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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Andrew Hunt, David Thomas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Priceless


I've had this book for a number of years now and skim it regularly. I've recommended it to starting and would-be programmers as well as hoary old "I remember punch-card" war horses. I often wish there were more books in this same vein.
The only downside that I could note is that the authors often refer to their own preferred languages & scripts, which both dates the product a little (more so with each passing year), and is also not so useful to those working in different environments or who have their own strong preferences.
However, the nuggets of wisdom and common-sense analogies in this book are golden. If you're like me, you'll often find yourself nodding along with the book while reading a passage that describes something you've experienced or espoused first hand and grimacing when it points out a trick you wish you had thought of when working on some past project.
This book really doesnt have much to do with _programming_ but is really more about _being a programmer_. It's sort of like a self-help for proggies, a mentor-in-a-book. The book's subtitle is "From Journeyman to Master", and this jives with the idea of the things in the book being the sort of Guild-lore a Master Craftsman might pass on to his favored Journeymen prior to retiring back in the days of yore.
I've been a professional developer now for 6 years, self taught and continuously employed at several companies during that time. This book appealed to me when I picked it up because it is true-to-life, and several of the real-world considerations mentioned jived with my own experiences. The ideas and practices that I already had were crystalized and refined by this book, and it also introduced me to ways of thinking that I had not considered.
Perhaps the most significant single line in the book for me is on page 255, "A project that falls below expectations is deemed a failure, no matter how good the deliverable in absolute terms". This struck home because I was once involved in a major project involving multiple programmers from multiple locations around the States, which met every design specification and delivered exactly what was promised, but which was mothballed after its completion because the management didnt understand it. Their expectation was something other than the specification which they had approved and thus we harried developers wasted the better part of a year on a system doomed to failure not because it didn't work or was a bad idea, but because the head honchos just didnt get it. I never understood why until I read that line in this book, and then it all came clear -- their expectations were not in line with the deliverable, and thus they did not want the deliverable despite the fact that it functioned exactly as planned.
Since then I've made it a point to personally do all that I can to ensure that the consumers of projects I'm involved with are "on the same sheet of music" when it comes to understanding what all the tech-speak and specifications actually MEAN. Prototyping and "Tracers" as described in this book have been used to provide mockups before any real code has been written. Documents couched in "Laymans Terms" have been produced. Sometimes it's overkill, but at the end of the projects no consumer comes back saying "thats not what I thought it was going to be". Some Project Managers dont like it, as they feel like it's stepping on their toes, but in the end no Project Manager will complain if the Project is successful -- they get to look good for a while, so kibitzing over the means isn't a priority ;) .
All that aside, if you are a working developer with a grounded approach to programming, and dont have the conceit that you already know everything, I think you should give this book a read thru.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MicroC OS II: The Real Time Kernel (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: CMP Books
Authors: Jean J. Labrosse
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent


This is a very valuable book and the RTOS it comes with might be all you ever need. We are using it in an unmanned aerial vehicle project. Knowing what every line of code in the OS is doing is a big advantage for us because of certification issues. We're also not wasting performance on features we don't need. Check it out. It might be the only RTOS you'll ever need.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Official Final Fantasy VII Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
It's good?


It's got everything you need, except it doesn't include some stuff on chocobos and limit breaks, and it also has a lot of f**k ups in it. They leave out alot about morphing and stealing from enemies, too. But if you want to just get throught the game get the book i guess, but its much funner to explore on your own. If you want to totally master the game i'd say this will only take you so far..so...



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Digital Photography All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: David D. Busch
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Just what I needed. It's all in there!


As an advanced film photographer, I've had my eye on the recent advances in digital photography for quite some time, and this book will help anyone, experienced or beginner grasp a good thorough understanding of what digital photography encompasses. This writing does not go into the specifics of all the digital cameras in today's market, there are plenty of equipment review sites online to handle that task. Instead, the book provides excellent material regarding how digital cameras work; what components are common and present in the various models; how to match a camera to your particular shooting requirements; the "similarities" and the "differences" between digital photography and traditional film-based photography. It further gives a good basic understanding of photography fundamentals which apply to picture taking in any medium. There are some excellent Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements image editing lessons included.
This is BEST digital photography book I have read and I have purchased over 10 different books on the subject. It is comprehensive and covers not only digital photography but also the principles of photography in general. It is complete! I am totally impressed by this book. I could ramble on, but let me just summarize and say that if you are serious about digital photography and/or are interested in making the transition from film to digital photography or just want to get the very best results from your digital equipment, this book should greatly help you achieve your goals.