Dynamic Models in Biology Review

Dynamic Models in Biology
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This is an excellent book for students or faculty interested in learning more about the current state of the art in modeling of biological systems. The authors make a great effort to keep the mathematical sophistication at a level that students (or faculty) who primarily have a biological background will still be able to follow in some detail. They are also able to suggest some of the exciting current areas of research and new areas for the future. All in all, well worth reading if you are interested in the topic of modeling of biological systems.

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Mastering Oracle SQL, 2nd Edition Review

Mastering Oracle SQL, 2nd Edition
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Those of you dealing with the latest Oracle 10g, and perhaps frustrated with the quality of the Oracle documentation, might want to consult this second edition. Its greatest difference compared to the first edition is simply that it deals with 10g, whereas the latter talks about 9g. Mishra and Beaulieu explain, with extensive detail and examples, the new features. Like support for unix-like regular expressions within SQL statements. Given that many Oracle users probably hail from a unix/C background, they will welcome this.
Also, for mapping between XML and SQL data types, 10g now integrates XML. This will reduce the impedance mismatch between the object oriented and relational outlooks that bedevil many programmers who have to deal with both.
The only problem I found with this book is its lack of mention of competing databases. Because the authors explicitly assume that you have already committed to using Oracle as your database. Fair enough. But perhaps occasional comments in the text, about how a given command or feature is not possible in another database would be useful and appreciated by Oracle users. Heck, to be fair, on this point, the book is at no relative disadvantage. For example, I have texts on dB2 and MySQL that likewise say zilch about their competitors.

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The vast majority of Oracle SQL books discuss some syntax, provide the barest rudiments of using Oracle SQL, and perhaps include a few simple examples. It might be enough to pass a survey course, or give you some buzz words to drop in conversation with real Oracle DBAs. But if you use Oracle SQL on a regular basis, you want much more. You want to access the full power of SQL to write queries in an Oracle environment. You want a solid understanding of what's possible with Oracle SQL, creative techniques for writing effective and accurate queries, and the practical, hands-on information that leads to true mastery of the language. Simply put, you want useful, expert best practices that can be put to work immediately, not just non-vendor specific overview or theory.

Updated to cover the latest version of Oracle, Oracle 10g, this edition of the highly regarded Mastering Oracle SQL has a stronger focus on technique and on Oracle's implementation of SQL than any other book on the market. It covers Oracle s vast library of built-in functions, the full range of Oracle SQL query-writing features, regular expression support, new aggregate and analytic functions, subqueries in the SELECT and WITH clauses, multiset union operators, enhanced support for hierarchical queries: leaf and loop detection, and the CONNECT_BY_ROOT operator, new partitioning methods (some introduced in Oracle9i Release 2), and the native XML datatype, XMLType.

Mastering Oracle SQL, 2nd Edition fills the gap between the sometimes spotty vendor documentation, and other books on SQL that just don't explore the full depth of what is possible with Oracle-specific SQL. For those who want to harness the untapped (and often overlooked) power of Oracle SQL, this essential guide for putting Oracle SQL to work will prove invaluable.

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Designing Effective Database Systems (Addison-Wesley Microsoft Technology Series) Review

