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Mass Effect - PC
Mass Effect - PC
Offered by BLS Mart
Price: $11.50
49 used & new from $2.60

17 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Severe DRM restrictions, June 28, 2008
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
Beware - there are severe DRM restrictions on this title. Three activations and you're out. Use your disk as a coaster after that. I was going to buy this title, but refuse to be subject to such draconian DRM. My money is going elsewhere.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2008 7:25 AM PDT


MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft  .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation
MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation
by Tony Northrup
Edition: Hardcover
94 used & new from $0.01

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I passed the exam using this book, January 2, 2007
I used this book as my primary resource for the exam, backed up with a transcender for additional practice tests. I passed the exam on the first attempt. Based on that, I'll rate it as 4 stars (more like 3.5).

Yes there are errors - so make sure to get the errata. Do the practice tests on the CD (several times!). I can't imagine not using this book, given that it's the only one at present. If you look at the exam topics on the MS web-site, you could spend weeks or months on MSDN chasing down the relevant information. This book brings it together in one place, and avoids you spending loads of time on irrelevant topics. I think the book covers just enough to get you through the exam - provided you know the content very well. This is not an easy exam.

As for a general .NET book, the various chapters provide a useful introduction to each topic, but don't go into that much depth - just enough for the exam. Part of the issue is the exam covers a very wide range of topics, so it's difficult to go into much more depth without making the book 2,000 pages long.

At the end of the day, it got me through the exam, which is ultimately what matters.


Professional SQL Server 2000 Database Design
Professional SQL Server 2000 Database Design
by Louis Davidson
Edition: Paperback
43 used & new from $0.01

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly OK - but be skeptical of some suggestions!, September 3, 2001
After some background on databases, we get started on requirements gathering - talk to customers and gather as much information as possible. Analyse this to identify entities/attributes/domains/relationships. Sub-types receive good discussion. A brief overview of relational concepts is given (enough to whet your appetite - but no more). The IDEF1X notation is used throughout - personally I prefer the "crow's foot" notation. Normal forms get reasonable coverage up to 4NF. 5NF and DKNF are mentioned only briefly. The second half of the book considers implementation of a data model in SQLServer. In addition to creating tables and relationships, also discussed are UDFs, constraints, triggers, stored-procs, views, and transactions. Various other topics such as reporting, archiving, project planning, hardware, and physical architectures also get an overview.
There are certain things in the book I don't like. Davidson insists on calling primary keys "pointers". No - they are most certainly not! He also recommends every table in a database has an identity column as it's primary key - even when a suitable primary key does exist. The "real" primary key is then implemented as an alternate key. To quote the book - "In logical modeling, we chose to use a 4 byte integer pointer for entity primary keys", "Every table will have a single meaningless primary key". Controversial to say the least! A rather wacky naming convention is also proposed, leading to such wonderful constraint names as chkAlbum$catalogNumber$function$artist$catalogNumberValidate. Each to his own, I guess. Oh yes, and let's not to forget the obligatory mistake of talking about "null values" - AAGGHH!
If you are after a book purely about data modelling then you may want to consider a different book, such as "Data Modeling Essentials" by Simsion. However if you want a book that considers data modelling in the context of SQLServer, then this may be the book for you - just take some suggestions with a large pinch of salt.


GUI Bloopers: Don'ts and Do's for Software Developers and Web Designers (Interactive Technologies)
GUI Bloopers: Don'ts and Do's for Software Developers and Web Designers (Interactive Technologies)
by Jeff Johnson
Edition: Paperback
90 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent practical advice for real-world developers, December 5, 2000
If you develop software for a living, then you should read this book. The author is clearly very experienced with user interfaces, and does a great job of transferring his hard-won knowledge to the reader. This isn't some highbrow pseudo-psychology academic textbook on HCI. Rather, it's contains loads of down to earth, practical advice for developers on how to create better user interfaces. Well worth reading.


