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Profil für Russell Belfer > Rezensionen

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Beiträge von Russell Belfer
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Rezensionen verfasst von
Russell Belfer (San Mateo, CA United States)

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Relational Database Design Clearly Explained
Relational Database Design Clearly Explained
von Jan L. Harrington
  Taschenbuch

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great place to start learning databases, 30. Juni 2000
I've been programming for quite a while, but up until a couple of years ago, I had never done anything with databases. When I switched jobs and needed to learn, I asked a few friends where to begin. At the time they recommended "SQL For Dummies" and "Oracle8: The Complete Reference" -- starting with the first and then diving in to the second.
This didn't work so well for me. SQL For Dummies is actually a reasonable review of constructing basic SQL statements, but it didn't provide me with any conceptual framework for thinking about databases. The complete Oracle8 reference book certainly seemed to have a lot of material in it, but it was a bit too daunting (1300 pages) for a tutorial. I learned the basics that I needed to learn and have gradually assimilated things since then.
Recently I came across this book at Amazon and found that it had pretty good customer reviews, so I thought I'd check it out. It is excellent. This is the book I wish I had had from day one.
The book begins by reviewing basic concepts of databases and database design, plus by going over the various documents and diagrams that typically go along with databases. Then it briefly reviews the SQL one would use to create databases. And it ends with three detailed database design examples. These examples are pretty substantial -- in each case I read the description and thought "this is too complex a database to cover here" but the author broke the problem in comprehensible pieces, drew entity-relationship diagrams, and worked through the design.
I highly recommend this book to people just starting out with databases. You will probably need to follow it with something that teaches you more SQL, but that should follow, not preceed, an introduction like this.


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
von Malcolm Gladwell
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 24,09

4.0 von 5 Sternen Thought-provoking and easy to read, 19. Juni 2000
I've recently recommended this fascinating book to many of myfriends -- in Gladwell's terms, that may make me a Maven. The TippingPoint explores the many things that make an idea (or product or message) "catch on." Fortunately, it is loaded with examples and studies that make it involving, easy to read, and provide substantial evidence for many of the points therein. These examples demonstrate how the ideas in the book touch on our lives every day: how the personalities of the people around us affect our own behavior, how we can have a positive influence on the world around us, and more.
The book is written with a relatively broad target audience in mind, but it seems to be mainly directed at product marketing folks. Although Gladwell is talking about political campaigns, the Revolutionary War, and children's television, most of the book seems to be focused on "as a marketer, how do you get your message out and how to you get it to affect people." This is not necessarily bad, and Gladwell is careful to point out that the ideas in the book do apply much more broadly to the world at large. I fear this will be a turn off to some readers, however.
The Tipping Point does make extensive reference to scientific literature and psychological studies to back up the points that it makes, but I was disappointed on a couple of counts with the science. First, Gladwell proposes the existence of certain rules and personality types, and then attempts to prove that these are valid. I don't think his postulates are invalid, but they are just one way of thinking about the ideas in the book. In my mind, I think of them like Freud's ego, id, and super-ego. Do these things really exist? Well, probably not, but they can be a useful metaphor for thinking about our minds. Gladwell's connectors, mavens, and salesmen are similar and I wish he were explicit about them being a useful fiction. I guess most intelligent readers won't have a problem.
Also, I wish he mentioned complexity theory and how it also examines "epidemic behavior" in populations. I would recommend "Complexity : The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos as a good intro to this area.
I highly recommend this book. One message to take from it is an extremely hopeful one: we can make a tremendous impact on the world around us. And this book gives some great ideas about how you might start. END


Design Patterns. Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software.
Design Patterns. Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software.
von Erich Gamma
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 42,95

6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Must read, but requires some sophistication, 15. Mai 2000
As you probably already realize from the large number of reviews, this book is one of the seminal books on patterns in software development. If you are a professional software developer, you must read this. If you are learning to write good software, this is a book that you will need to take on at some point, but I urge some caution.
In particular, many of the patterns in this book represent highly distilled wisdom about effective solutions -- distilled so far that, unless you have implemented code that realizes the pattern in question already, you may have trouble absorbing the material. I find that programmers-to-be who dive into this book, often end up talking annoyingly about "applying patterns" without having a real grasp of how these things translate (with some distortion and compromise) into real projects.
That being said, an excellent way to bridge the gap is to read this book along with "Pattern Hatching : Design Patterns Applied" by John Vlissides. That book is a chatty companion piece for this one -- I found myself understanding how to incorporate patterns into my day-to-day design work much more after reading both books.
See: Pattern Hatching : Design Patterns Applied [also at Amazon.com]
Overall, while this book is an extremely important contribution to software developers, it is structured in a way that makes the material difficult to absorb if you aren't approaching it with substantial previous knowledge about developing software. You can start with some of the simpler patterns (Singleton, for example) and work through the harder ones, but only by implementing projects and stumbling upon these yourself will you really feel a flash of recognition as you read them in the book.


