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ViseeO Tune2air WMA1000 - Wireless Bluetooth Music Interface Adapter for Car Audio Integration
ViseeO Tune2air WMA1000 - Wireless Bluetooth Music Interface Adapter for Car Audio Integration
Offered by Deluxe Essentials
Price: $89.00
6 used & new from $89.00

1.0 out of 5 stars After one year with it: too cheap/fragile, December 25, 2014
My verdict after over one year with it: super cheap and not worth the price.

Over the course of an year, Bluetooth wouldn't be reliable and would stop out of sudden, requiring me to disable it on my cell phone and reconnect.

Then finally, it stopped working out of the blue. I tested it on a docking station for iPod and realized how fragile and cheap the connector is compared to an iPod. It bent easily and the copper connectors would go pushed into as it gets connected.

Today I just threw it out in the garbage.


So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
by Cal Newport
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.14
80 used & new from $10.88

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure if this is a real-world view, June 20, 2013
Others have talked about the good points, so let me explain what issues I see with this book. The idea of not waiting for your passion to be found, but rather having a down-to-earth view to make your current profession work out for yourself is very interesting. However, there are some points in this book that are not so well elaborated and I'm not sure they correspond to the real world most of us face out there.

First, the argument that one should keep moving on and working hard that good things will happen to his/her life can lead people to resign to their current lives, instead of reevaluating or giving up on career paths that do not make sense and may not ever make sense in their lives. The problem here is that people not happy with their jobs or career may continue based on this hope that things will get better and a path of control will take place eventually. Continuing on a path only with an eye on the future, though, may not be the right thing to do - I believe there's an aspect of living the current moment that can forgone due to an oftentimes unrealistic hope for the future.

The "so good" part is another part that needed more care, because the examples of cases that match this hypotheses do not necessarily make this generally applicable. The point is that the "so good" is not only about your own craft (hard skills), but can rather require a number of different skills to be acquired - and not all people have the same innate capabilities to be good at all of them. An example: in the world of software engineering, to get to the point of control that the author suggests, being much better than others technically may not be what distinguishes and gets one to the desired place of control. Once one reaches a certain knowledge, other things tip the scale, like soft skills, political skills, etc. The skills that can take one towards this goal is not really a matter of dedicating oneself to the craft. And here I suspect that the author's experience in the academic world may have biased him.

Finally, mission. This is the most debatable in my opinion. In the world of research, it may be true that one needs to get to the bleeding edge to see what can be developed further and adopt that path as his/her mission. I believe what's missed here is that many missions are more generic and do not require this level of knowledge or experience. And some current professions can be so orthogonal to a meaningful mission to some people that one could spend a long time trying to get to the bleeding edge just to see that, once s/he gets there, no mission is to be found at all.


Influencer: The Power to Change Anything
Influencer: The Power to Change Anything
by Kerry Patterson
Edition: Hardcover
244 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Great pieces of advice, but a bit lengthy, May 20, 2012
This book condenses great tips on how to influence something - or as the subtitle says: "the power to change anything". It gives starting points on how to influence, and the main sources of influence, which are:

- Make the Undesirable Desirable (Personal Motivation)
- Surpass Your Limits (Personal Ability)
- Harness Peer Pressure (Social Motivation)
- Find Strength in Numbers (Social Ability)
- Design Rewards and Demand Accountability (Structural Motivation)
- Change the Environment (Structural Ability)

All sources of influences are full of good examples of influence masters weaving into the text to explain the concepts. While I enjoyed these examples, I believe the authors could have made the book shorter, still conveying the same message. That is pretty much the reason I did not give this book 5 starts.

On the content, some of the pieces of advice seem quite obvious. Either I had realized some of the influence techniques mentioned in the book and had started putting them into practice or I asked myself "why hadn't I thought about this before?". Others pieces of advice are definitely more subtle and amazed me when I read them.

The main lesson from the book is that there are many more techniques that can be used to influence than one probably learns just by observation. On top of that, probably not a single technique will be enough to promote change. Out of one's toolbox, some of the techniques must be picked according to the influence project and audience in order to accomplish the goal of changing something. Picking the "proper" set of influence techniques is a skill that one can learn with practice.

In order to be really effective in promoting influence, one could try to learn all techniques by himself. Another options is try to learn the techniques used by influence master and that's what this book does, it provides that knowledge and can save you substantial time in your process of being more influential.

