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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mac OS X All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Mark L. Chambers, Erick Tejkowski, Michael L. Williams, Mark L. Chambers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Gotta have this one

This book is perfect for every Mac owner who wants guidance with the Mac's Jaguar OS. The authors keep things light, even entertaining and there's nothing missing. Check out the index pages and you'll see what I mean.
Make sure you try out the tips, they're the best part of the book!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Crystal Reports 8.5: The Complete Reference
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: George Peck, George Peck
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Not so great

As a beginner, I have found this book to be very useful and it quickly has gotten me to the point that I need to be at. I can't confirm or deny that this is a complete reference, but I will say that if you're not comfortable with using Crystal Reports, at least start with this book more than any others. This is the one that actually gets your feel wet. As it does walk you through many basic things, it should probably have more of a beginner's title, or a tutorial title - The Complete Crystal Reports Learning Reference, something to that effect.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Elementary Statistics Using Excel, Second Edition
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Mario F. Triola
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Terrible book

This book is a farce! This book is terrible! The author doesn't go straight to the point when presenting his information, and the excersices he presents doesn't match the examples he provides(and the examples are far too few and his words are puff with little relevent content). I guess he wants the institution or individual to purchase the separate 'Solutions Manual' so he'll get bigger profits.
Maybe if you're an engineering student, this book will be a piece of cake since you already have a strong math background. But if you have to endure this book, make sure that your instructor knows how to teach, you know - really decipher the information and make it very deliverable to you as a student. If your instructor doesn't know how to do this and tries to teach it to you as if you had a degree in engineering, just withdraw from the class....you're instructor is a egotistical farce as well..
What ever happened to teachers who REALLY want to teach?
If you want to learn statistics on your own, buy the book "Statistics for the Utterly Confused" by Lloyd Jaisingh, Ph.D. He delivers the content fairly well. Also, go to tutoring if your campus provides it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers' Guide, Second Edition
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf
Authors: Dave Thomas, Chad Fowler, Andy Hunt
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Do I really have to learn _another_ programming language :-)

If you are like me, a busy programmer, I know you are wondering when you hear about Ruby, "Do I really have to learn yet another programming language?" I mean, Java, C#, Python? When will it ever end?

Well, it ends when you die, and yes, you do have to learn another programming language :-) But you'll like Ruby, I promise. Things I like about Ruby:

0. As easy to write scripts in as Perl, but it really scales.

1. Exceedingly self-consistent. Ruby has fewer syntactic warts than any programming language I'm familier with. All the features hang together very nicely.

2. Duck Typing: If you use a variable like a string, its a string. If you use it like a float, its a float. If you are familier with Haskell or or similarly typed languages, you get the idea. Ruby gives you about 80% of what Haskell gives you here.

3. Nice module system. This implements a nice mix-in facility--which gives you the power of C++ templates, with more structure. Also eliminates the need for multiple inheritance.

4. Wacky features like call/cc for the true language freaks.

Oh, so you wnat to know about the book too? Well, I agree with some of the reviewers here who describe the book as less of a tutorial/visionary screed/inspiring gospel and more of a reference manual. But I don't think this is a fair critique of the book. Back in the 60's, before the internet, a language needed a book to do for it what K&R did for C, or what Clocksin & Mellish did for prolog.

But today, you learn about a language by surfing the web. Instead of just duplicating what is available on the internet, this book complements the web, by supplying in a nice portable package what you need to know about Ruby which _can't_ be (easily) gotten from the web. Its a "post-internet" volume in this fashion.

Really the only critique of the book I can offer is that its description of Ruby/TK, the default GUI programming library for Ruby, is a bit abrieviated. It gives you the basics and the refers you a book about Perl/TK for the details. Please guys, in the next edition expand on this!

Ruby is a language which is as object-oriented as smallTalk, as flexible as Scheme, has the scriptibility of Perl, and a nice C-ish syntax. What's not to like? This book is the book to buy if you decide to learn Ruby.