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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design, Second Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Michael J. Hernandez
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent for nontechnical users

A very well done text that avoids a lot of the mathematical jargon in the field. No set theory. No predicate calculus. This book is about the logical design of databases for someone who has never done that before. The tasks here are independent of any actual SQL software, and you do not need to know any SQL either.
This is ostensibly a computer book. But interestingly enough, you do not need a computer to do anything it describes. From an object-oriented view, if that is your background, the author has done a skilful job of separating the design methodology from any software implementation or environment.
It is also useful if you are not from a computing background, but you need to know what your technical coworkers, subordinates or the people in the department next door do when they maintain databases. Ok. The author does not discuss issues like transaction processing. But that is off-topic. Here, with a few hours reading, you can get the essence of database design.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential System Administration, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Æleen Frisch
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent for AIX system details.....

An excellent books for beginner Sys Admins. Chapters are arranged for easy reference and should be useful to any novice user having "root" authority:-)...

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach

This Pulitzer Prize winning book should be read by everyone, but with a few cautions. Don't expect to be able to understand the book thoroughly unless you are an expert in mathematical logic, classical music, and art. I recommend hiring a reputable consultant or tutor to translate the book into more brief, concise, and easily understood English (at least, approximately). Hofstadter does not believe in short summaries, at least in this book. See my review of Marshall and Zohar, who have a much briefer summary of Godel (2-3 pages, roughly), and once you read that book you can tackle Hoftstadter's explanation of Godel's proof. Most people also miss the point that Mathematical Logic is of remarkable importance for all areas of knowledge (that was Godel's field) - see my reviews of Hajek, Hodges, and others in this respect. Another point is that Bach, one of the greatest classical composers, was a mathematical genius, and music and mathematics often go together (see some of my classical music and country/popular music reviews).

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Building Portals With the Java Portlet API (Expert's Voice)
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Jeff Linwood, David Minter
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
A mock up of a book on portlets...

The Java portlet API is one of the less known and actively studied by developers due to the absence of a stable, well documented reference implementation. So a good book on the subjct would be sorely needed but this text is not up to the challenge. It is written by a couple geeks with clearly no inclination or talent for teaching who manage to express even the simplest concept in complicated ways. That maybe could be forgiven, but they also do not seem to have a really deep understanding of the subject. For all but the most general notions and , especially important, for all the configuration , intallation and deployment nuisances you are left on your own. We need a good book covering IN DETAIL pluto and especially Jetspeed 2. Don't waste you money with this mock up of a book, wait for a better title.