What the book mentions, but do not stress enough, is that this is a process that takes time and patience. This is not a book to provide a quick way to change yourself or people around you. It's a very sensible book that, based on experience and research, teaches you down-to-earth techniques that can help you promote the change you want. Note that it won't be fast or easy, but like every other skill, it's about setting your mind to it and practicing.


Scalability Rules: 50 Principles for Scaling Web Sites
Scalability Rules: 50 Principles for Scaling Web Sites
by Michael T. Fisher
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.45
54 used & new from $18.96

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starting point for a mind shift to the service world, April 15, 2012
Get this book if you're transitioning to the services world or want to improve your skillset without having to make all the mistakes yourself.

The proposal of this book is to present the topics briefly. Once you read these rules, take them to your heart and, from there, learn how to apply it specifically in your environment. It will probably involve doing a lot more reading and experimenting, but at least this book will give you the starting points.

If you have some experience developing and operating a world class service, then you will quickly notice that the authors do know what they're talking about. I've had this experience as a service developer and operator and can definitely relate to most of these lessons.

Also these lessons do not apply only to web sites, but to any web services; and it's beyond scalability, it's about the mind shift to the services world. Developers that did not work on services tend to think they are relatively similar to product - and they are NOT. Companies transitioning from a product to a services focus should buy several copies of this book and give one to each developer, because you can get most of these rules if they are taken into account from day one, not as an afterthought.


Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work's Chaos
Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work's Chaos
by Michael Carroll
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.68
81 used & new from $0.76

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindfulness at work, April 3, 2012
I've read many Buddhist books and this is really the type of book I was looking for to make sense of what work means and how to deal with it.

One of the big lessons is that work is life - besides being a substantial portion of your life, you are actually living your life when you're at work, so you better do it in a good way for you to enjoy it and learn from the experiences. Also, what happens at work is your opportunity to learn, so in a way your coworkers are your teachers that you can appreciate and learn from. These lessons from this book help me answer the question I ask myself very often in mornings: why do I/should I go to work?

Another big lesson is about mindfulness. In addition to that, but very coupled to it, there is the fact that the reality is "empty" or fleeting. Nothing is permanent, even when they seem to be. With such mindset, you can take the life in a much simpler way. In order to help you with that, this book's recommendation is to practice sitting meditation - it can definitely help you.

As some other reviewers, I've read this book on my way to work, which was definitely the perfect time of the day to absorb some of the lessons and put them in practice right away. I recommend you take these lessons in the same way - if possible every day before going to work.


The Art of Readable Code (Theory in Practice)
The Art of Readable Code (Theory in Practice)
by Dustin Boswell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $31.49
62 used & new from $17.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great - even for experienced developers, March 18, 2012
In short: this book deserves a space on bookshelf and not only for yourself, but to serve as reference when reviewing other's code. And not only reference: this is a short book that you can done in a week or two, like the authors say. I read it cover to cover and finished it within 10 days.

It is straight to the point, has a lot of funny and relevant cartoons, and packs great pieces of advice on how to write readable code. Many of these lessons seem to be common sense, but when I started paying attention to code other engineers developed, I saw how much the lessons taught in this book were not being applied. And I am talking about senior engineers here as well. I even took my own code, which had been checked in a few days earlier, and improved based on these tips.

I believe that many of these tips one can get from reading code written by good developers. I got many of them early in my career from reading the Linux kernel, for instance. But until you put these tips in practice and start seeing your code using these lenses of readability, you will be probably missing out on many of them.

In terms of contents, the authors start with names (incredibly important), but they go all the way to refactoring the code by extracting unrelated subproblems. One are that I liked in particular is how to make your comments useful, describing precisely and in a compact way.

Finally, for those who tend to disregard these tips in favor of "getting things done" and don't care about readability, the authors present an example of a supposedly simple minute/hour counter and show how valuable an organized and readable solution is.


Service Design Patterns: Fundamental Design Solutions for SOAP/WSDL and RESTful Web Services
Service Design Patterns: Fundamental Design Solutions for SOAP/WSDL and RESTful Web Services
by Robert Daigneau
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $42.66
46 used & new from $32.55

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Formalization of commonly used patterns, March 4, 2012
This book discusses many of already commonly used patterns in the industry concerning web services. Each pattern has code examples, and the nicest part is the very reasonable "Considerations" part, which has a list of items to consider before using any of the patterns.

However, if you have been working with web services for some years and have kept up with the changes and trends, you will not necessarily learn much from this book. It's not a long book, so it may be worth your time reading it to fill any gaps in your understanding of web services. For anyone new to web services, though, this is a must read to understand the common patterns before moving on with any trendy way of doing things.

