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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition with CD-ROM and Online Subscription
Publisher: Merriam-Webster
Authors: Merriam-Webster
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The New Standard for American Dictionaries


This edition of the M-W's Collegiate Dictionary sets a completely new high standard for American dictionaries and in fact -- for any reference book anywhere. This dictionary is everything that a good reference book should be -- self-contained, complete, easy-to-use, extremely well printed, and perfectly consistent. The abbreviations are not overused, the definitions are clear and exhaustive. Inflected forms and alternate spellings are easy to locate and identify. The usage and synonyms notes are of an enormous value for anyone who reads or writes English, and for me it clarified many meanings and different usages (i am not a native English speaker). Another great thing is that the editors treated the etimologies with due respect, so even though this dictionary is supposed to be "abridged", it is very complete. And the quality of printing is so wonderful, that i enjoy reading this dictionary just for fun.
Although it is called "Collegiate" it is useful to any person of any age and background, not just for college students. Needless to say, it never disappoints when i'm looking for words.
To put it short -- i don't have enough words of praise for this book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Head First Design Patterns
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Elisabeth Freeman, Eric Freeman, Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
First design patterns book that hasn't put me to sleep!


I think it's safe to say that this is the first design patters book I've read that hasn't immediately put me to sleep. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely believe in the concept of design patterns. It's just that most of the books that talk about them are so unbelievably dull, that it's hard to not to fall asleep. This book does an amazing job of discussing design patterns, but managed to talk about it in a way that actually made me want to continue reading.

The book starts off with probably the best explanation I have read about the difference between inheritance and interfaces, and why to use one over the other. The book proceeds to discuss such patterns as the Factory pattern, Singleton, the Command pattern, the Decorator pattern, the Observer pattern, and the Adaptor pattern to name a few.

Be warned, this book may not be for everyone. For example, if you're looking for a pattern reference book, you might want to avoid this one. If you're looking for a good tutorial so that you can learn patterns for the first time, then this is probably the book you want. Please also note that all examples are provided in Java, but it should be fairly straightforward to translate most of these into your target language.

The workbook style of this book as well as the informal writing make this an excellent book to use to learn what patterns are, how to use them, and why you should even care. I would highly recommend this book to someone falling into this category.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Unix Power Tools, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Shelley Powers, Tim O'Reilly, Mike Loukides
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A Good Big Book - but worth the hype?


A Good Big Book - but worth the hype?
The Unix Power Tools has already established a reputation of being a classic. The behemoth has no less that 1073 pages and goes accompanied by a CD with a lot of small shellscripts that are described in the book. The authors show a thorough understanding of the subject and are able to explain the ways of Unix in a casual talkative way. Much work is devoted to the layout and the text edition. For example, the crossreferences are well done, greyed out in readable italics. The publisher seems to understand the importance of easy readable text. Many of us know how a good book can be spoiled by hasty and bad editing, and it's a relief to see that O'Reilly takes this issue seriously. The text is divided into paragraphs of about 1/4 to 1 page in size. These paragraphs deal with the Unix commands, the shells, the history of unix or the included nifty shellscripts. One might think that the authors view Unix as a collection of structured trivia - a view I personally like. You won't read this book `cover to cover' (to use that awful cliche), but you'll start joyreading for that bit of advice or for that handy tool they've written. (For example: the thing that got me up the wall was that filenames can have empty spaces at the end, so it seems you cannot delete them. I should have known that one way earlier :^( ) Sometimes the authors write down some very casual paragraphs: a flame from usenet (Why NOT to use the C-shell for programming), the history of a command ( grep is: g from global, RE is regular expression, and the P stands for print, hence g/RE/P) or other fun to read items. It will not be the book you'll grab for serious studying or when the system goes down unexpectedly. The problems with big books are usually twofold and this one suffers rather badly from it. First of all it is written for the novice and expert alike - a concept that comes from a marketing and not from educational point of view. The authors repeat the man pages - did you know you can find files by name with the `find' command? And they go on for every Find option. The novice who didn't know about the find command will not try anything as fancy like to build a database with the filestructure in it in order to speed up his find command. Equally, experts won't like the basics explained. The second problem with big books is that lots of the presented material is not relevant to your need or situation. You haven't got the C-shell? Throw away a couple of pages. Don't like the chapter ` vi tips & tricks' , `Saving time at the commandline' or `creating custom commands in vi', then you can skip another 100 pages. Conclusion. Although lot's of information isn't relevant to your need, unix-implementation, shell or skill-level, this book is easy to read thanks to the good layout and small paragraphs. The authors truly have years of experience and have made many handy shellscripts. For those of you who want to like to master the commandline of Unix and like to skim for the golden hint, this book is a true find. But if you know what you want to learn then dedicated books present a better alternative to this somewhat unfocussed book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Right on the money for the A+ Exams


This book was the only one I used to prepare for the A+ exams, which I passed without problems. The book is well-organized and to the point and gave me just the topics I needed and just enough information on each for the tests. The icons focused my last minute studies and the cheat sheet was really helpful. I recommend this book to anyone preparing to take the A+ exams, experienced or not.