Designing Effective Database Systems (Addison-Wesley Microsoft Technology Series)
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This book gives you a points-to-points look-in on various core aspects ie: component parts & pieces, which earmark & characterizes the design of an effective database system
i'd say, this is a good (first,introductory db design book). it will endow you with the vision or skills to look at/objectively qualify ,the items you need to take into consideration all along the way to designing an effective database system from the beginning of the db design lifecycle to its watershed
This book is...
- Is a good, first birds-eye view of core aspects of the database design terrain from 5,000 feet.
- It's like circling at a high altitude of the database terrain first, whilst still practically clearly seeing the individual trees from the forest.
Its a 319 page read . the detail level is just about right to serve as a quick review of items to consider.
If its sorta your first dip into data & database design , its a good place to start but i'd recommend you take this book, couple it & digest it together with a read of :"Database Design" by Sams; ISBN:0672317583 -(a terrific book!) subsequently after ;
and you'll have a really good,full 20:20 vision of the database system design domain/aspect.
digesting these together gives you a brilliant foundation.
Value: The second book(ie: the Sams book), will patch-up on areas like relationships & give you more meat on all the core checklist of items to objectively consider straight away, if say tomorrow you found yourself commencing with/starting a db design effort. it's a better cookbook.
Riordan's book then would seem a very nice starter/introduction
At this new knowledge point/vantage, you are now equipped with a greater, squarer view of the terrain at some 7,000 feet. ie: at this point, if you were interested in doing the sql-server design exam: 70-229, or the Oracle fundamentals I equivalent: 1Z0-031, everything would make so much more sense re: triggers, sprocs, functions, cursors, Business rules + Constraints, RAID Backup , Indexing, Views, the SQL angle etc. if you pick up an ExamCram2 book + Transcender, Testking or whatever you select as your exam study guide of preference, you'll be able to finally see & understand how things -(aspects of the puzzle), actually all fit together and be able to translate almost effortlessly from conceptual design aspects to the necessary logical design-blueprint , to the physical implementation aspects.
And that which you understand... you won't forget
After digesting the Riordan book followed by the Sams book, you are now ready for intermediate to proficient level. 10,000 to 12,000 feet - design proficiency.
as a 3rd level book , i'd recommend you move on to reading the following 4 (ordered here by: most-entailed to least-entailed):
(1.) Database Modelling Essentials; ISBN:0126445516 ;
Value:(brings you a solid handle on building a database model to support a businesses activities)
(2.) Database Solutions; ISBN:0321173503 ;
Value: (clarity in cruising comfortably between d relational model and a good, solid, logical design...[a great book])
(3.) Database Design for Mere Mortals; ISBN: 0201752840 ;
Value: (great for reviewing Table Relationships -(setting-up joins) and reading the ERD -[Entity Relationship Diagrams])
(4.) Databases Demystified; ISBN:0072253649 ;
Value: (great for stepping you linearly through the database lifecycle again, with good explanations about what you should be sure you are doing & obtaining from each stage/step of the lifecycle)..ie: that which will be expected of you at each step/stage chunk
To cap things up, Read :
- "Beginning Relational database design" ; ISBN:1590594630 ;
Value: (pulls all your data modelling personal resource skills together and reconstitutes them for you by casting you in a role where you practice modelling a complete system from scratch ie: -[from gathering the requirements specification, to the end of the detailed conceptual database design effort for the system]);
And you'll have all the core skills you need to build/design one mean database, enterprise-oriented or otherwise or reverse-engineer one.
if you are already in the thick of a project and are really pressed to find a db design solution -[(logical) + (implementation in SQL code)] right now, maybe consider buying or looking into purchasing the pricey: "Data Model Resource CD_ROM" ;ISBN:0471388289;
Value: it boasts a library of proven: tried and tested Universal Data Models, for all Enterprise types.
So, all you'll need do is adapt or borrow a design solution/model or architecture that applies closely to what you're trying to accomplish modelling for your database project ,and adapt & implement it as a solution for the database system you are designing. it's Magic!
Though i rated d Riordan book 4 stars for the depth of its content matter, the book rates more like a 4.5 for sheer readability & clarity of explanations for such an often notoriously complex technical subject area.
I'd talk about core books that translate to laying-out a solid physical database implementation & tuning for performance, but thats gonna have to wait till maybe a future book review

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"Riordan covers core skills for any developer--database design and development--in a perfect amount of detail. This book should be on every professional developer's reading list."--Duncan Mackenzie, developer, Microsoft (MSDN)"Designing a database is not a trivial subject. Riordan brings experience and clear explanations to a fundamental part of software development."--Patrick Birch, database and technical writing consultant"If you buy only one book on database design, make it this one. Riordan has a talent for explaining technical issues in simple language, without over simplifying."--Brendan Reynolds, developer, Dataset IT Systems and Microsoft Access MVP"A book that will expertly guide you in how to develop a database for a client-- and how to do it right the first time!"--Kenneth D. Snell, Ph.D., ACCESS developer and Microsoft Access MVP "Riordan has produced a unique book that brings together a formal, yet commonsense, approach to relational database design...and then goes further! Many database designers will find immense value in the steps to developing practical data warehouse designs.If you are seeking a framework for designing transactional databases, or want to step out into the world of analytical databases, Riordan's book excels at bridging both worlds."--Paul Irvine, vice president, engineering, Via Training"Riordan takes a complex subject and makes it easy. If you're over your head on a database design project, this book will help bail you out!"--Mike Gunderloy, contributing editor, Application Development Trends"This book covers a wide range of database design and data modeling topics in a well-organized, easy to understand format."--Amy Sticksel, Sticksel Data Systems, Inc."In Designing Effective Database Systems, Riordan's style, wit, and attention to detail are outstanding."--Sandra Daigle, Microsoft Access MVP The Software Developer's Step-by-Step Guide to Database Design World-renowned expert Rebecca M. Riordan has written the definitive database design book for working developers who aren't database experts. No matter how messy or complex your data challenge, Designing Effective Database Systems shows you how to design an effective, high-performance database to solve it.Riordan begins by thoroughly demystifying the principles of relational design, making them accessible to every professional developer.Next, she offers the field's clearest introduction to dimensional database modeling--practical insight for designing today's increasingly important analytical applications. One task at a time, the author illuminates every facet of database analysis and design for both traditional databases and the dimensional databases used for data warehousing, showing how to avoid common architectural pitfalls that complicate development and reduce extensibility. The book concludes with comprehensive, expert guidance on designing databases for maximum usability.This book will teach you to *Understand relational database models, structures, relationships, and data integrity principles *Define database system goals, criteria, scope, and work processes *Construct accurate conceptual models: relationships, entities, domain analysis, and normalization *Build efficient, secure database schema *Master the elements of online analytical processing (OLAP) design: fact tables, dimension tables, snowflaking, and more *Architect and construct easy, efficient interfaces for querying and reporting *Learn from practice examples based on Microsoft's Northwind sample databaseRiordan has helped thousands of professionals master database design and development, earning Microsoft's coveted MVP honor for her exceptional contributions.Nobody is more qualified to help you master database design and apply it in your real-world environment.