Also, this book is an attempt to formalize many of the patterns that the industry already follows - at least I've seen many companies following them in a way or another. It is good that we all have the same terminology, but on the other hand, it doesn't really get into a lot of details of each pattern, so the the reader needs to research further if s/he wants to deepen his/her knowledge. For each of these patterns - just like in a recipes book - the author gives an example (either in Java or C#) and he was able to keep them short enough but focused on the patterns he wants to show.

From my own experience, these are some patterns or areas I'd include in the book to make it more complete:
- Client-service interaction: long polling. Other than a regular Request/Response, nowadays you see services with long polling, which can be a quite important pattern to use depending on your use case. This pattern has been out for so many years that I surprised not to see it in this book.
- Service Interceptors: this is a really important and probably can be a book of its own, but I'd love to see more patterns on how certain things like exception handling and validation could be done and pros/cons of each approach. Oftentimes these are areas that many service developers get wrong and having patterns here would help steer them into the right direction (rather than realizing later the mistake). The author touches briefly on them from a high level, but there are different ways of the doing the same thing, and it deserved a little more attention in my opinion.
- Operation concerns: typically if one has a service, it tends to be a system that is supposed to be highly available, so service developers want to minimize downtime. For that, you must have a "devops" mindset to know where to put the right logging, where to log metrics for performance, in what places to log errors, how to handle log files. There are so many pieces of advice around operations - but unfortunately I did not find a book on them yet, so developers still need to learn from practice.

Last but not least, note that this book doesn't talk service architecture. It doesn't get into details of how to architect the service, including scalability, reliability, etc. You would need to find other option for that.


Web Services: Concepts, Architectures and Applications (Data-Centric Systems and Applications)
Web Services: Concepts, Architectures and Applications (Data-Centric Systems and Applications)
by Gustavo Alonso
Edition: Paperback
Price: $41.10
41 used & new from $18.90

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for historical context, February 19, 2012
First, it is a very conceptual book, which is not a problem in itself, but it's not a book for those who are looking to find code examples or how to architect your web service. Given that is was published in 2004, the value of this book currently is mostly for historical context. It does not make assumptions about the reader's knowledge and starts with the detailed explanation of concepts of information system. From there, it explains the need for middleware to enterprise application integration to web technologies. The context that explains how web services came into existence is responsible for a big portion of the book.

When it comes to the part on web services, the focus is mostly on B2B integration and does not account for the varied application we see nowadays. In particular, it's natural that it does not touch on web services being the foundation in a multi-device world where we have phones and richer clients (running Javascript, Ajax, JQuery, etc.), what one would expect for a more modern book on web services.

Also, it's important to note that it focus primarily on SOAP and spends some time talking about technologies that ended up failing in the end (like UDDI registry) or may not of the interest of readers, like RosettaNet (at least wasn't of much interest to me). And more interesting technologies, like WS-Coordination or WS-Transaction, were not explained in the level of details that I would expect. WS-* standards like WS-Addressing, WS-Routing, WS-Security, and WS-Policy are barely talked about. These sections could have used the the same attention paid to the first section (web service history). In that sense, the book is a little inconsistent on how detailed it is.

I'd have rated it higher had I read it back in 2004. In 2012 it does have value for the historical context and definitely good for those who want to know how we got where we are, but it doesn't help much if what you're looking for is how to write your API to expose your Web Service. For a more modern approach (and potentially more practical) I would try to find other options.
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Four Secrets to Liking Your Work: You May Not Need to Quit to Get the Job You Want
Four Secrets to Liking Your Work: You May Not Need to Quit to Get the Job You Want
by Edward G. Muzio
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.99
55 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look from outside, work out people issues, and gain new perspectives on your job, December 26, 2010
This book is amazing, as it focus on four main areas that may be preventing you from liking your work. First, two of the secrets are about getting to know your behavioral style and the motivation for your work. But most importantly than that, it urges you to take a 3rd person position and try to learn how other people behave and their motivation, as typically the main reasons you are not enjoying your work as much as possible are people issues. More often than not, people issues can be resolved or vastly improved by having a different attitude.

The rest of the book talks about task types, and although it talks about observing what types of tasks other people enjoy or not (what may also contribute to workplace issues), the focus here is more on your own tasks and how you can get to the right blend of tasks that will bring more satisfaction to your work. Even more than that, it helps you to see how to adapt to a wrong blend of tasks by trying to convert from one type of task to another. Finally, it concludes with chapters on skills, and how you must evaluate what hard and soft skills you need to acquire to improve your work experience.

