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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing E-Learning
Publisher: ASTD
Authors: Saul Carliner
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Outstanding roadmap for departments moving to e-learning

It's been difficult to find a clear and thorough guide to recommend to clients and students who are working to move their corporate training areas to e-learning. This is an outstanding step-by-step guide written in a clear and accessible style. Even if you have never approached an e-learning project, you will learn where to start, what to consider, and how to proceed from beginning to end. Start with this one! I highly recommend it to my clients and students.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Robin Williams Design Workshop
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Robin Williams, John Tollett
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

Basic design and typographic principles are taught in a title which is illustrated with hundreds of design examples and which clearly remarks on how designs may be effective or ineffective. From assessing before-and-after examples to considering different designs for business cards, advertising and web sites, Design Workshop provides a well-rounded foundation for beginners.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Rational Unified Process: An Introduction, Third Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Philippe Kruchten
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

First of all, please let me clarify something. In another review of mine (for the book "The Rational Unified Process Made Easy" of Kroll & Kruchten) I mentioned that there are 3 books on the RUP. Well, this might have been true in August of 2003, but it is not anymore: There are 3 more books on the RUP out there, namely:- "Adopting the Rational Unified Process"- "Software Development for Small Teams"- "Practical Software Engineering" (.NET-oriented)
To be frank, I found the "Made Easy" book to a be a bit more fun than this one. Probably, because this book is more descriptive, whereas the "Made Easy" one is more normative. Having said that, I feel this book is the definitive book to have if you are working with the RUP, and a heck of a useful book to read even if you're not. Especially now that everything Rational has gained more leverage (because of the acquisition of Rational Software by IBM that gives RUP an arguably more powerful marketing mechanism and exposure, let alone its plausible gradual integration into the methodologies used by the 150,000-people-strong IBM Global Services organization), this book becomes even more relevant.
There is a foreword by Grady Booch (one of the 3 amigos) that goes though a can-never-remember-how-many thousand mile view of the whole landscape, followed by a chapter by the author, who briefly goes through all the nice concepts (iterative development, architecture, etc.) that permeate the RUP. There is also a brief history of the RUP in this chapter that I found quite illuminating. I always like to know the historal context; it usually helps explain the rationale behind ideas and constructs.
The next chapter, entitled "Static Structure", discusses the constituent concepts of the RUP, namely role, activity, artifact, workflow, discipline, deliberately ignoring for the moment the temporal dimension (for the most part). It is chapter 4, "Dynamic Structure", where the core concept of iterative development is expounded, and the expected contrast with the traditional waterfall is made (hence explaining the rationale for coming up with the perhaps-not-intuitive-at-first-glance idea of iterative development). Phases and milestones are explained.
If there are three pillars of the RUP, these are (i) iterative development, (ii) executable architecture, and (iii) use-case driven development. Hence, it comes to no surprise that the next two chapters deal with architecture and use cases. In chapter 5 a mention is made, among other things, to the author's important work on the 4+1 Views of Architecture that underlies the RUP. Chapter 6 is a condensed discussion of the role and merit of use cases in a software development process in general, and RUP in particular.
This concludes Part I of the book. Part II consists of 9 chapters, one for each RUP so-called discipline (Project Management, Business Modeling, Requirements, Analysis and Design, Implementation, Test, Configuration, Environment, Deployment). The "Made Easy" book follows a similar pattern, with the difference, congruent with I've already mentioned above, that this book tends to treat the Disciplines in a descriptive rather than normative manner.
There is a pretty good "Summary of Roles" appendix at the end, and I liked the Glossary too, as the definitions contained therein are very precise but at the same time very comprehensible too. Finally, there is a rich annotated bibliography section, which, if you're at all like me, you'll find rather useful (There's also a poster of the RUP at the back if you're into that sort of thing).
All in all, I haven't at all regretted the 38.50 and the time I've spent reading the book; and imagine that I was familiar with this stuff already. If this happens to be the first book you read on RUP (as it should normally be) then the benefit for you will be even greater.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Linux Programming (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Richard Stones, Neil Matthew, Alan Cox
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Nice One Guys!

What can I say this book is good.
Even if you are a novice C or C++ programmer, or just looking for more in depth information on GNU/Linux or Unix systems you would be hard pressed to go past this book.
The book covers a myriad of topics from bash shell script programming to X and GTK topics, HTML and CGI scripts!
It does it in an easy to read style, with good examples that will let you find out whats going on and then allow you to work them into your own programs and code with minimum fuss.
There is even, in chapter 21, an introduction into kernel module development and device drivers for GNU/Linux that goes a long way towards de-mystiying this (to me) mysterious topic.
In all of the topics there is an explantion of common pitfalls that occur, and even better good sensible ways of avoiding them or overcoming them.
Do yourself a favour if you are just beginning C or C++ programming in the GNU/Linux or Unix enviroments get this book, it will make your life much much easier!