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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Agile Project Management with Scrum (Microsoft Professional)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Ken Schwaber
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Good general introduction to the concepts

The book was an easy read and provided a fair but light treatment of Scrum. The numerous examples provide a good illustration of some of the key concepts of the method and help in better understanding implementation issues and lessons learned. This being said, a complete understanding of Scrum requires additional reading above and beyond this book, and most importantly a good solid (if not many) attempt at applying it in the real world. For individuals interested in Scrum, I would also recommend a very active discussion group to which the book's author and many other Scrum aficionados contribute regularly: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scrumdevelopment/

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Oracle PL/SQL Programming, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Steven Feuerstein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Is your PL/SQL code manageable?

I just finished reading this book from cover to cover. Huuhh, with 900+ pages it certainly deserves to be called a PL/SQL bible. It's almost eight years since I purchased first edition of the Steven's PL/SQL Programming. Back then, you didn't have much of the choice, you either swallow official Oracle PL/SQL documentation (that I always found dry and tedious to read) or more likely order PL/SQL Programming from O'Reilly. The book, that was (and still is!) in the class of it's own (O'Reilly probably sold more copies of Steven's PL/SQL Programming than all other publishers of similar PL/SQL titles together). The organization of the book is even (slightly) better compared with the first and second edition. The writing style is as good as it was in previous two editions.What I liked the most is the fact that book covers all PL/SQL features, from Oracle 7.3 to 9.2 throughout the chapters in a way that doesn't feel like authors just "patched" previous edition of the book with some new chapters. This was the main reason that I decided that it's worthwhile to take some time and read third edition from cover to cover. The second good news is that they didn't overload the book with code examples, instead you can download all source code (printed or just mentioned in the book) from O'Reilly site. Strictly speaking this book is not the reference manual (fortunately; what's the point to mimic Oracle reference stuff anyway)! It's true that it covers all important aspects of PL/SQL and as such you'll want to have this book at hand when coding. Of course there will always be time when you'll need to check Oracle manuals for some true reference (syntax, built-in packages...).If your objective is not only to master PL/SQL language but also to learn how to write manageable code, then look no further. Thank you Steven!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Data Mining Techniques : For Marketing, Sales, and Customer Relationship Management
Publisher: *Wiley Computer Publishing
Authors: Michael J. A. Berry, Gordon S. Linoff
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An excellent conceptual description of an important topic.

When I started data mining (over 25 years ago)after graduating from MIT, neither the name nor the techniques existed. I had to develop both concepts and approaches that were then applied to situations as varied as evaulating the US SBA for the Federal Government to mapping the market for and product requirements of ATM machines for a Fortune 500 to developing a strategy to export shoes (leading to a tripling of industry exports) for the Commerce Dept. to predicting the lodging demand in Orlando, FL during the gas crisis for a series of majorinvestors to making sense of survey data for a major credit card company. The approach accurately described the situation in all of these cases and led to major management decisions.
The authors go beyond what I used in those days, describing a series of techniques and their applicability - through easily understood case studies.
This is not only an intelligent book, it is a very easy read. It doesn't go into mathemetical complexities because that is unnecessary. There are many treatises available on those subjects. Just surf the web to find some of them.
This book provides the information required by managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs to understand their marketplaces and customers.
Having run many companies and turned around a lot more, it is clear that this understanding is often sorely missing. Once gained, sharp increases in profitability usually result. The trick is something like an "aha" effect, an invention. The data is stored in a person's unconscious and, through predictable processes, pops out somewhat on demand.
Data mining is the process of causing similar "aha's" to pop out of the unconscious, the collective memory, of a company.
I recommend this book highly as a way to gain an effective understanding of how to do this.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: WCDMA for UMTS : Radio Access for Third Generation Mobile Communications
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5

With UMTS you must read what you can get - unfortunately what you can get is not aleays what you want - so with this book. Although the authors seem well informed, they are not god communicators - their explanations are alternatively trivial or incomprehensible, their diagrams, in most cases copied slavishly from the specifications, explain nothing. Perhaps this book is useful as a reference after the subject is comprehended. Comprehension does not lie here.