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Market Segmentation: Conceptual and Methodological Foundations (International Series in Quantitative Marketing) Review

Market Segmentation: Conceptual and Methodological Foundations (International Series in Quantitative Marketing)
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We conduct several customer segmentaiton studies for various clients each year. This is one of only 5 books I recommend to other market researcher who are interested in the topic of consumer segmentation.

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Modern marketing techniques in industrialized countries cannotbe implemented without segmentation of the potential market. Goods areno longer produced and sold without a significant consideration ofcustomer needs combined with a recognition that these needs areheterogeneous. Since first emerging in the late 1950s, the concept ofsegmentation has been one of the most researched topics in themarketing literature. Segmentation has become a central topic to boththe theory and practice of marketing, particularly in the recentdevelopment of finite mixture models to better identify marketsegments. This second edition of Market Segmentation updates and extendsthe integrated examination of segmentation theory and methodologybegun in the first edition. A chapter on mixture model analysis ofpaired comparison data has been added, together with a new chapter onthe pros and cons of the mixture model. The book starts with aframework for considering the various bases and methods available forconducting segmentation studies. The second section contains a moredetailed discussion of the methodology for market segmentation, fromtraditional clustering algorithms to more recent developments infinite mixtures and latent class models. Three types of finite mixturemodels are discussed in this second section: simple mixtures, mixturesof regressions and mixtures of unfolding models. The third mainsection is devoted to special topics in market segmentation such asjoint segmentation, segmentation using tailored interviewing andsegmentation with structural equation models. The fourth part coversfour major approaches to applied market segmentation: geo-demographic,lifestyle, response-based, and conjoint analysis. The final concludingsection discusses directions for further research.

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Create Dynamic Charts in Microsoft® Office Excel® 2007 Review

Create Dynamic Charts in Microsoft® Office Excel® 2007
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I bought this book because it addressed a need I have - how to make better charts with the newest version of Excel (2007), and do it in a dynamic manner, i.e. with data that changes.
This is a typical computer book, with many hundreds of pages and an included CD of examples and other things.
One of the other things on the CD is an explanation of the author's "rS1.method" methodology (even the name should be a clue), which is used throughout the book and is used "in all the author's books" as though it were some kind of standard. In it the author prescribes a very set methodology and structure for laying out your multi-worksheet spreadsheets, and all the examples are based on it. If you need some discipline and like methodology, you will like this.
But if you are like me, impatient for results and not willing to be bound by a rigid framework, you will not like it.
The other thing I didn't like was the author's rambling and lecturing style. It was hard to wade through a long discourse on every subject before getting to the meat. One place in the small print it mentions that this book is "somewhat unusual" and is a "translation from the German" so that might explain why this is. I have read other books (history) that are direct translations from other languages (German in particular), and also from the one foreign language that I can read directly I know that the writing style differs by country and can seem quite strange to a reader in a different country. That seems to be the case with this book so it made tough going for me.
Anyway, there is useful material here and the book has helped me some, thus a generous 3 stars, but I wouldn't have bought it if I had known then what I know now.

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Extend your Excel 2007 skills—and create more-powerful and compelling charts in less time. Guided by an Excel expert, you'll learn how to turn flat, static charts into dynamic solutions—where you can visualize and manipulate data countless ways with a simple mouse click. Get the hands-on practice and examples you need to produce your own, professional-quality results. No programming required!

Maximize the impact of your ideas and data!

Learn how your design decisions affect perception and comprehension
Match the right chart type to your communication objective
Visualize—then build—your solution using the author's five-step approach
Apply the science of color to make the right things pop
Add controls—such as drop-down lists and scroll bars—without coding
Use conditional formatting to dynamically highlight and analyze data
Unleash your chart-making creativity—and bring numbers to life!

CD includes:

More than 150 sample, customizable charts for various business scenarios
Helpful worksheets and job aids
Bonus content and resources
Fully searchable eBook

A Note Regarding the CD or DVD

The print version of this book ships with a CD or DVD. For those customers purchasing one of the digital formats in which this book is available, we are pleased to offer the CD/DVD content as a free download via OReilly Medias Digital Distribution services. To download this content, please visit OReillys web site, search for the title of this book to find its catalog page, and click on the link below the cover image (Examples, Companion Content, or Practice Files). Note that while we provide as much of the media content as we are able via free download, we are sometimes limited by licensing restrictions. Please direct any questions or concerns to booktech@oreilly.com.

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Microsoft® SQL Server(TM) 2000 Analysis Services Step by Step (DV-DLT Fundamentals) Review

Microsoft® SQL Server(TM) 2000 Analysis Services Step by Step (DV-DLT Fundamentals)
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This Step by Step guide serves as a great starting point for getting familiar with Microsoft's Analysis services. It starts with a quick introduction to data warehousing (without resorting to giving an entire history of the subject, as seems so common today) and how it relates to OLAP and then moves right into the Analysis Servies tools.
The chapters are well written and get you the information you need, without missing any major details. Even if you don't plan to take the "step by step" approach, this book is worth having by your side.
All right... now for the downsides. At best this book is good for beginners. These are some of the areas where I found it came up short:
- Sizing systems that will support Analysis Services. The book talks a bit about how big cubes are, but there is no information about cube performance/cube sizing, etc. Basically, this book won't help you develop a hardware plan for hosting Analysis Services.
- Accessing Analysis Services via the web. All of Microsoft's literature talks about how SQL Server 2000's great support for the web/XML. Strangely, it is very hard to find this information for Analysis Services, and this book doesn't provide any guidance. Right now it seems that the best you can do to find this information is hunt around Microsoft's site.
Overall I still think this is good book. However, if you are going to be building a large Analysis Services system, expect to be looking for other sources to answer all of your questions.

