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atmj (Rochester, NY USA)

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Usability Engineering
Usability Engineering
von Jakob Nielsen
Preis: EUR 41,99

3 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A good background book for Human Factors Engineers, 1. August 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Usability Engineering (Taschenbuch)
One of the best ways I judge whether a book is useful for me or not, is to look through the Table of Contents. So here it is:
I apologize for the format. The space allowed for comments makes it impossible to put this in true outline format.
The Table of Contents
Audience,Teaching Usability Engineering, Acknowledgements
Cost savings, Usability Now!, Usability Slogans, Discount Usability Engineering, Recipe for Action
Usability and other considerations, Definition of Usability, Example: Measuring the Usability of Icons, Usability Trade-Offs, Categories of Users and Individual User Differences, 3. Generations of User Interfaces, Batch Systems, Line-Oriented Interfaces, Full-Screen Interfaces, Graphical User Interfaces, Next-Generation Interfaces Long term trends in Usability
Know the User,Competitive analysis, Goal setting, Parallel Design, Participatory Design, Coordinating the total Inteface, Guidelines and Heuristic evaluation, Prototyping, Interface Evaluation, Iterative design, Follow up studies of Installed systems, Meta-Methods, Prioritizing Usability Activities, Be Prepared
Simple and Natural Dialogue, Speak the Users Language, Minimize User Memory Load, Consistency, Feedback, Clearly Marked exits, Shortcuts, Good Error Messages, Prevent Errors, Help and Documentation, Heuristic Evaluation
Test Goals and Test plans, Getting Test users, Choosing Experimenters, Ethical Aspects of Tests with Human Subjects, Test Tasks, Stages of a test, Performance Measurement, Thinking Aloud, Usability Laboratories
Observation, Questionnaires and Interviews, Focus Groups, Logging Actual use, User Feedback, Choosing Usability methods
National, International and Vendor Standards,
Producing Usable In-House Standards, International User Interfaces
Theoretical Solutions, Technological solutions, CAUSE tools: Computer aided usability engineering' Technology Transfer
This book was required reading for a Human Factors class I took. I found it to be a good quick coverage of some basic human factors principles. Additionally, it had good coverage of the practical aspects as well. Some of the information is now dated but the basics still hold.

While I Was Gone: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
While I Was Gone: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
von Sue Miller
Preis: EUR 14,00

5.0 von 5 Sternen A very introspective book, 31. Juli 2000
This book is a tale of a woman in midlife. You hear the thoughts in her head and are amazed they are not dissimilar to your own. She has moments that freeze in time, where she recalls past events, suddenly and very vividly. Events that though are not forgotten, but have gotten rusty due to lack of use.
With this reminiscing she recalls her former self and tries to understand the people and events in her past. Some were very disturbing. Most are guilded with the innocence of youth.
The author sets the stage with the main character Jo, having an "epiphany" of sorts, a freeze frame that another turning point in her life is being reached. She builds for the reader the story of Jo's life with the day to day details. When you are reading this book, you are Jo, if only for a moment.
In this contented recently empty nest life, Jo and her husband a minister she does not share a faith with, go about their normal lives with no sense of "what's next". Only recently has the last of their 3 daughters moved out and they are reinventing their schedule and getting to know one another as a couple again.
Due to a connection provided by her daughter Sadie, Jo runs into a former friend of her counter-culture life in her early 20s. Back when they shared a communal house one of their housemates was murdered. The author builds through Jo's recollecting how she remembers that life and it's initial innocence. It also shows Jo's confused sense of self at that time.
Jo's relationship to her past is soon caught up in her association with this man. This sets up events that nearly destroy her marriage. This relationship provides her an opportunity to explore and revisit the person she once was. She examines her motivation and questions it as well. It is a very good portrait of some of the questions one asks oneselves when faced with hard issues. Most of us would like to think we know the answers. Most of us find out, we have no clue.
Without giving away the twist of the story, I have to say, the author had my heart pounding when I realized what a dialogue was unfolding into. It was masterfully handled and ironically later on was paralleled with one conversation Jo had with her mother.
This book gets into your head and you understand many of Jo's feelings observations and day to day life. You get to understand how she thinks. She is a closed person and you see this in her thoughts, which are rarely revealed to the characters around her. Her relationship to her coworkers, husband and daughters are well defined. As a mother you can see the dynamic that unfolds, when there is family competition between childen. The author handles this well.
I found this book facinating and highly recommend it.
The only critique I would make is to the author. While Jo and her husband are highly educated people, I'm not sure some of the "vocabulary" is realistic for the characters. I felt sometimes the author dipped into her own background with linguistics versus the characters. This happened only a few times, but it seemed out of character at the time.

