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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CIO Wisdom: Best Practices from Silicon Valley
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Dean Lane, With Members of the CIO Community of Practice, Inc. and Change Technology Solutions, Silicon Valley CIO Round Table
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Chock Full of Good Stuff...Better Than Chocolate!

I found the book all encompassing and a real learning in so many ways. It gets to the heart of IT and the P A I N that most of us who have lived in the mix of the many stories of the... day in and day out world of IT. I recommend the book to multiple roles in organizations and mainly to those at VP and Director positions who are not necessarily IT. Engaging other other functional areas of the organization to read it would give a wake-up call to those who continually "kick the cat" called IT! Scintillating! A great writing of how important "Listening" is to making an organization work together. I found it worthwhile every "page of the way" in moving the "world of an organization" forward and the book more than directs YOU in that journey. I wish I had this book 15 years ago, it would have made life alot easier.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: C# and the .NET Platform, Second Edition
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Andrew Troelsen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A conceptual content for beginners and experienced guys

Good choice! You will find all the conceptual topics needed to really understand C#. May be you will miss some guides to manage and drive the GUI, but do you really need a book for it?It is not a book to learn how to "Open a C# project" or "Save an application", "How to write a data through ADO", etc.. It is a book to learn and UNDERSTAND C#. It's simple!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alan Cooper
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Important book, though Cooper's not as smart as he thinks

The central thesis of this book is that software should be designed for the user's ease first and the programmer's ease second. Cooper's points are generally excellent, although I fear that the vast majority of ears his message falls on are irredeemably deaf; most programmers care not a whit for the hapless users of their software.
If anything, this book doesn't go far enough. The fact that Cooper is the creator of Microsoft Visual BASIC - a tool that encourages the creation of the worst kind of sloppy, ill-thought-out, user-hostile software - ought to tell you something about his position in the field of human-computer interaction. It's sad but true that just about anyone studying HCI is inherently radical (since most technical people want nothing to do with the end user) but Cooper is as conservative as they come within that spectrum. Despite the provocative title, he seems to view the changes that must be made for computers to be truly usable by the average human as evolutionary ones, not revolutionary ones.
The best example of Cooper's conservatism is, I think, his skepticism about the usability of hierarchical filesystems. Cooper says that systems of nested directories or folders are, for non-programmers, one of the most confusing features of modern computers; he gives a couple of anecdotal examples in which average users save files, then lose them forever. While this seems to be a revolutionary attack on a cornerstone of modern OS design, it really isn't.
While Cooper is correct in citing the presentation of a hierarchical filesystem to the application user as an example of interface-design-ignorant programmers allowing implementation structure to dictate interface structure (a policy which he rightly decries), such presentation is not a good example of what not to do: there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a hierarchical filesystem from many, perhaps most, users' point of view. Anecdotal evidence is not proof, but I know many non-techies who understand (and, more important, take advantage of) the Windows filesystem. Hierarchies of categories within categories are in fact all around us, because an appreciation and understanding of them is (I believe) hardwired into the human brain. Consider the Library of Congress card catalog system, or the Linnaean taxonomy of life.
There are two things wrong with the hierarchical filesystem of Windows and the MacOS from the user's point of view (neither being its sheer existence). First, its structure is obscure. Both Windows and the MacOS, in the standard dialog boxes that they present when the user is saving a file, show only the files in the current directory, with no context. Both OSs will display on demand an abbreviated tree showing the structure above the current directory, but this option is hidden in a non-obvious popup menu; and even if it were more obvious, the display would not be very helpful, because it doesn't show the tree structure of the entire filesystem - just the parents, grandparents, and so on of the current directory. If not just the local context, but a more general context (the entire filesystem) were displayed at all times when the user was trying to choose a directory, the first problem with computer filesystems would be solved.
The second problem with the Windows and MacOS filesystems is that they mix user documents and everything else together. Microsoft tried (in its usual half-baked way) to address this issue by creating the "My Documents" folder in Windows 95. But *documents* shouldn't be segregated into a single folder. *Applications, system files, and related data should be* - or ideally, they should be in some sense *not there at all*, from the user's point of view. Most users don't know or care that executables, libraries, configuration files, and the like are stored in the same way on the disk as their own documents. In fact, they don't care about applications at all - *only* about documents.
The original GUI model developed at Xerox PARC (by which Windows and the MacOS were inspired) was a document-centric one, involving no explicit applications. Document-centric computing has never taken off for two reasons - because it's different, and because nobody's figured out how to make money from it. (How will we sell applications if there are no applications? goes the conventional wisdom.) Yet, sadly, there is no mention at all of this fundamentally superior HCI paradigm in The Inmates Are Running the Asylum. In his fundamental conservatism, Alan Cooper is way behind some of his cohort, like Donald Norman (author of The Design of Everyday Things), or Jef Raskin (the least technical, and thus most important, member of the original Macintosh design team) - both of whom have come out strongly in favor of document-centric computing.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Code Complete
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Steve McConnell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Professional Development

For those that have been in the software game for some time know, most "professionally" written code isn't! If you are serious about your professional development, this book is a must for your library. Its "common sense" approach to software construction, backed up by key studies, data, and observations, is something that most professional programmers (I've seen) lack. It has changed several of my habits for the better and has allowed me to indoctrinate newly hired programmers in fundamentals that might otherwise have taken them years to discover and internalize.