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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design, Second Edition
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Michael J. Hernandez
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Must-Have For Beginners To Database Design

A professional database developer recommended this text to me,a novice. He stipulated that the value of the book lay in its "from-the-ground-up" development of the foundations of a proposed relational database.
I have spent nearly 10 years in computing, including many years of using canned, proprietary flat-file databases implemented in Fortran. For personal use, up till now, I had never graduated beyond the level of constructing "databases" with tables in word-processors, elaborate spreadsheets, and simple flat-file databases of the generic *Works variety. These exercises all required extensive redundancy of data entry, and inability to format and extract information usefully.
Hernandez has provided an excellent primer for the inexperienced database designer and user, especially one whose efforts to date have been confined to more primitive tools. Parts of the text (constructing hypothetical interview scenarios) are repetitive and tendentious, but they are the only serious detraction from the value this book offers.
This book can be absolutely recommended for the novice (the user of word-processors, spreadsheets and flat-file databases) and intelligently recommended for relational database designers and users who are dissatisfied with the program product they are currently involved with.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The best analysis of Java Core Fundamentals

This is the most valuable text u can find about how to understand the fundamentals, the principles and to where look, when Java begins to change (AWT, another OO methodologies, etc). Bruce makes u see shining what we take a lot of time to understand, testing, debugging, and using all Java flavors. with this reading, u'll be able to change your RAD, your platform and your environmente easyly. And I discovered all of that just reading the on-line version :)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Ethereal Packet Sniffing
Publisher: Syngress
Authors: Angela D. Orebaugh, Gilbert Ramirez
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Already out of date

While this is an interesting book, its problem is that it is already out of date. It seems that it was written at a time when the user interface was undergoing lots of churn.
For example, on page 47, figure 2.1 is out of date, as the menu items have changed and the toolbar now has more items.
On Page 146 and 147 the authors attempted to deal with changes in the GUI, and show us what the new print dialog box will look like, however, that version is also out of date.
On Page 153, Figure 4.19 is out of date. On Page 155, Figure 4.21 no longer exists. Page 156, Figure 4.22 is out of date. Page 162, Figure 4.31 is out of date, and so on.
Further on, Page 180, Figures 4.49 and 4.50 are also out of date, and it would have been nicer to show some real-life examples of problems one can spot with the Time Sequence Graphs and some explanation of how socket layer stuff relates to what you might see on the wire.
So, I am not sure this book is worth buying. Perhaps wait for the update.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Highly recommended reading for any web developer

This book will quickly give you the information you need to design a web site well. It is part of a two book series with this one focussing on the "how" and the next one on the "why". Sure, Nielsen mentions the results of research and user tests throughout the book, but doesn't dwell on it. This information is just used as supporting evidence for his design points.
It is fair to say that the material in this book is common sense. While you read it, everything Nielsen says makes perfect sense, but look around the web a bit and you'll find many sites that violate these basic principles. Other books make the same points, but I haven't come across any that do it as well as this one -- by backing the points up with research and several examples. If you are looking for one web usability book to buy, this is it.
Some reviews clearly feel the other way, but I think the book itself is a case study in usability. The layout of each page is create and the screenshots are very clear and well captioned.