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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: An Introduction to Database Systems (Introduction to Database Systems)
Publisher: Addison Wesley Longman
Authors: C. J. Date
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book for understanding of the main concepts

C.J. Date explains every theoretical concept in an easy way without being unprecise. He also explains the advantages and disadvantages of the concepts. He didn't make any comment without a detailed discussion of the background of it, so it is understandable for the reader. Allmost every comment sounds logical to me after some thinking about it, because it comes from the view of the reader. Very interesting are the discussion of the differences between the relational model and the SQL approach. Informative is also the discussion about nulls in the whole book especially in the chapter: Missing Information. I like the ideas about object oriented databases, because it becomes important to be aware of the benefits of them.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop CS: The Art of Photographing Women
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Kevin Ames
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This is the Book I've Been Telling All My Friends to Buy

Don't get fooled by the title -- or the cover. This book is for everyone who uses Photoshop -- not just those who photograph women.

Pictures of women are but a metaphor for all pictures. The techniques taught can be used on babies, seniors, landscapes, factories or cars. They work across the board.

I've got lots of Photoshop books. This has been the easiest to use and most practical.

The first 4 chapters -- on Workflow -- are worth the price of the book. With Kevin's help, I've developed an approach to archiving, proofing, and displaying my images. And, I've learned a way to create and use actions to do the heavy lifting.

This book makes clear the qualitative difference between 8 and 16 bit images. Run the exercise and you will see the advantages of 16 bit with your own eyes.

Color correction has become very easy. Kevin teaches a simple way to get dead on color. Now I understand the tremendous advantage one gets by using a Gretag/Macbeth or similar reference card. And, again, to make it easy, he shows how to use what we've learned to make and use actions and batches to take the tedium out of correcting all the pictures taken under the same light.

I shoot RAW. Kevin helped me master Adobe CS's RAW processor. But, more importantly, I've also learned how and when to simply make a .tif and do my corrections based on the reference shot. I find the latter to be more precise and accurate. What a time saver -- one step eliminated and the others run by actions.

Notice I've not said one word about photographing women? I haven't used it for that, yet. Maybe, I will -- but the book's value is not dependent on the subject matter, it is all about getting the most out of all your photographs whatever they might be.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Find It Online, Fourth Edition : The Complete Guide to Online Research (Find It Online: The Complete Guide to Online Research)
Publisher: Facts on Demand Press
Authors: Alan M. Schlein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An excellent guide for research librarians

It used to be that a good reference librarian had only to keep up with the new books being published, and perhaps keep one eye on the newspapers and learned journals. Nowadays, one has to keep track of where best to find the answers to questions on the Web, as well. And it ain't easy! Massive printed volumes of Web addresses weren't much help even a decade ago because they were indiscriminate and seldom included annotations. What we needed -- and still need -- are a few collections of a (relatively) few carefully selected germane Web sites with the reasons given for their inclusion. And this discriminating and well thought out guide is the best one I've seen yet. It's intended mostly for the professional information broker or commercial researcher-for-hire, but librarians in any large public or academic library system do much the same sort of thing and will profit enormously by reading it. After an excellent introduction to the principles of online research, it's divided into topical sections: government resources, public records, news sites, business tools, and international (i.e., non-U.S.) research. Then there are several sections on managing and filtering what you find, how to evaluate its credibility and utility, and privacy concerns. Schlein spends considerable time on fee-based and "hidden" resources, too, not just the freebies on the public Web. Some of the sites he recommends I was already aware of, but there are many others I hadn't run across before. And I have been recommending his advice on search strategies and information massaging to my colleagues. There are a couple of annoying things about this otherwise superior book, however. One is the need for much, much tighter copyediting -- like saying "the software can be moderated" when they meant "modified," and the sometimes eccentric punctuation, and the tendency to break Web addresses in peculiar places (letting only the last character of ".html" fall to the next line gives you a quite different address). The other annoyance is a tendency by the author to laud (frequently) any book published by his editors, associates, or advisors -- so much so that it becomes embarrassing. But given the high quality of the book's actual content, I suppose I can live with that.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Perl Cookbook, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Tom Christiansen, Nathan Torkington
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Must have

Already having considerable experience as a professional programmer mostly from system level software, I started out my new job as a database programmer with little to no previous hands-on Perl experience at a company unit where Perl was the commonly used tool for various data collecting and manipulation tasks, which compelled me to learn Perl very rapidly. After digesting the Perl syntax from "Programming Perl", I picked up this book and was instantly able to code a reporting utility by referencing this book whenever I encountered a problem I didn't know the Perl solution for, such as smart ways for processing user input or even rounding floating point numbers.
Eventually I've read this book a few times from cover to cover and learned various common practices that I repeatedly, and successfully, apply in my day-to-day programming tasks, and some of the stuff in this book is even applicable to various other environments.
A recommended read for people who prefer to learn Perl by doing, and you just might add some tricks up your sleeve even if Perl isn't your primary interest.