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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C Programming Language (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie, Dennis M. Ritchie
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
K&R all the way!

This is the book. Period. If you don't own this, change professions.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture, Volume 2, Patterns for Concurrent and Networked Objects
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Douglas Schmidt, Michael Stal, Hans Rohnert, Frank Buschmann
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
hard to read - poorly written

Doug Schmidt is a world authority on Corba and a helpful and unassuming person; so I was eager to get this book since he is listed as one of four co-authors. However after 1 1/2 years of sitting on my shelf and not being used much, I think someone needs to point out to the editor, that it is not very readable. The GOF patterns book (by Vlissides) was a pleasure and easy to read. However this book is full of bewildering sentences like (page 217, 2nd sentence, 1st para). Exact quote:
"When asynchronous service processing completes, the application must handle the corresponding completion events delivered by the operating system to indicate the end of the asynchronous computations."
If most of the reader's mental effort is spent in parsing such sentences, rather than grappling with concepts, then the purpose is lost. The hallmark of a skillful writer lies in being able to explain great (though complex) concepts clearly.It is puzzling because Prof. Schmidt's papers are clearly written; "too many co-authors spoil the broth" :)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Planning Extreme Programming
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Kent Beck, Martin Fowler
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Very Similar to Extreme Programming Explained

If youve real Extreme Programming explained then this book offers very little additional information. Most of the books in this series are very similar to each other. If you've read one, you've gained most of the knowledge of the others. They could easily be condensed into one 350 page book, and that would be worth [money].
Save your money, read XP Explained or XP Installed, skip this one. Its only of interest to those who have never read any books in the series. Even then you're better off reading Extreme Programming Explained.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Foundations of Service Level Management
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Rick Sturm, Wayne Morris
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5

I admit I was impressed by the table of contents of this book, and I admit I had no previous experience with the subject, but sure with the 'real life' of support services for a database company. Most of the book is devoted to review commercial software available on the market and for me, this is just enough to be dissapointed. There are better commercial magazines or even websites can provide you this information for free... Although some formulas and templates looks very interesting (that's why 2 stars), maybe should you consider a help desk book instead.