The Bell Jar: A Novel (Perennial Classics)
The Bell Jar: A Novel (Perennial Classics)
von Sylvia Plath

3 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very well written book, 24. Juli 2000
This is a novel that chronicles a young woman's downward spiral into depression and an eventual suicide attempt. It is a thin veiling of Sylvia Plath's own history. Sadly later on she succeeded.
With this in mind from the first chapter it is easy to see that the author felt separate from her "healthy" counterparts. I think most of us feel that at some time, however her disassociation became more complete. I was wishing, I had had a sense of what she was like before this began. Was this an extreme change or did she often feel set apart, when she was technically healthy.
What is frightening about this book is that while you are in her head with the writing, none of her thoughts or feelings seem so outrageous. In the afterward it indicated she pondered rewriting the whole story from the outside perspective, from her mother and associate's point of view. There were some references that were startling, as the not changing clothes and bathing that were not apparent to the reader that she adds in occasionally. This gives you a sense of a disconnect between the inside and the outside that she was feeling. This outside perspective would have added much to understanding the why for her mother's first suggestion to seeing a doctor, as from "Esther's" view this seemed unnecessary. Ironically, the character never really questioned the need for either the doctor's visit or the electroshock therapy. This shows the character's ability to comply, regardless of how she felt. Authority and other's measurements of her, as most good student's played a very strong part in her personality.
Later on, when she is recovering in the asylum, her relations with other people improve, however, she does not appear to the reader to be so different in thought. It appears that the measurement of success is entirely based on the patient's relation to the outside world. As there were no more references to poor hygiene or suicidal thought, this apparently was the mark of wellness. From the reader's perspective this does not necessarily make the transition from a lack of mental health to one that is acceptable, so obvious. It also apparently does not give the patient a framework to work with. This is evident by the fact that she did go on to successfully commit suicide years later.
This is a coming of age story that many people have faced in one sense, though not to that extreme, when they get to an age of moving from the teenage world to that of an adult. Often this is triggered by moving from the academic setting to that of the working world. There a disconnect that happens there. The high achieving student that Sylvia Plath was, was apparently unprepared for the shift in priorities that happens during this shift. She lost her footing and until her behavior became extreme, no one noticed..
As this is the second time I read this book, it is evident, I hold it in high regard. It is easy to empathize with the character of Esther and her dilemma's. In some ways too easy. I think most of us when we are troubled disassociate ourselves with the world around us and become very egocentric. This book may serve as blue print for testing yourself to see how well you are doing. I also think this is a good book for young people at this stage to read. It will give them some sense that someone has been there and done that and maybe it can get them to ask for help before they get to the point she did.

The Fountainhead
The Fountainhead
von Ayn Rand
Preis: EUR 6,99

5.0 von 5 Sternen Fantastic book, 22. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Fountainhead (Taschenbuch)
I had a hard time putting this book down. Considering the length of it, this shows how interesting it was.
There were 5 main characters, Howard Roark, Dominique Francon, Peter Keating, Gail Wynand and Ellsworth Toohey. Each character was well developed in a sense that once you were in their head you knew what they were going to do next, with one exception. I felt Dominique Francon's character was frequently inconsistent and her motivations at times pretty muddy.
The book takes you from before Howard and Peter finish college until about 20 years later. The story parallels these two men's careers as architects. They covered the architecture aspect just enough so you could see where the argument was but, not to the point where it would lose the readers. In this aspect, you are under no doubt that Howard is passionate about his craft and Peter is merely giving it lip service. Peter is into architecture as an end to a means. It has the pontential of making him popular. Most of the disputes in architecture center around the traditional versus modernistic view point. Traditional meaning keeping to the Greek Porticos and decorative features of the past versus a style more centered on function. Howard is dedicated to the fact that form should fit function.
Mostly this book centers on the inner lives of the characters and the forces that affect their personal decisions.
Howard is an end to himself, where Peter does not exist unless someone else is in the room. These two characters choices are about as opposite as can be found.
Ellsworth Toohey, whom is mentioned in passing early on, gets further developed later in the book and provides a manipulating force in Peter's life & that of many others. This character early in his life discovered the two extremes of personalities as Howard and Peter and has discovered the secret of using the "Peter Keatings" of the world.
Gail Wynand is an even more complex character than Ellsworth in the sense that he at one point in time stood alone, but at some point due to some various situations in his youth, became power hungry and decided on a similar path as Ellsworth Toohey. However, he never quite consciously made this choice and really was almost unaware of the path he chose & his dependency on the people he controlled.
Dominique Francon, never really gets developed to the same point as the male characters. Early on as a co-worker to Ellsworth Toohey and the daughter of Peter's employer, she is shiftless and comes across as just spiteful. You are not sure if she is a Toohey disciple or worse. Later on in her dealing with Howard, Peter and Gail, her motives and logic are still a bit ill defined. I think Ayn Rand was negligent in giving her female character's the necessary development in the book for her to be understood. Considering that she wrote this in the 1930s and 40s and the fact that the character had 3 husbands, this may have been the furthest she dared to go, lest the reading audience would unnecessarily focus on that.
Much of this book is dialogue between the characters, you have to follow it closely. Some of Ellsworth Toohey's one on ones with the various characters make you think of the many political speeches we hear every day. Then, when you consider the black heart of the character, it is frightening.
I think a person in their teens and 20s would walk away from this book with a different take than one in their 40s, as I am. An idealistic 20 year old still believes there are these singular characters out there like Howard and Peter, etc. They would get quickly discouraged with others and themselves, when they walked away from this book. An older person would recognize that most people have of blend of characters and these change with time. Then, one can only hope that we have more Howard than Peter & hope we are not deluding ourselves like Gail Wynand.
An excellent book, I am under no doubt why it is a classic.