The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
by Andrew Hunt
Edition: Paperback
Price: $37.44
97 used & new from $27.72

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining overview of software development, November 15, 2000
Good overview of many things that need doing whilst developing software. I don't agree with everything the authors said, but on the whole it was good information.
The authors come across as Unix-geeks who believe "command-line is King!". Yes, command-line utilities do have their place, but please, they're not the salvation of software development! Things are discussed from a high-level, so if you want to apply much of what has been discussed then you will need to look for more in-depth information elsewhere, but for junior programmers it is useful to point out what they should be looking for in the first place. For more experienced programmers, treat it as more of a refresher-course (assuming you did learn how to do things properly once upon a time).
An entertaining overview of software development - well, more entertaining than some software engineering textbooks I've read!


Designing Relational Database Systems (Dv-Mps Designing)
Designing Relational Database Systems (Dv-Mps Designing)
by Rebecca Riordan
Edition: Paperback
46 used & new from $0.01

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable introduction, a bit lightweight for professionals, November 14, 2000
A decent enough introductory book, but it just lacks a certain something. Certainly it introduces the main concepts of Entity-Relationship diagrams and how to go about designing databases. It also describes the development of databases within the wider context of developing systems, and includes chapters on user interface design (which draw much from Alan Cooper's "About Face").
However, I felt that certain topics such as entity supertypes/subtypes and resolving many-many relationships were not explained clearly enough for beginners to fully understand, whilst explanations of other topics were either a little loose in their use of language (e.g. talking about "relations with duplicate rows"), or not sufficiently in-depth enough for the professional database designer.
Perhaps I expected too much from the book's claims of "professional-quality relational database development" and "develop robust, professional-level database systems".
Claims to be an introduction for "beginning database designers" are more on target. I think the book will be most useful for new database designers/application developers who haven't studied a course on relational databases before, and who need a straightforward introduction to database design and development.


Practical Issues in Database Management: A Reference for the Thinking Practitioner
Practical Issues in Database Management: A Reference for the Thinking Practitioner
by Fabian Pascal
Edition: Paperback
Price: $36.87
45 used & new from $2.44

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking discussions on vital database concepts, June 25, 2000
Contains discussions on widely misunderstood, but vitally important, database issues. Considers how things should be according to relational theory, what goes wrong in practice due to failing to understand these fundamental concepts, and provides practical recommendations/workarounds where possible. A bridge between theory and practice. A concise and straightforward read, although to gain maximum benefit you should already have a reasonable understanding of relational databases.
Some of the main points are as follows. Relational databases can support data types of arbitrary complexity ("objects") - but we need DBMS vendors to implement the means to provide such support. Use declarative integrity constraints when possible. Avoid tables that allow duplicate rows - ensure all tables have a primary key (may require a surrogate key). Avoid redundant data. Ensure your database is normalized - avoids numerous problems. Resist the temptation to denormalize. Recognise entity supertypes/subtypes and how to implement as tables. Minimize use of nulls whenever possible. Also discusses climbing trees and quota queries. Separate chapters discuss all these points in detail.
A constant theme throughout the book is how poorly SQL and commercial DBMSs support relational concepts, and the numerous problems this causes. Personally, I believe there is little that most application/database developers can do about this, other than suffer what gets "inflicted" upon us. Pascal urges us to pressurise DBMS vendors to provide better relational support.
This book is firmly of the view that "relational is right". If you agree, you will probably like this book. Most of the references are to C.J Date's writings. However, I suspect some people won't like this book - those who believe "relational is wrong" (e.g. some OODBMS proponents); and those who prefer a "cookbook approach" for their specific DBMS and don't really care about what the "right way" is. I suspect some people will think that Pascal should "live in the real world" rather than worrying about theory, yet this book argues that it is because of the failure to understand fundamental database concepts that leads to "real world" databases having the problems that they do.
Helps database professionals educate themselves in fundamental database concepts, and illustrates the correct way of doing things in relational databases. Well worth reading.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 26, 2007 2:11 PM PDT


Object-Oriented Design Heuristics
Object-Oriented Design Heuristics
by Arthur J. Riel
Edition: Hardcover
39 used & new from $0.56

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Takes your OO thinking to new heights., June 22, 2000
An outstanding book. You could spend years reading OO articles and books and still only find half the information this book contains. Riel has done the hard work for you. He presents the results as loads of practical guidelines on what to do/what not to do in OO development. Writing is clear and understandable, yet every sentence is packed full of information. This book will make you THINK about what you are doing.
Excellent. A must read for all serious OO developers.