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MICROSOFT® SQL SERVER™ 2000 ANALYSIS SERVICES STEP BY STEP shows Microsoft Excel and Access experts, IS managers, and database developers how to build applications that take advantage of the powerful data-analysis services in Microsoft SQL Server 2000. You'll discover why these services make it easier to analyze huge amounts of data quickly, and you'll learn how to develop a wide range of advanced dimensional-data applications-from enterprise reporting tools to advanced decision-support systems. The book's easy-to-follow lessons begin with clear objectives and include real-world business examples, with a companion CD full of sample files that support each lesson.

This title shows you how to:

Administer the Analysis Manager: Understand the fundamentals behind data dimensions and hierarchies, data warehousing, and the Microsoft Analysis Services architecture, and use the Microsoft Analysis Manager application to define and populate data cubes.
Create and display cubes: Define and modify measures and dimensions. Design, build, process, and view cubes, from simple to advanced, with cube and dimension editors. Use Microsoft Excel PivotTable® Reports and the PivotTable List in Microsoft Excel to browse cubes, and create cubes using Microsoft Office.
Query cubes: Use multidimensional expressions (MDX) values and sets and the MDX Sample application to query and display dimensional data.
Perform advanced administration: Choose data storage options and the Storage Design Wizard to optimize, manage, and update data efficiently. Automate the Analysis server to process an OLAP database. Work with partitions and automate updates, and apply security to cubes.

A Note Regarding the CD or DVD

The print version of this book ships with a CD or DVD. For those customers purchasing one of the digital formats in which this book is available, we are pleased to offer the CD/DVD content as a free download via O'Reilly Media's Digital Distribution services. To download this content, please visit O'Reilly's web site, search for the title of this book to find its catalog page, and click on the link below the cover image (Examples, Companion Content, or Practice Files). Note that while we provide as much of the media content as we are able via free download, we are sometimes limited by licensing restrictions. Please direct any questions or concerns to booktech@oreilly.com.

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Bayes and Empirical Bayes Methods for Data Analysis, Second Edition Review

Bayes and Empirical Bayes Methods for Data Analysis, Second Edition
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This book features a deep and focused lesson on Bayes and Empirical Bayes Methods. It goes through the key topics as conjugate priors, MCMC methods (non iteratives and iteratives as the well known Gibbs samplining and metropolitis hastings algorithms), model selection methods (as bayes factor) and issues related as model robusteness.
The Approach is increasingly formal and deeply complex, allowing for getting the basics or diving into more complex knowledge according to your former background. You need at least a good understanding of Frequentist statistic to be able to follow the reasonings. Each chapter allow you to stop at some point without losing the thread. Last part of the book is in fact deep knowledge demanding.
The most interesting point of this book according to my very limited statistics background is that it makes good comparations with the frequentist approach (classical approaches as confidence intervals and point estimators), checking performance of either method. Even, it features some combination of both approaches getting some bayessian intervals.
As a negative point, I would say that examples are hard to follow for someone with limited bakground and too much complex. They really do not clear me up enough.
All in all, is a very profitable book for jumping into bayesian methods.

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In recent years, Bayes and empirical Bayes (EB) methods have continued to increase in popularity and impact. Building on the first edition of their popular text, Carlin and Louis introduce these methods, demonstrate their usefulness in challenging applied settings, and show how they can be implemented using modern Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. Their presentation is accessible to those new to Bayes and empirical Bayes methods, while providing in-depth coverage valuable to seasoned practitioners.With its broad appeal as a text for those in biomedical science, education, social science, agriculture, and engineering, this second edition offers a relatively gentle and comprehensive introduction for students and practitioners already familiar with more traditional frequentist statistical methods. Focusing on practical tools for data analysis, the book shows how properly structured Bayes and EB procedures typically have good frequentist and Bayesian performance, both in theory and in practice.

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Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms Review

Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms
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Uniting information theory and inference in an interactive and entertaining way, this book has been a constant source of inspiration, intuition and insight for me. It is packed full of stuff - its contents appear to grow the more I look - but the layering of the material means the abundance of topics does not confuse.
This is _not_ just a book for the experts. However, you will need to think and interact when reading it. That is, after all, how you learn, and the book helps and guides you in this with many puzzles and problems.

