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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Spreadsheet Modeling and Decision Analysis
Publisher: South-Western College Pub
Authors: Cliff Ragsdale
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Well Written, Clear, and To The Point


Yes, this book is expensive. Yes, the subject matter is rather dry. But if you don't expect dry subject matter, what are you doing in graduate school?

I have no natural talent in analysis, especially when that analysis involves mathematics. This book, while not making it particularly easy for me to understand modeling and decision analysis, certainly eased the process of learning to understand it. Ragsdale's writing style is direct and to-the-point. I had the additional advantage of taking this class from Dr. Ragsdale. His style of lecturing carries over to his style of writing. Each sentence logically follows the other, so the student doesn't easily drift or get lost.

Is this textbook an easy read? Not particularly. But it is for a graduate-level class, so easy reading should not be expected. Does this book promote understanding and learning? Absolutely.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Panther Edition
Publisher: Pogue Press
Authors: David Pogue
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
still missing


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This book is as much an advertisement for OSX as it is help. Pogue starts by introducing OSX as "the best personal-computer operating system on earth" - which it very well might be - and keeps on singing his ode to Apple on the remaining 750 pages of the manual.

Don't get me wrong: I am an Apple fan myself. After having used Windows for over a decade, two years ago I finally got myself a G4 Powerbook and I swear by it. I am now a walking ad for Apple, short of tattooing one on my forehead. I have learned to use OSX without a manual and decided to get myself one just to be on the safe side.

I spent a whole day reading through different OSX manuals in the store before picking "The Missing Manual" and, unfortunately, as of today do not have an alternative recommendation. I am also aware of how hard it must be to write a good manual. However, in absolute terms, this one still sucks.

OSX is mainly self-explanatory and, where it is not, this book rarely helps. It is not useless, just very incomplete, full of praise and poorely organized.

I use my Powerbook for video-editing, I network, use AirPort and a few other gadgets and usually manage with the help of my regular genius brain and Apple's resources. I did learn a few tricks from this manual as well. However, I would need a manual that helps me (just a tiny bit) with troubleshooting. This one does not.

I am glad I bought this volume and it may very well be the best on the market. But who cares? The fact that there may be no better book out there does not mean we have to waste all our stars on this one. If you find the manual we are still missing, please let us know your name - the place on my forehead is still vacant.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Larry Ullman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Yes..this is a good one to get!


Like alot of you who look at ratings before buying a book, I must say that this book matched all previous ratings. This book gets you going quick! I am very impressed not only with the author but also with PHP! I say, dont take my word for it..try it and see if you too will not rate this book high!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: How Computers Work, Seventh Edition
Publisher: Que
Authors: Ron White, Timothy Edward Downs
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent illustrations with text used only when necessary


On occasion, I teach a course with a title having the form, "Introduction to Microcomputers", where the goal is to introduce students to some of the fundamentals of how computers work and what they are used for. Generally, the material that they find easiest to understand is that which can be illustrated by examples demonstrated on a computer. In second place are the concepts that are explained using high quality illustrations. That is where this book is extraordinary. The author and illustrator clearly put a great deal of thought and effort into the structure and appearance of the illustrations, they are the best demonstrations of computer fundamentals that I have ever seen. The publishers are also to be commended for using high quality coloring and paper, which makes the pictures very easy on the eyes, although there are a few times when the contrast between the text and figure colors is not enough to make it easy to read the text. They quite correctly let the illustrations do as much of the explaining as possible, resorting to text only when necessary. It is split into eight parts:
* Boot-up process.* Microchips.* How software works.* Data storage.* Input/output devices.* Multimedia.* How the Internet works.* How printers work.
covering all of the material that is the normal coverage in an introduction to microcomputers course. There are also occasional segments of glossary, where the key terms in the section are defined. This is a high quality book, the best introductory material on how computers work designed for the novice that I have ever seen. If study questions were included, I would start using it as a textbook.
This review refers to the seventh edition.