Joe Celko's Data and Databases: Concepts in Practice (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems)
Joe Celko's Data and Databases: Concepts in Practice (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems)
by Joe Celko
Edition: Paperback
Price: $63.87
51 used & new from $2.31

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for DB professionals, NOT for beginners, June 12, 2000
This is a strange book. I had a continual feeling of disjointed writing presenting a rag-bag collection of unconnected ideas.
If you need an introductory book on data and databases then DON'T buy this book, as it's nothing of the sort. If you need a book giving a complete, thorough grounding in all aspects of relation theory, data and databases, again DON'T buy this book. However, if you work with databases for a living, already have a reasonable understanding about them, and want an assorted collection of discussions about the nature of data and databases then certainly DO consider buying it - you may find it gives deeper insights in this case.
The title is interesting - "Data and Databases", which reflects the book itself. The first half of the book mostly discusses the nature of DATA, with the second half mostly about DATABASES. "Concepts" - certainly, the book is mostly about concepts. "In Practice" - definitely NOT the case, as the book is mostly conceptual with very little of a direct practical nature.
I found the chapter on Keys most useful - an in depth discussion about surrogate keys, which most books barely mention at all. However, even this chapter reflects the general nature of the book. For any given topic, Celko picks a specific aspect which interests him, discusses it at length, but gives very superficial coverage of other equally important aspects of that topic.
The main problem with this book is that the description on the back cover is a blatant misrepresentation of its contents. It leads you to believe it is a comprehensive grounding in all aspects of data and databases, but it simply isn't. Celko admits as much in the Preface, stating it is "a collection of ideas...not a complete, formal text".
Previous reviews range from 1 star to 5 stars, but both types of reviews are actually equally valid depending on where the reader is coming from. If you are new to databases and looking for an introductory text then this book is NOT for you, despite the publishers claiming so on the back cover. If you are experienced with databases then certainly DO consider it, as it does give insights you don't normally come across.
I would have given four stars, but can only give 3 due to (a) the disjointed presentation of topics, and (b) the blatant misrepresentation by the publishers about the book's contents. However, I do recommend it to experienced database professionals.
(p.s. - before someone else goes on about reviewers who don't what they are talking about, I've spent over a decade earning my living developing databases, and spent literally thousands of hours doing formal study to Masters level, so I do have a reasonable idea what I'm on about).


The Object-Oriented Thought Process
The Object-Oriented Thought Process
by Matt A. Weisfeld
Edition: Paperback
62 used & new from $0.01

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction for OO newcomers, May 22, 2000
A good introduction to fundamental concepts of OO. At around 200 pages, it is concise and can be read relatively quickly (compared to the 2,000 page monster-books that are common-place).
Introduces ideas of classes, objects, messages, methods, attributes, inheritance, encapsulation, polymorphism, public interfaces/private implementations, abstract methods/classes, aggregation/association, constructors/destructors, exceptions, overloading, accessor methods, and Interfaces (amongst others).
Moderately experienced OO developers (i.e. you understand the OO terms given above) will probably prefer a more advanced book than this one - this is an introductory text aimed at people just getting started with OO.
Also provides some (basic) guidelines on class design and software development, giving a worked example to illustrate. OO Concepts are illustrated using Java code samples, basic UML, and a quick introduction to CRC cards (this is NOT a Java/UML/CRC tutorial though - rather it is an OO CONCEPTS tutorial).
I found the numerous references to specific pages in other OO books rather irksome, but others may find these useful pointers to more advanced material. I would have preferred a single "Further Reading" appendix instead.
Overall, a good introduction to fundamental OO concepts that all OO developers must know.


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