One thing that I must stress is that this book is not the answer to all of your existential questions. If you are in an unhealthy environment, you may need to leave your job. Also it does not address more philosophical questions, like having a meaningful job, or issues like your work being ephemeral, too much abstract, or status/self-esteem/etc anxieties.

If you worked out other more philosophical questions (or never had them!) and once liked your work, this is the perfect book if you want to like it again. Even if you have other personal open questions, other books do not address in such a direct and concise way what is being suggested here and it is still a must read. You may be a great professional and issues can get in the way (mainly people issues). This is the way to remove the "but" in "s/he's a great professional, but...". And also because, by not addressing these issues, you spend your time and energy on things that will not contribute directly to your performance.

As an important note, although this is a short book, it will probably require a lot of effort on your part. You may not want to do all exercises, but in the first place you must really want to improve your experience at work and see a reason for it, otherwise it will not be effective. It's about being an observer - which is not a skill that everybody naturally has; and it is about making an effort to see things from different perspectives. This has been a impressive learning for me and, whether or not your stay at your current job, it will definitely be useful for next jobs and for your life in general.


iReport 3.7
iReport 3.7
by Shamsuddin Ahammad
Edition: Paperback
Price: $37.99
35 used & new from $28.03

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hands-on book on iReport, June 1, 2010
This review is from: iReport 3.7 (Paperback)
What is this book about?

This book is about iReport, a very neat tool to design reports intended to run using Jasper Reports library. Although Jasper Reports is probably the best open source report library, it is very hard to use it unless you have a tool to design your reports. I had the opportunity of using iReport a few years back, and without it, I would not have used Jasper Reports at all. Although Jasper Reports has always been very powerful, I would not have written raw XML to design my reports, so now you may understand why iReport turns out to be relevant and worthy of its own book.

In addition to that, not only Jasper Reports is very powerful, but iReport is as well. I had some troubles a few years back for some more advanced tasks (like being able to use scriptlets for my reports), but even then I was able to figure out how to make it work. Recent versions are years-light better than at the time I used, so I highly recommend it as my open-source option for reports.

This book targets those who want to quickly learn iReports. It is a hands-on book, introducing the basic and necessary concepts to get started, following a tutorial format. Each chapter covers a specific topic that will get the user to quickly learn a new feature and leverage them for their own projects. In case you are experienced with iReport or JasperReports, this book may not be for you and I recommend that you keep reading this review to make a decision on it.

What does it cover?

As mentioned before, it covers a specific feature in each of its chapters. These are the covered topics: Report Layout and Formatting, Variables, Parameters, Groups, Subreports, Crosstab Reports, Charting, Images. It also covers how to display reports in Java applications.

Opinion

This book is definitely relevant given the importance of iReport and Jasper Reports in the open source world. It doesn't require any prior knowledge of Jasper, iReport, and only very minimal knowledge of SQL to be able to learn what iReport is about. I think the tutorial format is very interesting and does not bore you even if you read it cover-to-cover, like I did. Also, if you prefer to learn just what matters to you, it leads you to the basic knowledge of iReport very quickly, what is very important nowadays. This is definitely the kind of book I would recommend to anyone that doesn't know anything about iReport.

On the other hand, this is not the only source of information you will need when using JasperReports. The integration of Jasper Reports with your applications is covered primarily through a Swing application and the integration with a web application is very short and doesn't provide details. If I were to review this book before it was published, I would have suggested that the author spent more time on the integration part. I would also remove or shorten the last chapter on Netbeans, as I don't think it's so relevant and does not provide much new information. Given that, if you buy this book, very likely you will need to look up on the web more information on how to actually generate the report files.

Also, if you are using more advanced features, they are not covered in this book. One example is scriptlets. It touches on the concepts only lightly, so if you are expecting to learn theory/concepts, internals of iReport or JasperReports, or even details about iReport (like all configuration options, all the properties, all available report elements), this is not the book for you.

In terms of the tutorial format, it provides the database schema and how to create in the appendices, which is definitely handy for those not familiar with MySQL. In my case, it was very simple to create the schemas copying the SQL statements from the ebook version. However, it does not provide data and it would have so simple to have provided some sample data so users do not have to populate the database to be able to follow each chapter's instructions. If you buy the print version, the code is not still available on Packt's website, so you will have to create the schema copying the SQL statements by hand. Being nit-picky, the only Java code that is provided in the book is badly indented/formatted and reviewers may have overlooked that.

Finally, I have to say that I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about the new version of iReport. I will rate this book based on the target audience (those who don't know anything about iReport).


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