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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Approach
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies
Authors: Roger S. Pressman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An indispensable reference.

An industry standard that no software professional can claim to be well-read without.
I was pleased to see (finally) the addition of two chapters on Formal Methods in Software Engineering. This was an unfortunate omission in the third edition that is now corrected.
The price is a bit overinflated, as with most texts on the subject.
Makes for an excellent companion, when compared and contrasted with other current industry texts.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Introduction to Web Application Development with IBM WebSphere Studio, An: IBM Certified Associate Developer (IBM Certification Study Guides)
Publisher: Mc Press
Authors: Gary Craig, Peter Jakab
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5

I bought this book for the certification, exam #285. Definitely incomplete. There is about 50% of the exam covered in this book.
Conclusion, use the redbooks on ibm web site, otherwise, work a lot with wsad, then you might pass the exam (beginners, forget about this book if you want to pass the exam).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Pearls (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Jon Bentley
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A course in how to think like an experienced programmer

The thirteen columns in this book appeared in the Communications of the ACM between 1983 and 1985. There can't be more than a couple of technical books on computing from that era that are still worth reading. Kernighan & Ritchie's book, "The C Programming Language", is one that springs to mind; this book is definitely another, and will probably outlast K&R as it has almost no ties to existing or past hardware or languages.
What Bentley does in each of these columns is take some part of the field of programming--something that every one of us will have run into at some point in our work--and dig underneath it to reveal the part of the problem that is permanent; that doesn't change from language to language. The first two parts cover problem definition, algorithms, data structures, program verification, and efficiency (performance, code tuning, space tuning); the third part applies the lessons to example pseudocode, looking at sorting, searching, heaps, and an example spellchecker.
Bentley writes clearly and enthusiastically, and the columns are a pleasure to read. But the reason so many people love this book is not for the style, it's for the substance--you can't read this book and not come away a better programmer. Inefficiency, clumsiness, inelegance and obscurity will offend you just a little more after you've read it.
It's hard to pick a favourite piece, but here's one nice example from the algorithm design column that shows how little the speed of your Pentium matters if you don't know what you're doing. Bentley presents a particular problem (the details don't matter) and multiple different ways to solve it, calculating the relationship between problem size and run time for each algorithm. He gives, among others, a cubic algorithm (run time equal to a constant, C, times the cube of the problem size, N--i.e. t ~ CN^3), and a linear algorithm with constant K (t ~ KN). He then implemented them both: the former in fine-tuned FORTRAN on a Cray-1 supercomputer; the latter in BASIC on a Radio Shack TRS-80. The constant factors were as different as they could be, but with increasing problem size the TRS-80 eventually has to catch up--and it does. He gives a table showing the results: for a problem size of 1000, the Cray takes three seconds to the TRS-80's 20 seconds; but for a problem size of 1,000,000, the TRS-80 takes five and a half hours, whereas the Cray would take 95 years.
The book is informative, entertaining, and will painlessly make you a better programmer. What more can you ask?

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sonet/SDH Third Edition
Publisher: Osborne/McGraw-Hill
Authors: Walter Goralski
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An accurate, well-aimed work

As an author of technical books myself, I am always looking for titles that tell the story of a particular technology in a comprehensive, clearly-written and standards-oriented fashion. Walter Goralski's books do this and do it well. I own all of his titles, and the reason I like them (besides the author's sense of humor) is the fact that they are written around the standards that govern the telecommunications industry. Many companies interpret the standards and the terminology in different ways, which is fine - that's how they are designed. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to differences of opinion about meanings or interpretations. Walter sticks to the standards, however, always ensuring the availability of a literary technological benchmark.
I strongly recommend the book.