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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Andre Lamothe
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Best Book Around

Overall I'm pretty happy with this book with two major exceptions. 1) Before it's release it was described as a book on 2d/3d techniques. Only problem is that all the 3d stuff is on CD. Now were told that the "real" 3d stuff will be in Volume 2. Volume 2?!?! If that was the original intent then why wasn't this pointed out in the synopsis? I probably would have waited for Vol2 rather than order this rehash of Windows Game Programming for Dummies. 2) This is related to #1 and is what ultimately caused me to rate this book 3 stars rather than 4. Three of the online chapters don't load! Maybe it's just me, but I can not load Chapters 1 and 7 in the General 3d online book or Chapter 3 in the Direct 3d online book. I get messages for all 3 saying that the document name/path is not valid! Give me a break! If you're going to pull a fast one and throw promised chapters on a CD rather than in the book, make damn sure the CD works! Anyone else have this problem?
My final conclusion is that IS a good book. I'm just a bit jaded by the misleading sysnopsis that was originally presented on Amazon and the CD problems.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Little SAS Book: A Primer, Third Edition
Publisher: SAS Publishing
Authors: Lora D. Delwiche, Susan J. Slaughter
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not enough beef

This book helped me get started writing simple SAS programs, but I was soon in need of a more extensive language reference book in order to accomplish anything slightly different than the samples included in the book. The book's value would have been greatly enhanced by the inclusion of appendicies of SAS functions, etc. I was also left wondering what SAS offers beyond the basic level. A list of advanced features with some brief explanation of utility would have been helpful.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional Software Development: Shorter Schedules, Higher Quality Products, More Successful Projects, Enhanced Careers
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Steve McConnell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Software professionals - READ THIS BOOK!!!

I've been in software development for way too long, but books like this make me glad I'm part of the profession now. Steve McConnell has revised a few chapters in "After the Gold Rush: Toward a Profession of Software Engineering" and added some new essays. The result is even better than ATGR was three years ago when I read it. Steve gave a talk at the SEPG Conference in Seattle and captivated us with a keynote that showed even then that he was ahead of the curve. There are numerous reasons Steve is an editor for IEEE Software, and many of them show here.
There are questions about where our profession is going, and quite a few people with differing opinions. No one is talking about what we need to do as clearly as Steve has done in this book. We all need to buy a copy and read it. We should give copies to colleagues and project managers, and start asking what we can do to make things different in the future. Give a copy to the head of the computer science department of your local colleges and universities, and ask when they are starting a software engineering program like the one at RIT. If you live in Texas or Canada, find out about getting your professional license.
I work in an organization that was assessed at CMM Level 3 back in December. I work on the SEPG and help us improve the way we do all our work, project management as well as software developmetn. It wasn't until after our assessment was over that I realized much of our software process improvement in the past five years was focused mostly on project management. Knowing this has changed how I approach my job, and brought me back in focus on what I need to working on. Steve's book gave me some great ideas, and I hope to find a way to make many of them happen where I work.
You should do the same where you work, whether it is you by yourself or you and 35,000 colleagues all around the world. Change won't happen if we don't do something about this together. This is our future we're talking about, and now we have a few ideas about what we can do to make it different.
You need to know. Get this book to find out where to start.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Classical Electrodynamics
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John David Jackson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
If only one has the background

I used Jackson for my graduate level advanced electrodynamics class. I was befuddled the first semester but made a good grade. Between the first and second semesters I had to study for and take the qualifiers. I used Jeans and Smythe's Static and Dynamic Electricity and found these to be excellent though difficult texts. As a corollary I also re-studied the required mathematics. Now I understood where Jackson was coming from! I was able to not only solve all the problems in the electostatics and Maxwell equations sections of Jackson but also my studies from Smythe and Jeans covered much of the second semester of Jackson also. When I took the second semester I was able to breeze through solving the problems and taking the tests to such an extent that my professors, who had trouble with the problems, wondered what had happened. It did not hurt that a close friend and I had recently built a radio telescope array in the hills of Tennessee during vacation thereby obtaining a nearly irreproducible knowledge of antenna theory. In my opinion, Jackson is mostly a guideline for studying electrodynamics. Once the student has the background Jackson is both fun and enlightening. Therein lies the difficulty. I have noticed that many libraries have "put up" or gotten rid of their Jeans and Smythes and other classical texts. The new books are not really a substitute. Since many professors did not really learn electrodynamics that well themselves, this make it truly difficult to obtain a really great grounding in the subject. I did not truly understand the difference until I was doing a lot of computational electrodynamics years later. Regardless of how one goes about it, somehow the student must get the required background before really using Jackson in any meaningful fashion. Current education in physics has made this more not less difficult.