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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Oracle9i Performance Tuning Tips & Techniques
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Richard J. Niemiec
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Review by DB2 Expert

I picked up this book to review the world of Oracle tuning and I found it contained lots of useful information. Good examples of tuning Oracle on Solaris. Many similarities of tuning points between Oracle and DB2. I particularly liked Chapter 9 on optimization queries and workloads.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Expert One-on-One Visual Basic .NET Business Objects
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Rockford Lhotka
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Highly-recommended book

I'm an MCSD with about six years of development experience, mostly with web applications. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in developing a very scalable business application framework. I'm not yet done reading the entire book, but I already can't wait to implement these techniques when converting my company's existing huge ASP application to ASP.net. Many thanks to the author!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Authors: Al Ries, Laura Ries
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Give credit where credit is due

I do a little consulting in marketing & branding. I've got five other books on branding sitting on the shelf, & I've plowed through four.
I wouldn't say those other books were a waste of time, but I'm confident that this one has more immediately useful information than all of them taken together. And I'm stunned that it as easy read, not only informative but *fun*.
This edition is the one you want, as it combines the 22 laws with the other 11 that pertain very specifically to the Internet. By the time you get through the first few, you will find yourself looking at every brand -- on television, in the stores, on your own shelves -- in a whole new light. One of the prime models, coincidentally enough, is Amazon.com itself. The authors' comments on this very site will probably open your eyes to how remarkable the Bezos legacy has been.
I've barely finished, yet this book has already helped steer me better as to some website questions I had been studying. It's already paid for itself ten times over, & I am certain that the benefits have only begun. The simple, clear differentiation between a company name & a brand name has, by itself, been a unique lesson, & I've taken to heart the stern warnings (& wonderfully absurd object lessons) against line extensions & brand dilution.
Don't let the somewhat bizarre cover put you off (as it did me). This is one of the few books that I intend to re-read on a regular basis, & I will read more Reis titles in the near future.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Managed DirectX 9 Kick Start : Graphics and Game Programming
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Tom Miller
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Book

It's a bit difficult to compare this book with other MDX books since there are so few. Let me start with what this book does not do. It doesn't teach you to program (in C# or any other language, which isn't all that surprising given the title). I also don't think it is aimed at a beginner in 3D graphics - it doesn't cover any of the usual mathematical primers that I've come to expect as filler material in most graphics books (this book doesn't attempt to teach you to write a software rasterizer so it isn't really necessary and there are some very good books dedicated to the subject that do a much better job than a chapter or two stuck in front of a MDX book). It also doesn't try to teach you to write a commercial quality game - I'm not sure any book can do that (and "Kick Start" means exactly that). Lastly, it doesn't provide exhaustive coverage of DirectX.
So, what does this book provide then?
It provides a very concise treatment of the D3D part of MDX and fair coverage of the rest (enough to get you started). To get the most out of this book you should have a good knowledge of C#/.NET programming and a good idea of the fundamentals of 3D programming. It certainly wont hurt to have had some prior knowledge of the DirectX SDK and some idea of game programming.
In other words, this is an intermediate level book (says so on the back cover too) and provides exactly what it sets out to do and leaves the non-essential blanks to be filled in elsewhere.
Overall though, I give this book 5 stars for the following reasons:
1. Well written.2. The author knows what he is taking about (no great surprise there).3. Covers the topic well without the fluff.4. The samples work (hint: install the summer update).5. Priced well.