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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Little SAS Book: A Primer, Third Edition
Publisher: SAS Publishing
Authors: Lora D. Delwiche, Susan J. Slaughter
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
THe Lttle SAS Book; A primer second edition

This is a great book for people who already have some knowledge of SAS, but do not use it really often. The book is often short on example but is a great resource when you are looking for the exact coding. This book is more user freindly than the SAS manual and give you the code you need on a regular basis, proc freq, reg, date format.....
One limitation of this book was the lack of advance techniques. But if you need a small SAS reference book next to your computer "the little sas book " should be it.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: SystemVerilog For Design : A Guide to Using SystemVerilog for Hardware Design and Modeling
Publisher: Springer
Authors: Stuart Sutherland, Simon Davidmann, Peter Flake
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good introduction to SystemVerilog for the experienced

As an experienced hardware designer who wants to know what SV is all about, this book was great. It introduced the langauge in a natural way, explained what is synthesisable and is more readable than the LRM. You can also download the book examples from the author's website. This is the audience that this book aimed at and it hits the mark, especially as most designers can get the company to pay the high price of the book.

Downsides: there are some differences from the LRM, as this book was written before the final draft, and despite the book saying the chapter 10 complete design example simulates, it doesn't.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Joel on Software: And on Diverse and Occasionally Related Matters That Will Prove of Interest to Software Developers, Designers, and Managers, and to Those Who, Whether by Good Fortune or Ill Luck, Work with Them in Some Capacity
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Joel Spolsky
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
why bloggers should remain bloggers and not author books

Halfway through this book I realised I kept getting more and more irritated until I finally stopped to figure out why I was getting so annoyed.
At first I thought it was because of his comparisons between engineers who program on the unix platform vs. those who program on the windows platform ( according to the author unix programmers are "programmer centric" while windows programmers are "end user centric" ) - that comparison rankled a little bit but it wasn't a completely egregious statement. I happen to not agree with it but I can see some kind of argument for this theory. I then thought it might have to do something with the fact that he talks highly of Microsoft as a company ( that's ok with me :-) and cites some really idiotic reasons for why that company is way ahead of all it's competiition ( because it's led by a programmer as it's CEO ).
No - it turned out that I was getting more and more annoyed with his attitude towards bugs/QA and testing. He recommends 1 tester per 2 programmers as one of his criteria for an organisation scoring well on the "Joel Test". His attitude towards programming seems to regard bugs as a natural side effect of programming - which is why he recommends a ratio of 2:1 . We all know that "bugs" is a synonym for "errors" - producing errors as part of producing code is NOT ok. The words bugs implies a sentient existence ( like " a bug crept into my code" ) which is dodging responsibility for the "errors" you are introducing. Seriously - this attitude should be considered gross incompetence in any programmer.

He also comments ( in chapter 1 ) that students learning to program should be taught using C because that exposes the innards of a computer to them ! He does not understand what programming really is - instead he wants to expose irrelevent details like how an array is actually allocated located on the stack. IMHO - teaching programming to a novice using C as your vehicle is forever going to make him either brain-dead or make him really arrogant about "getting pointers" ( rather like the author ).
The author also devotes a chapter to a concept called "Leaky Abstraction". As an example he cites TCP over IP as an abstraction of guaranteed delivery over an unguaranteed delivery channel - the leakiness that he then cites is that TCP cannot gurantee delivery if say a dog chewed through your network cable ! The example by itself is OK but his argument is specious at best.

Please read his blog if you are interested in what he has to say - don't waste money on this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Semantic Web : A Guide to the Future of XML, Web Services, and Knowledge Management
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Michael C. Daconta, Leo J. Obrst, Kevin T. Smith
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Don't waste your money on this book

This book is a must-read for anyone, including researcher, developer or CXO who is involved or plans to be involved with Semantic Web. Although, I have been involved with related technologies, namely ontology engineering since the late 80s, I could not put this book down until I finished it cover to cover. The breadth and depth of the subjects discussed are fabulous and was a great refresher for me on how technologies such as web services, XML, RDF and ontologies tie together. What most people do not realize is that technologically, we are ready for the semantic web. It is just as matter of time before everyone in the Internet industry realize the value of this technology and start a new gold rush towards providing the tools and products that will make it possible for machines to talk to other machines in a semantic web of programs that will expand corporate intranets, extranets and ultimately the Internet.
The examples the authors use are very helpful and to the point. In addition, the authors do a great job in identifying what is out there already and how it all fits together.