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Information theory and inference, often taught separately, are here united in one entertaining textbook. These topics lie at the heart of many exciting areas of contemporary science and engineering - communication, signal processing, data mining, machine learning, pattern recognition, computational neuroscience, bioinformatics, and cryptography.This textbook introduces theory in tandem with applications. Information theory is taught alongside practical communication systems, such as arithmetic coding for data compression and sparse-graph codes for error-correction. A toolbox of inference techniques, including message-passing algorithms, Monte Carlo methods, and variational approximations, are developed alongside applications of these tools to clustering, convolutional codes, independent component analysis, and neural networks.The final part of the book describes the state of the art in error-correcting codes, including low-density parity-check codes, turbo codes, and digital fountain codes -- the twenty-first century standards for satellite communications, disk drives, and data broadcast. Richly illustrated, filled with worked examples and over 400 exercises, some with detailed solutions, David MacKay's groundbreaking book is ideal for self-learning and for undergraduate or graduate courses. Interludes on crosswords, evolution, and sex provide entertainment along the way.In sum, this is a textbook on information, communication, and coding for a new generation of students, and an unparalleled entry point into these subjects for professionals in areas as diverse as computational biology, financial engineering, and machine learning.

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SQL in a Nutshell (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) Review

SQL in a Nutshell (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly))
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This book is designed as a reference -- the book that you keep
near your workstation after you learn the basics, because you
haven't got everything memorised yet. It's great for that. I
refer to it when I have a question.
But actually I picked up this book with no prior knowledge of
SQL (except that I knew it was for doing database stuff) and
learned enough to get started in a couple of days. The intro
is great for that.
The great thing about this book is that it covers the four
major SQL implementations in a relatively unbiased fashion.
This is nice because if you switch from one to another you
don't have to go looking for a new book. (Otherwise, you
would; as you will see from reading this book, the various
implementations differ considerably and also differ from
the unimplemented standard, which the book also covers.)
This book is not, and is not intended to be, a tutorial for
people who are utterly unfamiliar with the very concept of
a database, but it's okay to be utterly unfamiliar with SQL.
This book also is not a strategy guide for how to plan and
organise your database; this is an _implementation_ book.
As such, it doesn't cover things like deciding which data
to put in which table, when to create another table and
when to create an entirely separate database, or that sort
of thing. What it does tell you is what query syntax you
need to create and interact with your database, your tables,
and the data in your tables. It also explains datatypes,
because they vary considerably between the different SQL
implementations, and table types and the various attributes
(indeces and whatnot).
Additionally, this book is not a security guide. It does
include information about permissions, but only in terms of
the syntax used, not in terms of strategy.

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For programmers, analysts, and database administrators, SQL in a Nutshell is the essential reference for the SQL language used in today's most popular database products. This new edition clearly documents every SQL command according to the latest ANSI standard, and details how those commands are implemented in Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Oracle 11g, and the MySQL 5.1 and PostgreSQL 8.3 open source database products. You'll also get a concise overview of the Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) model, and a clear-cut explanation of foundational RDBMS concepts -- all packed into a succinct, comprehensive, and easy-to-use format. This book provides:

Background on the Relational Database Model, including current and previous SQL standards
Fundamental concepts necessary for understanding relational databases and SQL commands
An alphabetical command reference to SQL statements, according to the SQL2003 ANSI standard
The implementation of each command by MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server
An alphabetical reference of the ANSI SQL2003 functions, as well as the vendor implementations
Platform-specific functions unique to each implementation

Beginning where vendor documentation ends, SQL in a Nutshell distills the experiences of professional database administrators and developers who have used SQL variants to support complex enterprise applications. Whether SQL is new to you, or you've been using SQL since its earliest days, you'll get lots of new tips and techniques in this book.

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Database in Depth: Relational Theory for Practitioners Review

Database in Depth: Relational Theory for Practitioners
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Over the last week or so, I've been reading C. J. Date's book Database In Depth - Relational Theory for Practitioners (O'Reilly). While it's a well-done title, it's the type of book I have a hard time reading...
Introduction; Relations Versus Types; Tuples And Relations; Relation Variables; Relational Algebra; Integrity Constraints; Database Design Theory; What Is The Relational Model?; A Little Bit Of Logic; Suggestions For Further Reading; Index
C. J. Date, along with E. F. Codd (the acknowledged "father" of relational database theory), are probably the two most influential individuals in this field. Much of what we know and practice in today's RDBMS packages all goes back to the work these two have done. Rather than write a textbook style discussion of the finer points of database theory, Date has used this book to update some of his thinking and to consolidate a number of his talks and writings of late. For serious students of relational database concepts, I'd consider this the latest "must read" to keep up with current thinking by one of the masters.
Having said that, I had a hard time slogging through the material. I tend to gravitate to technical reading material that is practical and understandable. Debates over finer points of arcane minutia will cause me to zone out quickly. Unfortunately, I felt that way through a lot of this book. There is a lot of solid technical material here, and it's definitely geared towards serious readers. Date doesn't have a lot of kind words to say about how database vendors have implemented the relational model, nor does he feel SQL is a good thing. I, on the other hand, figure the packages are what they are, and you had better learn to use them to create the systems needed by your customers. That's probably why I'm a developer and not a system architect. Reading a number of pages on why Date and Codd disagree on whether nulls are valid or allowed doesn't do much for me. They're there, you need to understand them, and then you need to move on. Another hard part for me was the heavy emphasis on mathematical proofs and such. Since I don't have that type of background, I'm quickly lost...
Even though I wasn't completely enamored with the book, I still think it is a good title. For the right reader, this will be material that they will benefit from. For the average person who got training on Oracle or DB2 and understand basic relational database theory, this may be a bit more difficult to get through...

