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Beiträge von Robert Nagle
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Robert Nagle "idiotprogrammer (idiotprogrammer AT gmail)" (Houston, TX United States)
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Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (Plume)
Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (Plume)
von Al Gore
  Taschenbuch

2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen what seemed radical before seems pretty mainstream, 28. Juli 2000
I have heard this book badmouthed at so many places that I felt compelled to write something in defense. I read the book right when it was published, and it was one of those earth-changing books for me. Everybody knows that ecology is good and corporations are bad, or so we thought. Gore portrays the dilemma of trying to solve environmental problems and possible solutions. It would be unfair to pin the blame on Gore for certain of the proposals mentioned (although things like the ill-fated carbon tax now is beginning to seem more useful as time goes by). Republicans have attacked the book for its draconian solutions, but they conveniently ignore the fact that Gore was an early proponent of free market solutions to environmental problems.
But the purpose of this book was not to make certain policy recommendations (although Gore mentions quite a number). The purpose was to change your way of thinking, to help you understand the relationship between a society's action and the obligations it entails. This book is almost a meditation on history and how we can overcome the problems our generation has caused. I remember many anecdotes vividly from the book, but one stands out. Gore talks about newer fuel-efficient lightbulbs and how much energy they would save over a lightbulb's lifespan (a ton of coal! ). Despite the fact it costs only pennies more than the incandescent lightbulb, old habits and entrenched interests make it unlikely that this lightbulb would dominate the market (although things have been changing).
He also points out the moral dilemmas that a person faces when trying to do the right thing. He recounts incidents where he is criticized for driving a car, eating a meat, investing in the wrong companies, etc. Nobody can be perfect, he says, but before humans can make their ecological choices, they must first be aware of the consequences of their actions. This book provides some of facts, but more importantly analyzes how we can live with our choices.
As I reread parts of the book, I am struck by how literary and well-written the prose is. His experience as a journalist and divinity school student shows. Leave aside the fact that this guy might be prez sometime; he writes as a historian or a philosopher would write, and is able to write to a general audience exceedingly well. I am still amazed that he found time away from his time as senator to write such an intelligent and well-researched book. Perhaps Gore will be the American Churchhill--a politician whose fame will rest in his writing as much as his political involvement. Gore might become the new Mohniyan: lambasted, controversial, but generally right about his prognostications.
As for politics, I will be voting for Gore. I have lived in the (cough! cough!) cities of Austin and Houston, and I know about the dangers of ignoring environmental concerns. But it's hard to imagine that such a forward-thinking man can survive a grueling electoral process and actually win. And his environmental positions are vulnerable to oversimplification. Unfortunately, the fate of the philosopher-king might be determined not by society's thinkers but its cynics and ignoramuses.


Professional PHP Programming
Professional PHP Programming
von CASTAGNET
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen excellent learning examples, interesting apps., 27. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Professional PHP Programming (Taschenbuch)
Boy, my reviews of Wrox books probably seem a little boring, since there is so little fault to find with them. The Wrox programming books are really the best books on the market, and it's interesting that the Oreilly books haven't yet published a decent book on php or xml stuff. I liked the way this PHP book explained the various setup options and the amount of space discussing mysql (which is a major reason why people are using php anyway).
What distinguishes this book from the rest are the examples. The tutorial part of the book works with two simple projects, an online job app and an address book, which were easy enough to follow. Actually, I found this book to be a useful intro to cgi script writing in addition to php.
Also interesting were 4 case studies about ways to use php. Example: did you know that with the qt libraries, php can manipulate images (such as zooming, and overwriting images with text)? That is amazing! A chapter on phorum explains how a discussion software uses php, and another one explains the use of a shopping cart (I tend to agree with the other reader who thinks that this is not necessarily the best example to use). The book also describes other things like using php for file management and storage, email configuration, and network connections. Some other topics covered in depth include: xml, security and database integration.
The appendix has many things. First, obviously, it has an alphabetical list of all the php functions. It also has a helpful appendix on http headers and another on browser support of html tags. This last thing is only somewhat handy to have, because web developers reading this book are past the point of needing browser support info re legacy html tags. Instead developers should be worrying about xml and xslt. Some technical books increase the size of their book by stuffing a lot of code throughout it. Wrox seems to like to increase the size by including large and somewhat irrelevant appendices.
This book made me realize many new potential ways in which php could be used. That is the most valuable thing about the book. I have not tried very much of the code, so I can't comment on whether it all works. But (to summarize) it will really broaden your horizons of what php is capable of.
The only reason I've given it 4 stars is that I haven't read the whole thing yet.