The Elusive Flame (The Birmingham Family, Band 3)
The Elusive Flame (The Birmingham Family, Band 3)
von Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Preis: EUR 7,99

3.0 von 5 Sternen Something just wasn't there, 27. Juni 2000
In anticipation of reading another Kathleen Woodwiss book, I deliberately re-read the Flame and the Flower just prior to reading this one. Well, I shouldn't have. It set my expectations too high. When I finished the Elusive Flame, I felt it was aptly named, something was missing, a style, a feeling in the writing. The timing, wording and depth of the Flame and the Flower were entrancing. Without getting into specifics, I felt the Elusive Flame followed the same "formula" as the Flame and the Flower, but the rest just wasn't there. In fact I thought a ghost writer might have just followed out a blue print. Mind you, I gave it a 3 because even though it was not the quality I expect from Kathleen Woodwiss, it was still exceptionally better than much of the competition.

Design of Everyday Things
Design of Everyday Things
von Donald Norman

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Great book even if you are not in Human Factors engineering, 16. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Design of Everyday Things (Taschenbuch)
I had to read this book for a course. However once I started it, I wanted to read it. All those oddball things like pushing the wrong side of doors, not knowing whether to push or pull, that we all do and blame ourselves, are not our fault. Something in the design led to our incorrect behavior. This is a fundamental concept of Human Factors and Don Norman captured it perfectly. A must read for Human Factors engineers and an interesting read for the rest of the world. I'm buying more of his books.

Ruins (The X-Files)
Ruins (The X-Files)
von Kevin J. Anderson

5.0 von 5 Sternen The best yet, 15. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Ruins (The X-Files) (Taschenbuch)
I found this book set in the ruins of South America to be excellent. Having seen some minor ruins myself in Mexico, the author reanimated my memories of those. I also found the action scenes to be easy to follow. This can be difficult when describing locations of characters in an action scene. Excellent book with quite a twist in the plot in true X files fashion.

Antibodies (The X-Files)
Antibodies (The X-Files)
von Kevin J. Anderson

4.0 von 5 Sternen It feels like I'm watching the show, 15. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Antibodies (The X-Files) (Taschenbuch)
In this and other X files novels, I find the Mulder and Scully characterizations excellent. Of course they don't have the actors quirky delivery but they are the next best thing. This book did a great job of describing the details so you could easy follow what was going on. Let's face it X-files has some pretty interesting situations, so the author here had to do a more than adequate job of getting their point across.

Doctor Stories
Doctor Stories
von Richard Selzer

4.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting book, but not all "doctor" stories, 15. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Doctor Stories (Taschenbuch)
When I bought this book I was expecting stories of a primarily doctor's point of view. Though all of the stories, detail various medical conditions, they are not always from the perspective of the doctor. This is also a mostly fictional work. (I'm sure if I read the back cover I would have found that out). However, it is not dissappointing. It is interesting how the author has woven a story very detatched from a medical format around a specific condition in each case. I found it very interesting and plan to buy more of this author's books. Some of the stories have a melancholy side that I'm sure effects the medical community as a whole in hopeless cases or ones where the patient does not seek care beyond diagnosis. It was a good read none the less.

The Hours
The Hours
von Michael Cunningham
Preis: EUR 10,99

3.0 von 5 Sternen Not that impressive, 14. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Hours (Taschenbuch)
I read this book because it said it was a Pulitzer prize winner, so I went in with high expectations. There is much comparison to Virginia Woolf's work, which I have read none of. However, I found this book within a book and overlapping characters nothing special. It's been done. The over analysis of the dissassociation of the characters to their world was interesting, however, also not especially brilliant. I expected more. It was mildly entertaining at best.

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