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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Murach's Beginning Visual Basic .NET
Publisher: Mike Murach & Associates
Authors: Anne Prince
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent for Newcomers and Students

The aim of this book is to explain VB.NET to newcomers and developers that have used other programming languages.The first two chapters cover the absolute basics of .NET and VB.NET. The next five chapters explain VB.NET programming using lots of screenshots of the new Microsoft IDE. In a few cases the author repeated the same text on different pages but this may be intentional to reinforce the concepts.The author explains all the steps to get your first application developed and running. We liked the way the pages are organised with lots of screenshots to explain the necessary tasks. Learning to program can be a daunting task for any newcomer; hence this book is an excellent learning resource. There are 18 example applications and even the first application is not just a simple Hello World program, so the reader will learn a great deal whilst they progress through the book.The database section of the book is very good and covers most of the database related tasks that would be required in real life projects. The last section briefly covers web forms and web services. This moves more into the realm of ASP.NET but it provides a good insight.
As an educational tool for readers new to programming, it is very good but programming veterans will find this book slow in places. If you are a VB developer and want to learn VB.NET, this book may be too basic for you, however it is excellent for starters. We can see how this book would be useful to college/university students learning programming for the first time.
We would thoroughly recommend this book to people interested in learning to program.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Optimizing Oracle Performance
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Cary Millsap
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

Even after correctly identifying the performance problem root causes based on 1) knowledge of how Oracle really works and 2) *some* supporting data, you are likely to encounter the following armchair-expert assertions:
1) "Everybody knows databases are I/O bound - getting the RAID device reconfigured to 0+1 from 5 is guaranteed to resolve this!"
2) "This thing needs more iron! There's nothing here that another 6 CPUs can't handle."
3) "All we need to do is spend 6 hours each night re-computing statistics."
4) "I'll just keep reorging the tables weekly."
And I heard all of those in just one project (the two order of magnitude improvement solution: changing the optimizer mode)! The challenge is often convincing a client - who has his own opinions and does not know you very well yet - that your inexpensive proposal is the best answer. This book give solid instructions for quantitative response-time attribution (e.g. the ability to say, "Even if you purchased the fastest SAN on earth, response time for this process would not improve by more than 6%.").
My only *initial* disappointments were 1) the time spent promoting www.hotsos.com and 2) the small number of scripts available to be downloaded. After finishing this work, I don't begrudge the authors one bit; they gave us insight into the foundation of their business and provided more than enough tips to arm you - the performance tuner - without requiring software purchases. The output of tkprof (starting in 9i) is adequate for employing the extraordinary "Method R."
We've all used the well-known rules-of-thumb and seen how getting hit ratios up to "recommended" levels accomplishes nothing. This book is *liberating* in the Shawshank Redemption sense of the word.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C Interfaces and Implementations : Techniques for Creating Reusable Software (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: David R. Hanson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
By far the most advanced C book I read

I have been a C and C++ programmer for 5 years, and is regarded as an professional C and C++ programmer. After scanning this book, I think I should re-estimate my C skill.
In one word, this book is the most advanced C book I've read, it presents lots of wonderful techniques and ideas, and more, all the things are very useful. For examples:
* Use standard C's setjmp/longjmp to implement WIn32 SEH-like exception handling machanism.
* Very detailed and smart memory management solution.
* All the data structures and utilities in well-defined, reusable format: atoms, tables, sets, vectors(dynamic arrays), rings, strings, arithmetric with any precisions, thread library... everything you need to build a whole new system.
I'd say that once you master each of those things (this means read and re-read until understanding occur, as Fransis Glassborow said ), you will be an outstanding programmer in any circumstance, and can be full of confidence to accept any programming challenge.
The only thing I complain is about the source code. The source code presenting style in this book is relative strange and difficult to catch. I tried to type the code into my PC, and found it's a unpleasent work. Fortunately, the all source can be download from the book's web page, so, I still gave 5 stars.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Dreamweaver MX: The Missing Manual
Publisher: Pogue Press
Authors: David McFarland
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
as good as it gets for the developer

I am a developer that is usually annoyed by those visual books that assume that the reader will get a heart attack at the first sight of the code. This book was good to present most of the concepts in developer-friendly manner. And even if you skip a chapter on animation (because it's for "creative" types) or on databases (because it's "for dummies") you are still left with a solid book on how to develop, maintain, and administer your site using a developer-friendly environment.