Song of Solomon (Contemporary Fiction, Plume)
Song of Solomon (Contemporary Fiction, Plume)
von Toni Morrison
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen Worth reading again, 15. Mai 2000
I have read this book three times, now, and I find that I get something new from it with each re-reading, plus I have the pleasure of revisiting an old friend. This is probably my favorite Toni Morrison book (Beloved is, in my opinion, somewhat overrated), one that contains many joyful moments along with more serious fare. I recommend it because of the mixture of pleasure and sorrow, anger and reconciliation, humor and ultimately, hopefulness.
I think this hopefulness is the key to my enjoyment of the book. There are so many things in a person's history that make them what they are; Milkman's journey as he gradually understands, struggles with, various rejects and embraces his own and his family's history is unique and yet also reflects the struggles that everyone goes through. You can learn a lot from this book; when I first read this book at age 16, I had trouble understanding/accepting the final lines, but I've found them resonating for me many times since then.


The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems (Vintage International)
The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems (Vintage International)
von Michael Ondaatje
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,99

5.0 von 5 Sternen A wonderful, readable mixture of poems, 18. Dezember 1999
Michael Ondaatje knows how to mix humor, beauty, sadness, and acute observation together to make lovely works of art. This collection contains a great variety of poetry, from simple and touching observations about his children, to deeply imagined distant moments of wonder. My favorite is "Pure Memory/Chris Dewdney" which actually made me cry twice for two different reasons when I first read it. I will say no more here. "Elimination Dance" is also a fun one to read out loud. "The Cinnamon Peeler" itself is a fantastic love poem. There is so much good stuff in this.


My War with Brian
My War with Brian
von Ted Rall
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 8,49

4.0 von 5 Sternen You may be horrified that you're laughing, 18. Dezember 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: My War with Brian (Taschenbuch)
This is both a tragic and a funny story. Ted's hellish grade school experiences produced scars that most of us have shadows of. Ted Rall mixes a strange hard mean exterior with a desire to point out sadness and occasional touching human contact that belies his detachment. Okay, well, some of his detachment. Anyhow, his art is interesting and the story is fascinating. My only complaint would be that it's a fairly expensive short story, but that's how all these cartoonists get so rich...


The Bone People: A Novel
The Bone People: A Novel
von Keri Hulme
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen Terrifying and beautiful, 18. Dezember 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Bone People: A Novel (Taschenbuch)
There is a moment in this book where my heart stopped. I was horrified at what was happening and could not imagine how things would ever be right again. And somehow, in the transformation that takes place in the final section of the book, the characters were not exactly redeemed but recreated as something that I could be at peace with. Let yourself become immersed in this book and it will reward you with a tremendous range and depth of emotion.


Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Haroun and the Sea of Stories
von Salman Rushdie
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 14,78

4.0 von 5 Sternen A deep story for children, 18. Dezember 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Taschenbuch)
This book works simply as a beautiful fantasy story about a boy who saves a world of make believe, and can also be taken as a deeper meditation on creativity, the dangers of authoritarianism, the value and the honest weaknesses of democracy, the important of history, and the occasional importance of maintaining an illusion. It is easy to read, great for children, and illuminating for adults. An excellent introduction to Salman Rushdie.


Programming Pearls (ACM Press)
Programming Pearls (ACM Press)
von Jon Louis Bentley
  Taschenbuch

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Packed with programming wisdom, 18. Dezember 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Programming Pearls (ACM Press) (Taschenbuch)
It's great to see they've come out with an update to this book. The essays in this book are easy to read and touch on many valuable things, such as tuning and optimization of algorithms, using mini languages to provide robust tools, doing back-of-the-envelope calculations, and much more. I have recommended this book to several beginning programmers that I know as an excellent introduction to thinking effectively about the challenges of software engineering.


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