special edition Using StarOffice
special edition Using StarOffice
von Michael Koch
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen unbelievably well written book with great organization, 26. Juli 2000
I'm a technical writer who writes regular book reviews about computer and programming books. I can say without a doubt that this is one of the nicest, most user-friendly app guides that I've seen. It's a hefty book with lots of screen shots, and they cover a lot of material here, including a lot on installation for linux. They present a lot of materials in boxes and give "tips," and the great index makes me confident that I can find anything I want in seconds. Unlike most user guides for office apps, this book describes pretty thoroughly the limitations in star office (such as the fact that its database is not relational). I bought this book in late 1999, and undoubtedly other books have been published on star office, and more will be published as star office gains mindshare. But it really is amazing how thoroughly this application has been described by this book. This is the sort of book you'd expect for an app that is several years old, not for one new to the market. The group of writers must have spent forever not only studying the program inside and out, but presenting it in a form that is interesting and easy to wade through. Recently Star Office 5.2 has been released, and it's possible that the functionality will have changed. But this version or later versions of this book will still be the easiest to understand. It's not glamorous to write a book about office apps, but it's nice when a publisher has done such an excellent job.


Linux: Installation, Configuration, and Use
Linux: Installation, Configuration, and Use
von Michael Kofler
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen great stuff on linux apps; ideal for home users&tech writers, 26. Juli 2000
I have bought several linux books, and this book is usually the first place I check. It doesn't have answers for a lot of hardware stuff or programming stuff, but it had the best chapter on ppp I'd ever seen. Also, it was the first book I saw that spent a good bit of time talking about applications; news readers, emacs, latex, even a good introduction to gimp, for crying out loud. It had excellent sections on LiLo and other boot related questions. I wouldn't say it was particularly strong on network related questions, but actually most of the other linux books I saw had an opposite problem of talking too much about fancy networking stuff that the home user. This book doesn't spend too much time talking about command line stuff (things that you would find in man pages, for example), but lots of stuff on xwindows, and window managers. nothing on apache or star office. Overall, a nice compact guide geared to the home user interested more in applications rather than networking protocols.


XML Pocket Reference
XML Pocket Reference
von Robert Eckstein
  Taschenbuch

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen not bad, but better books exist, 25. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: XML Pocket Reference (Taschenbuch)
I read about 50% of this book and tried to work out the examples. However in the first chapter alone I found three errors. Two were corrected on the website, and I can't remember if the third one was too. This is a first edition, so watch out. XML development moves really fast, so a lot of things are no longer the same. The book explains things well and succinctly. But I would use it only after reading another book with more thorough treatment. I own several XML books, and quite frankly, I found that Professional XML (by Wrox) is the best book in the field at the moment. I confess to referring to this book still, but only after understanding the only concepts from Professional XML and other books. Consider buying this as a supplemental reference, but it should not be your first purchase.


Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
von Jakob Nielsen
  Taschenbuch

0 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen advice is a little conservative--still an excellent book, 25. Juli 2000
This book is an enjoyable and fascinating read. He gives great examples, and the book is easy to read and well-organized. But sometimes his advice leaves me wondering. Nielson encourages web developers to focus on backward browser compatibility, and on people with the smallest monitors and screen resolutions. Unfortunately, his recommendations are way too conservative and unduly limit a web developer's options. About 70% of Americans use IE5 and a large number at work use 17 inch monitors (I can't quantify that). Now Netscape 4 provides pathetic support for style sheets, and IE 4 isn't much better. Under Nielson's paradigm, web programmers would end up spending 80% of their time just making sure that things working perfectly fine in IE5 would also work passably well in browsers that are not used very often anymore. It would mean a race to the bottom, and cause web programmers not to embrace genuine developments such as CSS. Nielson's advice about user interface and web design are excellent and insightful; But most of his advice about web programming are outdated at best and amateurish at worst. It's too bad Nielson didn't spend more time talking about possibilities opened up with XML. In summary: this book is well worth reading, but don't pay attention to the user statistics and don't buy into his idea of writing for old browsers.


General Linux 1 Exam Prep with CDROM (Exam Prep (Coriolis' Certification Insider Press))
General Linux 1 Exam Prep with CDROM (Exam Prep (Coriolis' Certification Insider Press))
von Dee-Ann LeBlanc
  Gebundene Ausgabe

4.0 von 5 Sternen good book for learning, lacks specific test information, 17. Juli 2000
I have about 4 books on linux topics, and I bought this exam book for a specific reason--to quiz me over commands and switches and to provide hands-on exercises. The best linux book I go to is LINUX, Second Edition: Installation, Configuration, and Use, (on installation, linux apps such as emacs, news readers and gimp)which is still current. Another book I really like for detailed examples of all the strange linux/unix commands is: A Practical Guide to Linux (1997) by Mark G. Sobell. Despite the date, all of the material is still current For general networking issues I have RH Linux Unleashed. It is rather boring, but it contains a lot of answers about network stuff and some of the RH interfaces (gnome, kde). This book (GENERAL LINUX I EXAM PREP) is excellent because it answers a lot of ordinary how-to questions, how to get basic things done that sometimes are impossible to find in other books without rereading two chapters or so Example: I was looking for how to change the init level, and while I was looking for fstab info, I found in this book a command "init 5" which will also do the job. I've learned some nice tricks from this book.
However, the main problem in the book is that it lacks detail on the certification exams. This is certainly not the author's fault because the LPI exams were still being developed, and the others have been changing as well. I'm taking the LPI 1a exam, and this book merely lists the goals of the tests rather than listing the specific subjects being tested. It would be nice if the organization of the book follows the organization of a specific test. I predict that by the end of the summer the market will be flooded with books about linux certification exams (mostly red hat certifications) so you'll be able to find books with more specific test information. (also you can find excellent information at places like cramsession for more recent information about the test. In summary: an excellent learning vehicle, with good test questions, but little specific test information.