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This book sheds light on the principles behind the relational model, which is fundamental to all database-backed applications--and, consequently, most of the work that goes on in the computing world today.Database in Depth: The Relational Model for Practitioners goes beyond the hype and gets to the heart of how relational databases actually work.

Ideal for experienced database developers and designers, this concise guide gives you a clear view of the technology--a view that's not influenced by any vendor or product.Featuring an extensive set of exercises, it will help you:

understand why and how the relational model is still directly relevant to modern database technology (and will remain so for the foreseeable future)
see why and how the SQL standard is seriously deficient
use the best current theoretical knowledge in the design of their databases and database applications
make informed decisions in their daily database professional activities
Database in Depth will appeal not only to database developers and designers, but also to a diverse field of professionals and academics, including database administrators (DBAs), information modelers, database consultants, and more.Virtually everyone who deals with relational databases should have at least a passing understanding of the fundamentals of working with relational models.
Author C.J. Date has been involved with the relational model from its earliest days.An exceptionally clear-thinking writer, Date lays out principle and theory in a manner that is easily understood. Few others can speak as authoritatively the topic of relational databases as Date can.

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Modelling Armoured Vehicles (Osprey Modelling) Review

Modelling Armoured Vehicles (Osprey Modelling)
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Any one that wishes to improve they're modeling skills this is a very good book. Not only on the Models covered, but it also gives ideas on how to improve others. The simple to follow step by step instructions on how to detail the subjects in the book can be used on any model.

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A central resource to all armor modelers from the complete beginner to the more experienced modeler, this book details all the steps involved in creating a realistic and attractive model armored vehicle. Gary Edmundson and his colleagues take the reader through all the steps required in armor modeling, from the basic stage of putting the kit together, through to the intricacies of texturing and elaborate paint schemes, finishing with how to display your model.Each chapter is illustrated with a range of different models covering the whole spectrum of armor modelling, including both Second World War Axis and Allied armor as well as more modern subjects. The authors also cover specific techniques and subject areas in which they individually excel, highlighting the different tools and approaches required for each individual discipline. Lavishly illustrated with over 250 images, this book contains all the detailed, step-by-step information you need to become an expert armor modeler.

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Data Quality: The Field Guide Review

Data Quality: The Field Guide
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I like this book quite a bit because although it's not a huge doorstop of a tome in terms of length, it's quite complete and thorough. Some data quality books cover management aspects, some the technical aspects, and some take other angles. This book takes a look at all of the different angles on data quality and sums them up into a very nice package.

One of the things I liked about it is the section on social aspects of data quality, since so many technical people I work with have a great idea but aren't able to implement it for lack of understanding of the social aspects of working on data quality projects. Another is a part where Redman goes through the process of how data quality is tracked over time, to see if things are improving, and the way that he draws a distinction between records that are "perfect", and records that are "usable", which points out some differences that are important. There is even a very relevant section on data quality problems in the US elections of 2000.

The nice thing about this field guide is that it should have everything an organization needs to do some serious data quality work (including even middle management roles and responsibilities). I think it's a very solid book that would be a great addition to data manager's and other tech manager's libraries.

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Can any subject inspire less excitement than "data quality"? Yet a moment's thought reveals the ever-growing importance of quality data. From restated corporate earnings, to incorrect prices on the web, to the bombing of the Chinese Embassy, the media reports the impact of poor data quality on a daily basis. Every business operation creates or consumes huge quantities of data. If the data are wrong, time, money, and reputation are lost. In today's environment, every leader, every decision maker, every operational manager, every consumer, indeed everyone has a vested interest in data quality.Data Quality: The Field Guide provides the practical guidance needed to start and advance a data quality program. It motivates interest in data quality, describes the most important data quality problems facing the typical organization, and outlines what an organization must do to improve. It consists of 36 short chapters in an easy-to-use field guide format. Each chapter describes a single issue and how to address it. The book begins with sections that describe why leaders, whether CIOs, CFOs, or CEOs, should be concerned with data quality. It explains the pros and cons of approaches for addressing the issue. It explains what those organizations with the best data do. And it lays bare the social issues that prevent organizations from making headway. "Field tips" at the end of each chapter summarize the most important points. Allows readers to go directly to the topic of interestProvides web-based material so readers can cut and paste figures and tables into documents within their organizations Gives step-by-step instructions for applying most techniques and summarizes what "works"

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Hibernate: A Developer's Notebook Review

Hibernate: A Developer's Notebook
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This book is not intended as a comprehensive/blow-by-blow tutorial. It is a part of o'reilly's new 'notebook' series which is intended as a VERY brief intro to a new technology for experienced developers.
This book is for folks who are pretty experienced with Java and databases, and its intention is to provide a very high-level fast-paced into to hibernate.
In my opinion, it does these things well. I've got about 9 years experience with Java, and about 15 years with SQL/databases, and about 15 years commercial development experience. I've never used hibernate, and I decided to use it in a project. I'm in a HUGE hurry, and I needed to get up to speed FAST. This book got me there. In this sense, I think the book succeeds very well.
There are plenty of spots where I needed additional help, and a quick web search or a quick jump out to hibernates reference documentation (hibernate.org) was all that was required.
This book does what it intends. If you need hand-holding, detailed instructions, or in-depth tutorials, find another book. (And as far as I know, there aren't any).

