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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Martin Fowler, Kent Beck, John Brant, William Opdyke, Don Roberts
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
A beginner book

First of all, this book is good to understand the meaning of refactoring and its techniques. If you are a beginner programmer, the book is quite helpful to know how to do refactoring, and why and when to do it.
However, the problem is the book is a "book". Many programmers may feel familiar with stories and techniques in the book. The techniques in the book, though, are not exceptional, unfortunately. For example, the book explains how to make a temporary variable or how to eliminate it for a couple of pages! This kind of thing is a common work for programmers. Many don't have to learn that.
One of problems of refactoring for experienced programmers is that refactoring means not add features but "change" existing code. Although giving benefits, refactoring gives some problem. For example, when working as team, it is hard to even change the name of method because the change often causes conflict among sourcecode. The book doesn't give any solution of this problem.
In conclusion, I don't recommend this book for experienced programmers.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Embedded Linux: Hardware, Software, and Interfacing
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Craig Hollabaugh
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Slightly Out of Date but still well worth the purchase

As of 4/2004, the book relies on a free distribution of Hard Hat linux that is no longer available on Montavista's site (as they charge $25K for a single seat, I guess they felt they were giving too much away ;-) HOWEVER: Hollanaugh has copies of them with all of his scripts on his site, so look for them there. His scripts are also now modified to point to the new locations. Though even this distribution is somewhat out of date, this book does a pretty reasonable job of getting you through it all. I found finding free (useful, current) distributions of embedded linux very hard to find but eventually did.. Check out www.denx.de and store.yahoo.com/snapgear/snemlidi.html for current multiplatform distributions. The denx distribution ELDK appears to have morphed from the original Hard Hat distibution as many of the utilities still exist, I used this and was able to "generally" follow along. It's a more recent distribution and supports more platforms (at least for the PPC). I would definately repurchase this book again.. His site is:http://www.embeddedlinuxinterfacing.com/overview.shtml

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Starter Kit for the IBM iSeries and AS/400
Publisher: 29th Street Press
Authors: Gary Guthrie, Wayne Madden
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
AS/400 veteran reviews Starter Kit

I've worked with Midrange systems for over 25 years and I can tell you this is not a good book, it's a great book. If you're an iSeries or AS/400 administrator, you need this book. If you're a programmer on the iSeries, you need this book. If you're studying to prepare for IBM Certification as an AS/400 System Administrator, you need this book.
The Starter Kit covers everything you're likely to need including messaging, CL, Backup and Recovery strategy, general system administration, security, work management, database concepts and much more.
The code samples alone are worth many times the price of the book and the authors not only understand the system, they explain it with a sense of humor. This book is a bargain.
Jeff Gunter

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Excel 2000 Formulas
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John Walkenbach
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
If you use Excel, buy this book

I already had a reputation at work as the Excel Wizard, so I was a little cautious about investing in a 'how-to' book on the subject. I have to say though, that Excel 2000 Formulas is worth every last cent and more. Even skimming through the early chapters, where I doubted I would find anything new, I chanced upon several easy tips I'd not known before.
Excel 2000 Formulas is arranged in a simple-to-reference way and the page layout is excellent, giving easy-on-the-eye icon notes, references and tips. Even so, I quickly found myself grabbing a colored highlighter to pick out the bits that were important to me. The author also has a flowing style of writing so you don't feel you're working through a manual, It's more like a fun day out, with new discoveries on every page.
Particulary interesting and useful was John Walkenbach's section on creating megaformulas. Though I was already familiar with the concept, and have used it to good effect at work, I found Walkenbach's methods even more concise and precise. In no time at all, you're building a relatively simple 229 character formula that does the work of 51 intermediary formulas. Not only is this more efficient and streamlined, it saves space in the workbook, thus making calculation quicker and more effective. Also of great value was the section on debugging formulas.
VBA had always remained something of a mystery to me (excluding elementary macros) until I got stuck into 'Excel 2000'. Now (with a bit of prompting from John Walkenbach) I'm really getting the hang of it, and finding, again, that I can streamline my workbooks and impress my colleagues. I've already bought 'Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA' by the same author, and look forward to improving my skills in this area.
If ever there was a technical book that deserves more than five stars, this is it. If you need to improve your Excel skills, there's no other book you should consider - Excel 2000 Formulas has it all.