers probably expected to find how to program SQL Server using ADO, XML, ODBC etc, and instead only found a description of internals. While I agree that the books should have covered XML implementation better, I'd remind that the title of the book is "INSIDE SQL Server"! And I was really pleased with how much of SQL Server internals were exposed to the general public.
Perhaps I liked the book so much because I'm working now on a propriatary database implementation, and for me it was really useful to learn how SQL Server is implemented. But any serious database developer should understand how query execution is planned, how records are locked, and what is a performance and storage cost of certain operations. And all these topics are presented in a best possible way.