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Do you enjoy writing software, except for the database code? Hibernate:A Developer's Notebook is for you.

Database experts may enjoy fiddling with SQL, but you don't have to--the rest of the application is the fun part. And even database experts dread the tedious plumbing and typographical spaghetti needed to put their SQL into a Java program. Hibernate: A Developers Notebook shows you how to use Hibernate to automate persistence: you write natural Java objects and some simple configuration files, and Hibernate automates all the interaction between your objects and the database.You don't even need to know the database is there, and you can change from one database to another simply by changing a few statements in a configuration file.

Hibernate: A Developer's Notebook walks you through the ins and outs of using Hibernate, from installation and configuration, to complex associations and composite types. Two chapters explore ways to write sophisticated queries, which you can express either through a pure Java API, or with an SQL-inspired, but object-oriented, query language. Don't let that intimidate you though: one of the biggest surprises in working with Hibernate is that for many of the common real-world application scenarios, you don't need an explicit query at all.

If you've needed to add a database backend to your application, don't put it off.It's much more fun than it used to be, and Hibernate: A Developer's Notebook shows you why.

Here's what a few reviewers had to say:

"I'm sitting on an airplane after finishing Hibernate: A Developer's Notebook.It's rare to find a book on a new Java technology that you can get through on a domestic flight.That this notebook effectively and succinctly tackles object-relational mapping makes it, and Hibernate, even more impressive.Many books in this category would need to be checked luggage.With this book, you travel first class." --Mike Clark

"A simple persistence framework deserves a simple book, and this one delivers. The examples are well described and easy to understand, yet sophisticated enough to demonstrate Hibernate in a real-world context. Jim, I'm a new fan."--Bruce Tate

About the new Developer's Notebook Series from O'Reilly: Developer's Notebooks are a new book series covering important new tools for software developers.Developer's Notebooks stress example over explanation and practice over theory. They are about learning by doing; by experimenting with tools and discovering what works."All lab, no lecture," with a thoughtful lab partner to guide the way.

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UML 2.0 in Action: A project-based tutorial: A detailed and practical walk-through showing how to apply UML to real world development projects Review

