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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Unified Modeling Language User Guide
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Grady Booch, James Rumbaugh, Ivar Jacobson
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
the champion of poor writing

To somebody who knows OOP, UML can be explained in under 30 minutes.
It is simple, OOP is not. OOD starts in the head of an OOP programmer. Patterns help!
I heavily recommend Sams "Teach Yourself UML in 24 hours"ISBN 0672322382
Make up your own mind by looking at the books locally first.
Whoever wrote the Schaum's Outline on UML also engages in doubletalk that is convoluted and based on something in the head of the author. Too bad Stephen Prata, Stephen Kochan, Ivor Horton or Bruce Eckel didn't write on patterns or UML!
So many books by Booch, Fowler and Larman are heavily padded...full of repetitious sentences that tell me nothing!
A professor at a local university said "I read Booch's 1992 book on OOA 3 times and asked myself what I learned...nothing"
Those are my words exactly!
When I was in Junior High, there was a teacher whose punishment for chewing gum was to write a 10 page essay on the benefits of chewing gum. I'll tell you I never chewed gum. Can you imagine how much you have to pad the writing to get 10 pages.
Concerning a recent Booch book, I emailed Grady Booch to ask where the black diamond (in an early chapter) was defined. A month later, back came "chapter 16". Good thing I already knew about aggregation and composites.
These people just can't write.
Why are there so many fans of these books?There is honor amongst thieves, elitists and groupies!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Web Design, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jennifer Niederst
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
THE beginner's guide

Jennifer Niederst is just the person you want to write a book like this. Many readers of this page will already know who she is, but since this book is aimed at absolute beginners a short introduction may be in order.

Originally a graphic designer, in 1993 Niederst became one of the very first web designers when she worked on the world's first commercial website (O'Reilly & Associates' Global Network Navigator, which is no longer in publication but you can see samples of it on Niederst's own website if you want; write me for the URL). Since then she's been one of the best-known web designers around and she's written other books on the topic -- notably _Web Design in a Nutshell_, which I highly recommend you get as a followup to this one (but wait for the new second edition, due out in October 2001). Since Al Gore didn't even _invent_ the Internet until 1993, that makes Niederst the nearest thing there is to an "old-timer" in what is, after all, a pretty new profession.

Niederst has said in interviews that this book is the one she wished she'd had to give her web-design students. It won't take you long to see why; it's painstakingly thorough and detailed, just the ticket for somebody who has never written a speck of HTML code before and is a little fuzzy on just what this "Internet" thing is.

But it's also helpful to people at other stages of knowledge. The coverage (mostly HTML and graphics, with a little bit of appetite-whetting overview at the end about more advanced techniques like cascading style sheets, JavaScript, and XML) is so complete that if, like me, you learned this stuff on your own, it will fill in _lots_ of gaps in your education. (Over the last year or two I've gotten pretty proficient with text but I knew almost zilch about graphics until I read this book.) And even if you already know all this stuff cold, this book will probably still be handy as a reference and a source of helpful advice.

Then, too, it's also a handy rough-and-ready guide to the sorts of application software you might want to acquire if you're getting seriously into web design. Niederst not only introduces the major players among authoring tools and graphics packages, but steps through her examples more than once to show you how they work in, e.g., Dreamweaver and GoLive.

The style is breezy and chatty but with no loss of accuracy. You'll find out why Niederst thinks "web design is cool" and you'll learn some of "Jen's pet peeves" (e.g. spinning-globe graphics and rainbow bars), but you'll also get a thorough and accessible introduction to the nuts and bolts of web design.

If you're just getting started on the creation of web pages, this is the book to use first. As I noted above, you'll probably also want to get Niederst's _Nutshell_ book as a sequel. After that, you'll be well qualified to decide what else you need.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Assembly Language for Intel-Based Computers (4th Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Kip R. Irvine
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Does NOT Make The Grade

I have recently completed a university course in Assembly Language programming. The instructor opted to use this book as the text for the course. First, the book is riddled with typos that are serious errors which can confuse a student into a state of mindless frustration. I would like to write a lengthy review, but for the sake of brevity, I can tell all in the few words that follow. In short, I shelved the book during the duration of the course and read "Peter Norton's Assembly Language Guide." I received a 4.0 (A) in the course which others who continued using the Irvine book struggled to make a passing mark. If all the errors are corrected in the text, this might be a worthwhile reference, but as it stands, it's more damaging than helpful. No offense intended for the author, just a bit of constructive criticism.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Telecom Crash Course
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
Authors: Steven Shepard, Steven Shepard
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent Telecom Overview

As an industry outsider with limited technical experience, I found this book informative, easy-to-follow, and entertaining. My compliments to the author for a job well done.