XML Unleashed, w. CD-ROM
XML Unleashed, w. CD-ROM
von Michael Morrison
  Taschenbuch

3.0 von 5 Sternen okay, good topic selections,"professional xml" is better, 14. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: XML Unleashed, w. CD-ROM (Taschenbuch)
I have bought several xml books and wanted to mention my opinions. The best book so far seems to be Professional XML by Wrox. For variety's sake, I also bought, XML Unleashed, a bulky book with not as much organization, but just a lot of code (unlike the professional xml book, which really explained almost everything well). XML unleashed is helpful, because its topics really don't overlap with professional xml. It discusses SMIL, parsing xml with java xml tools on the market, using asp with xml and different subsets of xml (vml, and a variety of other specialized languages specific to one discipline. Unleashed is good because it contains discussions (albeit rather brief) of several different languages. Professional XML sticks to explanations and analysis, a lot of microsoft stuff (but not asp,) and not too much stuff that linux lovers would want to reject the book. Finally I want to mention another book which I used as a first tutorial, Just XML by John Simpson. It's the best written of the three, although a little bizzare humor sometimes. It was written in late 1998 so some things may not be up-to-date (however simpson does a good job of emphasizing the things that weren't likely to change). This would be a good book for people starting, or if the book were bought at a discount. It would also be good when simpson publishes the second edition (later this year).


PRO XML, (Programmer to Programmer)
PRO XML, (Programmer to Programmer)
von MARK BIRBECK, MICHAEL KAY, ET AL, KEVIN WILLIAMS, BRIAN LOESGEN, DIDIER MARTIN, STEPHEN MOHR, NIKOLA OZU, BRUCE PEAT, JONATHAN PINNOCK, PETER STARK BIRBECK
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen unsurpassed xml guide, 14. Juli 2000
I have bought several xml books and this one has educated me, taught me and interested me the most. There's no doubt the Wrox technical books are a match to the Oreilley in terms of readability and thoroughness. This book is a little peculiar in that it is written by several people, each contributing a separate chapter. As an introduction, it probably wouldn't be too helpful (although that wouldn't be a problem for someone with a programming background). The strengths of the book (at least what I've read so far) is the discussion of sax v. dom, the section on business applications on edi (really interesting for me), and the great reference source in the back. Can you believe I have xeroxed the css list of command options in the back--amazingly useful? The variety of writers give a fresh perspective, which can be bad and good. With the exception of the first few chapters, which give a good overview, the rest of the chapters are a grabbag of subjects, including 4 case studies. These were very useful in learning xml. It also discussed WAP, which may or may not be useful, depending on how much enthusiasm there is for that standard. For variety's sake, I also bought, XML Unleashed, a bulky book with not as much organization, but just a lot of code (unlike the professional xml book, which really explained almost everything well). XML unleashed is helpful, because its topics really don't overlap with professional xml. It discusses SMIL, parsing xml with java xml tools on the market, using asp with xml and different subsets of xml (vml, and a variety of other specialized languages specific to one discipline. Unleashed is good because it contains discussions (albeit rather brief) of several different languages. Professional XML sticks to explanations and analysis, a lot of microsoft stuff (but not asp, and not too much stuff that linux lovers would want to reject the book. Finally I want to mention another book which I used as a first tutorial, Just XML by John Simpson. It's the best written of the three, although a little bizzare humor sometimes. It was written in late 1998 so some things may not be up-to-date (however simpson does a good job of emphasizing the things that weren't likely to change). This would be a good book for people starting, or if the book were available used. It would also be good when simpson publishes the second edition (later this year).


Pro Apache (Professional)
Pro Apache (Professional)
von Peter Wainwright
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen really outstanding book--highest kudos, 14. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Pro Apache (Professional) (Taschenbuch)
I bought this book in january and have been reading snippets here and there. things change rapidly with apache (right now I'm working on webdav--which wasn't even released until a month ago for apache). Still, 98% of the book is up to date and the author organizes the material extremely well. I found especially helpful the discussions on installing mod_perl, security and login access. My only complaints are that the book doesn't easily list respective functions of the standard modules on a single page, and that it doesn't list some of the apache offshoots, like apache for java and xml. I know that Oreilley is working on updating their earlier apache book (which wasn't really worth reading anyway), so there's bound to be excellent books about apache coming down the pipe. However, this book has answered every question I have had, and covers things more thoroughly than a web how-to might. Highest recommendations.


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