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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Coder to Developer: Tools and Strategies for Delivering Your Software
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Mike Gunderloy, Sybex
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Required reading for software developers

I purchased this book prior to it being available, based on articles and newsletters that I had read by the author. I eagerly awaited its release and delivery to my doorstep. Upon receiving the book, my initial reaction was one of skepticism and worry. I have MANY other computer books that don't claim to cover nearly as much ground, and yet, are much longer. Knowing the level of Mike's work (from articles and newsletters), I kept an open mind and started reading. After 3 days of reading and digesting the information in the book, I must say that it is one of the best computer books I have ever read (and one of the very few that I have read cover-to-cover, and not only cover-to-cover, but cover-to-cover to the exclusion of all else). After reading the first couple of chapters, I decided to put aside the software application that I was working on, and read the entire book. I will now go back to the start of my application and apply the lessons from the book to the project. I don't feel that I have "lost" the time working on the software project, because I think that what I learned in the book will more than pay for itself in saved time during development.
This book is not a "how-to" book, but rather a "what-to" book. That is, there are very few "step by step" examples for a given task (such as unit testing), but rather, an entire collection of tasks that any coder/developer should not only know, but practice regularly. However, the entire book itself can be viewed as a step-by-step guide to software development from start to finish.
While much of the book seems to be "common sense" as you read through it, I found at least 1 thing that I didn't know or hadn't considered in every chapter. In many respects, not only can this book be used to get a handle on what needs to be done, but it can also be used as a task list for software development projects.
This book, for me, will be used time and again as a "blueprint" for creating software. The structure and organization of the book make it an excellent "task list" for creating good software from start to finish. Using the book, a person can start in the "Planning" phase of the application and move step-by-step through to the "Delivery" phase.
Even though the focus is on the single developer or small development team, the majority of the lessons can be applied in any project, however large. For example, the majority of the book could be applied to the development of a single object in a large scale project.
I am sure there will be readers who bought this book expecting it to tell them how to do everything in a 123 manner, that they would ever need to do in order to be a successful software developer, that will give this book a bad rating. Those people, however, should seriously consider how large that book would be. For every chapter in the book there are many books that are devoted specifically to that very topic. I think that this is actually the strength of this book, it doesn't try to tell you how to do every task (such as unit testing), but rather informs you about what tasks you need to do, why you need to do them, some of the tools that can be used for the task, and where to find resources related to the task. Mike also gives a brief (but informative) review of several of the tools that pertain to a particular task.
Even if the book itself was not worth the money (which it definitely is), the list of tools and links to resources is an incredible time saver.
This book should be REQUIRED READING in every CIS/CS/IT/IS university/college program. I will be asking my manager to purchase a copy for each of the developers in our team.
I would suggest that anyone who is developing software or writing code, order this book, and then take the time to read it thoroughly as soon as you get it, and then go back to your current project. You will NOT be disappointed.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Oracle9i UNIX Administration Handbook
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Donald K. Burleson
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Unfortunately, not a book that I can recommend.

Where's the 9i??? With this book having a copyright of 2002, I would've thought that the material would be more up to date. Most of the material is 8i and even 8. If you are hoping to gain insight into 9i and UNIX...don't waste your money on this book!!!!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Photoshop Restoration & Retouching, Second Edition
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Katrin Eismann, Doug Nelson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Must have book

Wow, this is my second edition book from Katrin Eisman, the first was great, and so is this. I could not put it down, I sat by the computer and worked along with her doing retouching and restoration from the book. I can not find another book that is even close to this one, this is a must for photographers that use photoshop. I call this my "Photoshop Bible" Very easy to use, you can go along with her and work on the same photos that are in the book, just have to download them from her web site. Again, don't pass this one up.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Authors: Michael Dell, Catherine Fredman
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Interesting book, but there isnt something dramatically new

Michael is no doubt an outstanding businessman, who being a college dropout became one of the richest people in the world. However I didnt like the style of his book. At times he's boasting and also presents obvious things as "revolutionary". This direct model has been around for thousands of years, big deal.Other people who really invented something and made a huge difference never boast in their books. Nonetheless it was interesting to follow the rise of Dell Computer and various problems faced by fast-growing and big companies. "The secrets" that Michael presents in his book are quite obvious, you dont have to be a genius to derive these rules if you are in big business. However, very very few people become big entrepreneurs, and Michael doesnt tell you whether it's sheer luck or there are some real secrets.