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Secrets of Software Success: Management Insights from 100 Software Firms Around the World
Secrets of Software Success: Management Insights from 100 Software Firms Around the World
by Cyriac R. Roeding
Edition: Hardcover
36 used & new from $0.01

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Survive as a Snowball in Hell, April 8, 2000
What does it take to thrive in an industry where "more than 60% of companies that make it to IPO eventually go bankrupt or create very little value"? Five young German business consultants decided they needed to know urgently, and have come up with some original conclusions. Not only are the winners significantly different from the also-rans, they are significantly different from successful companies in other industries. The book reads as though the the five authors split up the task of the book between them, and some sections are stronger than others. Whoever did the hard research and formed the major conclusions did a thorough and superb job - the reason for the five stars. The chapter on the technical aspects of producing good products were mostly derivative of Steve McConnell (" Software Project Survival Guide") and Fred Brooks ("Mythical Man Month"). The section on what it takes to attract good employees bordered on the silly, and the thumbnail sketches of such corporations as SAP, Baan and Platinum were uncritical to the point of reading like recruiting brochures. Who would I recommend the book to? Certainly, anybody who's thinking of starting a software company. I'd also recommend it to anyone wanting to invest in hi-tech, and any software professional who's job-hunting. Personally, I'm going to mail my copy to Judge Penfield Jackson.


Paradigms Regained : A Further Exploration of the Mysteries of Modern Science
Paradigms Regained : A Further Exploration of the Mysteries of Modern Science
by John L. Casti
Edition: Hardcover
49 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Popular science at its best, March 29, 2000
Dr. Casti has written a number of popular science books. This one tackles the Big Questions of our day: the origins of life; nature-nurture; language; artificial intelligence; extra-terrestial life; and wave-particle mechanics. As always, he is lucid, entertaining and painstakingly fair to all sides of the issue.
Paradigms Regained is the successor to Paradigms Lost, published in 1991. There have been exciting discoveries in the decade since then. Casti looks especially closely at the paradox of objects that seem to live a double-life, like Schrödinger's unfortunate cat.
For the benefit of readers who want to learn more, the author has provided a 'To Dig Deeper' section with a list of books and articles for each 'question'.


The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence
The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence
by Ray Kurzweil
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.89
287 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moore's Law versus the Second Law of Thermodynamics, March 19, 2000
Ray Kurzweil has postulated a new theorem to predict the rateat which intelligence will evolve. That is to say, what we now call'artificial intelligence.' Whether this rule will be any more accurate than reading goats' entrails, only time will tell. But not much time. Kurzweil's estimates say that most people reading this sentence will live to see software with more human intelligence than most humans now have. And the end of the century will see software more intelligent than human society in total.
Most of the new technologies Kurzweil describes we've already met through science fiction: the robot companions in "I, Robot" and the nanobots in "Diamond Age." However, this book comes without the baggage of plot lines and fictional characters. Kurzweil is a self-described optimist: he spends only a few pages on considerations of the ethics or morality of vacuum cleaners with feelings. He believes (most) humans will accept these new intelligent forms, and merge them with our own society.
The 4-star rating is because even the author doesn't seem sure who his audience is. He expects readers to follow along as he talks fluently about Wittgenstein, qu-bits and set theory. Then he interrupts each chapter with an imaginary Q&A session, apparently between Kurzweil and a particularly dim student, to re-explain the entire topic. I found that device disruptive.
Kurzweil is a booster for science. He obviously loves living in 'interesting times' and that comes through in every chapter. I found it refreshing to read a book about future technologies that isn't filled with dire warnings and doom and gloom. It's the best book I've read this year.


Windows 2000 and Mainframe Integration
Windows 2000 and Mainframe Integration
by William H. Zack
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from $2.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Windows 2000 for the Data Center, February 19, 2000
If IBM and Microsoft follow through with their promises, Win2000 will be more tightly integrated into the data center than any other workstation-based operating system. That means that more people need to understand the architecure of both Windows and OS/390. This book describes Win2000 systems and subsystems by comparing them to the equivalent functions in OS/390. The emphasis is on the similarities and differences, and where each has relative weaknesses or strengths.
William Zack has packed an enormous amount of detail into less than 400 pages. In some cases, there is more detail than makes sense in a book that introduces concepts, rather than being a technical manual. There is a scattering of mostly minor errors in this first edition. More importantly, the description of the mainframe environment is rather out-of-date. Modern OS/390 systems are more automated than the book suggests: they are also more 'open'. Contrary to the author's repeated asssertion, TCP/IP is standard in modern systems, not 'very rare'.
Nevertheless, the book provides an excellent way for OS/390 and Windows administrators and developers to understand the architecture of the two systems. They merely need to bring some knowledge of their own to the subject, or be willing to spend some time on IBM's and Microsoft's web sites for the latest updates.


Advanced Assembler Language and MVS Interfaces: For IBM Systems and Application Programmers
Advanced Assembler Language and MVS Interfaces: For IBM Systems and Application Programmers
by Carmine Cannatello
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from $196.93

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New edition of the standard assembler reference book, February 16, 2000
This is the standard reference work for assembler programmers. The title implies that it covers the advanced instruction set, such as privileged instructions, that are used primarily by systems programmers and systems software developers. This edition is almost identical to the first edition, but with new chapters on extended addressability, the assembler and the linkage editor. Early chapters include assembler basics such as register usage, building macros and programming style.


The Holy Grail of Data Storage Management
The Holy Grail of Data Storage Management
by Jon William Toigo
Edition: Paperback
Price: $97.97
37 used & new from $0.01

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A practical guide for storage administrators, February 13, 2000
Despite the attention-grabbing title, this guide offers detailed information about the current state of commercial storage, and where the research is headed. Toigo names vendors, products and technologies and discusses their suitability for various environments. There is a web site that acts as an online appendix to the book with news updates.


Managing the Commons
Managing the Commons
by John A. Baden
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.00
60 used & new from $0.41

12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not human to be altruistic, February 13, 2000
This review is from: Managing the Commons (Paperback)
This collection of essays explores how individuals view commonly-owned resources. The clear conclusion is that people are biologically selfish: each person sees his/her own interests as more important than the group's interests. Altruism doesn't work as a policy. This flies in the face of common wisdom. I wish this book could be made standard reading for all high-school students. It explains the population's apparently self-defeating habit of destroying their own habitat.


The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
by Clayton M. Christensen
Edition: Hardcover
279 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Frightening Book for Anyone in a Hi-Tech Industry, February 12, 2000
This is a fascinating and frightening book for anyone who works in an industry where a product can become obsolete quickly. Christensen uses computer disk drives to tell his story, but the principle is basic. Public companies can't afford to abandon profitable old technologies for newer generation products, but will lose market share later if they don't. Christensen provides all the graphs and tables you could want to make his point.


Language and Communication: Essential Concepts for User Interface and Documentation Design
Language and Communication: Essential Concepts for User Interface and Documentation Design
by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $205.00
37 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Academic approach to computer interfaces, February 12, 2000
From a software developer's perspective, Kukulska-Hulme's book is rather disappointing. The approach was very high-level and didn't introduce many concepts that aren't already well-known. The real-life examples were taken from obsolete software products. Reference was made to the pitfalls in developing software for the international market, but only a couple of examples were given, and those only from the French. Perhaps this book was intended for teachers, but there are better and more modern sources, including Nadine Kano's 'Developing International Software' from Microsoft Press.


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