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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Pragmatic ADO.NET: Data Access for the Internet World
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Shawn Wildermuth
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A true "pragmatic" book

Most technical books use fairly limited vocabulary in their titles. The title of the book usually has an adjective (Advanced, Essential, Professional) and a name of some technology. Experienced reader come to expect certain level of content based on the book's title. When I've picked "Pragmatic ADO.NET" as my first ADO.NET book, I've relied mostly on the fact that it was written by Shawn Wildermuth (had good Amazon reviews, published in AW .NET Dev Series and endorsed by Chris Sells). I wasn't sure what to expect from that "pragmatic" adjective. Now that I've read the book I wish other authors would consider sharing their expertise by writing "Pragmatic" books.
As any sophisticated technology, ADO.NET offers many options to get the job done. Shawn shows which options are the most practical based on his extensive experience. Shawn's book doesn't teach you basics of .NET. It doesn't teach you internals of ADO.NET or SQL syntax. Shawn refers the reader to other excellent books for details. What "Pragmatic ADO.NET" does well is to teach you about what's important in ADO.NET from practical standpoint. One of the last chapters of the book includes a great list of "best practices" that summarize the recommendations explained though out the text. Very valuable.
"Pragmatic ADO.NET" is a quick read for someone who has the background with .NET and general idea of database programming. The book will not make you an expert in ADO.NET so if you're looking for in-depth information this book isn't for you. After finishing this book, expect to be referring to MSDN documentation and sample code when you work on your data access layer. But you'll know exactly what details you'll need to explore further and what parts you can safely ignore.
A few "to-improve" comments: 1) The book has too much long code listings for my taste. 2) Sometimes I felt I needed a bit more information about the reasons why Shawn recommends a particular solution or a best practice.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Flash Remoting: The Definitive Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Tom Muck
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Confusing and poorly organized

Not only is the book poorly organized but it doesn't treat any one area well. It's hard to read and painfully inaccurate. Most of the URLs listed in the book no longer work. Virtually anything that could be done with Remoting could be done without it just as easy using another technology cheaper and easier. Unless you're a hard core Flash nut bent on Macromedia domination front end and back this book is awful. I tried to sell it and no one would buy it after reading the first few chapters. Forget the lip service of the other reviewers as someone who develops web apps for a living I can tell you Flash Remoting isn't the best way to go in most cases and in the 2% of cases that it is... this book isn't going to be any help at all.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Applied Statistics For Engineers and Scientists Using Microsoft Excel and MINITAB (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: David M. Levine, Patricia P. Ramsey, Robert K. Smidt
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very Practical Book

I have found this book to be very useful with practical examples and case studies. I felt that as an engineer I needed to know how to use software(to save time)along with the formulas that work in it.This book satisfies that, using a very common software EXCEL..what could be better than this.I strongly recommend this book for a high level course in statistics.

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
Exellent book - December 2003 Edition

First, be sure you purchase the latest edition of every tech book you buy. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't have the latest edition under Meloni's or Zandsta's name. You have to type the isbn number, 0672326205, in the search box to find the newest edition as of this review. Also keep in mind when reading reviews that Amazon mixes reviews of older editions with new editions which makes it very difficult to make an assessment unless the edition is mentioned in the review. New editions usually correct the complaints given in bad reviews so don't pass judgment so quickly unless you know exactly which edition the reviewer is writing about.
This is an excellent book for beginners who know nothing about programming. However you must know XHTML before beginning this book.
This book and "Teach Yourself PHP in 24 Hours" by Zandstra are built using exactly, word for word, much of the same content. However Meloni's book occasionally has more explicate examples and explanation, however it is missing four essential chapters that can be found in Zandstra's book.
1. Arrays2. Objects3. Regular Expressions4. PEAR - Reusable Components to Extend the Power of PHP
No real concern, because the reader could research these topics on php.net or other sites and my have to do so in order to complete the book since it refers to arrays but doesn't explain them.
Meloni's book, compared to Zandsta's, does have better examples with actual programs that may be usful to you. Meloni's book, as the title emplies, also goes deeper into Apache and MySQL.
After reading this book, you'll wont to get something like, The PHP Anthology By Harry Fuecks Vol. 1&2... or PHP and MySQL Web Development, Second Edition by Luke Welling, Laura Thomson. These books will teach you by example and are excellent.
A note to beginners... Learning to program can be very difficult. Unless you are some kind of genius, you must be dedicated and patient with your quest. Programming is a totally different way of thinking and there is a lot to learn... I think this book is a great way to learn PHP and to learn how to program in general.
Good Luck!