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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional JSP 2nd Edition
Publisher: Wrox Press
Authors: Simon Brown, Robert Burdick, Jayson Falkner, Ben Galbraith, Rod Johnson, Larry Kim, Casey Kochmer, Thor Kristmundsson, Sing Li
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Information overload

Explains one aproach then rejects it in favor of another then yet another. By the end you discover that you should have bought a book on Jakarta Struts if you want to develop real JSP sites because someone has already done lots of work for you.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core J2EE Patterns: Best Practices and Design Strategies
Publisher: Pearson Education
Authors: Deepak Alur, John Crupi, Dan Malks
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Well Organized & Written

If you are green or seasoned this book can server you well. If you are new at Java Enterprise and want to obtain a comfort level with the technology and how to use it properly this book can deliver. The book walks you through many of the configurations of technology you are likely to encounter in real life scenarios (e.g. n-teir enterprise, how to implement sessions with a container server, when to use Session and EJB's and in what configuration, etc.) It also details -- with easy to follow graphics, many of the common patters you do well to use such as Session Facade, Data Access Objects, etc.
But the real power comes in with the authors decision to bind patterns, anti-patterns, and troubleshooting tips all together. In the early parts of the book bad practices are detailed along with the suggested refactoring solution. You don't have to use their solutions but do make a compelling argument why not to use the bad practice -- which are more common than most think.
This book makes a very hand reference guide to a seasoned professional. Especially, when trying to explain concepts to less knowledgeable coworkers or managers. I highly recommend getting a copy.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Oracle8i: The Complete Reference (Book/CD-ROM Package)
Publisher: Osborne/McGraw-Hill
Authors: Kevin Loney, George Koch
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5

Of all the reference books for computer science subjects that I own, I have yet to find a book more poorly organized. Sure, there MIGHT be a lot of information in there, but if you can't find it, what good is it?
It is really a pitiful mess. My advice - Buy almost anything else about Oracle, leave this one to collect dust.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint
Publisher: Graphics Pr
Authors: Edward R. Tufte
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Lots of good counter-examples

I'm a big fan of Tufte's series of three well-known books on information display. I respect the man's opinions completely, and look to him for the best advice on connecting information to the human mind.

That's why this booklet (28pp, covers included) disappoints me - he just doesn't live up to his own standard. As he did with the Challenger space shuttle's disaster years ago, he uses this book to analyze the presentations that contributed to the loss of the Columbia shuttle and crew. In the Challenger case, he showed some of the mis- and dis-informative displays, and how they could have been converted to tools for making decisions. In the Columbia case, he only went half-way: what was wrong, not how to make it right.

The rest of the booklet follows the same pattern: what's wrong, with very few positive, definite suggestions for mitigating or circumventing the problems. His conclusion is that PowerPoint is hopelesly flawed, and I have to agree. That's just not enough, though. Given its dire failings, and given that its use is pervasive and sometimes compulsory, what specific steps can we as viewers and presenters take in order to transfer information anyway?

This is a great half of a book: the problem statement. His bad examples are wonderfully bad. Unfortunately, the missing second half is replaced by little more than one sentence on the inside back cover: "Well, I can recommend 3 books on how to present visual evidence!"

Please, Mr. Tufte. You can do better, you have done better, and your readers deserve better.