UML 2.0 in Action: A project-based tutorial: A detailed and practical walk-through showing how to apply UML to real world development projects
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First of all, why learning UML? Mainly because the Unified Modeling Language is maybe the best-known standardized graphical notation you can use to create an abstract model of a system. With complex systems, you can not rely on ad-hoc graphical representations.
Then, how to choose a good and practical book for learning UML 2.0? This is a tough task, as major publishers have lots of books on UML, some of them extremely complex and pricey.
Given that I was only able to understand very basic concepts of UML diagrams, I always wanted to truly learn UML, but had no time, nor the obligation to do it. That's a pity, as I often find myself in lack of a standardized way to express the relationships that govern a particular process.
A book has therefore to be chosen by its practical aspect, not the comprehensiveness. It's better to be able to learn "just enough UML" to get a different perspective and to get your job done, than to be discouraged by a thick bible you don't even dare to open!
My candidates included:
-- "UML 2 and the Unified Process : Practical Object-Oriented Analysis and Design (2nd Edition)" from Addison-Wesley, which has good references both as a practical book and as a reference book. I however find it unappropriate that it insisted on using commercial UML tools from Rational Rose, MagicDraw and Interactive Objects. I don't want them, I just want the UML course!
-- Many Amazon.com visitors decided to buy the "UML Bible" instead. No kidding, why should I opt for a "clear and accessible... err... 940-page book?!"
-- A much more tempting choice is Kendall Scott's "Fast Track UML 2.0". The author has great references, the book itself is supposed to only capture the essential information from the complexity of UML 2.0 (and it's cheap too!), but Amazon.com's visitors insist on the proofreading errors in the book, even if they seem to have been addressed by the author, at least in part. I stayed in doubt though... even if I have previously bought from Apress and their books are good.
I can't remember now exactly how, but the next thing that came in my browser was "UML 2.0 in Action: A project-based tutorial", from Packt Publishing -- I've written about them two weeks ago on my blog.
This book is a translation of the German original 3rd edition of "UML 2.0 projektorientiert", from Galileo Computing.
To clarify a situation with Galileo's book's page on Amazon.de: the criticism over some errors are referring to the first edition -- things are now corrected. Packt's translation follows the latest available German edition.
We could take a look on what Amazon.com's readers have to say about the book from Packt. The only review to date comes from a Top 500 reviewer, who notes:
-- "UML can be a rather daunting subject if you try and look at the entire thing at once. But if you can distill down the items that are used most often, it becomes much more manageable. That's the goal of Packt Publishing's book UML 2.0 In Action - A Project Based Tutorial."
-- "UML 2.0 In Action will have you understand much more (and much more quickly) than you might otherwise figure out..."
What I've got with my purchase? A book, what else. This is not the cheapest book ever seen for its 229 pages (the German edition has 288 pages because of a slightly different layout). The only drawback compared to the German book is that the English one is paperback instead of hardcover and lacks the color A2-sized poster with diagrams and models. But this is easy to explain due to the printing process (see below).
The free shipping took seven days sharp from Birmingham (UK) to Brasov (Romania), and the Royal Mail stamp was labeled GBP3.39 (about US$6).
The cover is attractive and optimistic (orange, lime green and black make a perfect combination). The printing is somewhat less-than-perfect, and an educated eye would say the pages are printed on a laser printer... which they actually are! The printing house is Lightning Source, the world leader in Printing On Demand -- and that makes it all clear. To be able to print and ship from 3 different locations, traditional printing may be costly. Contrary to the first guess, printing on demand a book like this one (248 physical pages plus the covers) should only cost something like $6 in quantities of 500. About 50% of the price you paid is to be split between operational costs of the publisher, marketing, royalties, and the profit.
What I liked with this book in the first place? I mostly loved that it doesn't claim that "UML is a diagramming language meant to describe and document object-oriented software systems."
As I personally believe that UML is not only for IT projects, but also for any business process, this book gives me full satisfaction by saying: ?UML can be used to model a variety of systems: software systems, business systems, or any other system.?
To prove it, the book purposely limits its scope to the most useful and used parts of the UML, without claiming the completeness. The examples are deliberately took from the real life and are not treating the development of a software application, as you might be expecting! They do however address the modeling of IT systems (Chapter 4) and system integration (Chapter 5).
If you're taking for simple a business system consisting in an airport, with passengers, passenger services, all the possible situations, interactions, and involved information, well... think again! The describing of the functioning and organization of the "UML Airport" is the pretext of the whole book and it's quite an inspired choice: you can not claim you couldn't understand something because of "insufficient programming experience" -- no programming experience is required!
Three models are actually described and analyzed in the book:
-- the model of the business system (passengers, employees, business processes);
-- the model of the IT system dealing with the passenger services business system;
-- the model of the system integration of all these into the environment, including the connections with the external world.
As the book is fortunately good enough to be understood by business analysts, not only by software analysts, the class is defined at page 133 (Chapter 4, the IT systems) as ?a relevant concept from the domain, a set of persons, objects, or ideas that are depicted in the IT system?.
At the business system level, the Class Diagrams introduced at page 87 only rely on definitions from pp. 82-83:
-- the class "Worker", a stereotype ?used to describe the roles of those people who execute business processes or who are involved in execution of business processes?;
-- the class "Business Object", indirectly defined as being ?handled (utilized, controlled, manipulated, produced, etc.) by workers?.
I will not tell you the whole story, as I already have in my mind's eyes plenty of airplanes and check-in employees :-), I will only note that the book uses a very American/International English language and spelling, rather than a British one (it even writes "etc." without the ending point, as in the Merriam-Webster: "etc").
A typical software-oriented scholastic UML course would probably introduce at least 9 of the 13 types of UML diagrams , focusing on the "mandatory" 6 ones (marked with (?)), in this order:
-- Use Case Diagrams (?)
-- Class Diagrams (?)
-- Sequence Diagrams (?)
-- Communication Diagrams (?) (formerly Collaboration Diagrams)
-- State Diagrams (?)
-- Activity Diagrams (?)
-- Component Diagrams
-- Deployment Diagrams
-- Object Diagrams
Since the book describes an easier to understand busines process, it introduces concepts in this sequence:
-- Use Case Diagrams (?)
-- Activity Diagrams (?)
-- Sequence Diagrams (?)
-- Package Diagrams
-- Class Diagrams (?)
-- Use Case Sequence Diagrams -- a special type of (mixed) Sequence Diagrams advocated by the book!
-- Statechart Diagrams (a.k.a. State Machine Diagrams)
-- Communication Diagrams (?)
Quite logical, if you read the book -- even a little too advanced, as many simple processes can be described avoiding package diagrams. And definitely originalin my eyes as I didn't knew about the "Use Case Sequence Diagrams!"
System Integration (Chapter 5) requires some more terminology. It's time to find out that the 'events' you were using, together with the associated 'reference data', are nothing else but 'messages'. Or even 'documents' if they're XML-fied. (The book will not get too technical, don't worry.)
Overall, a pleasant and instructive experience, still awaiting for my time to explore, analyze and understand all the diagrams and the concepts. As many people consider UML to be too bloated, too fine-grained in many aspects, this book shows how you can only use what you really need of UML 2.0.
A 4.7 stars book, if that level of granularity was possible.

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If you've read the UML documentation or a guide to the UML syntax, but don't feel you really know where to start with UML on a live project, then this unique book is what you need. Written as a practical case study, the book sets out to give you the intuitive feel for UML you need to confidently add it to your core development toolkit. The authors walk through a rich analysis and design scenario, explaining which parts of UML to use, and how to use them. The emphasis is on the systematic and practical application of UML to real business cases. The book was written for business analysts, technical architects and developers. It does not require detailed programming knowledge, nor is prior experience of UML mandatory. It shows how, with UML, simple models of business processes and specification models can be created and read with little effort.

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An Introduction to Data Structures and Algorithms (Progress in Theoretical Computer Science) Review

An Introduction to Data Structures and Algorithms (Progress in Theoretical Computer Science)
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If you have cut your teeth on Donald Knuth's classic three volumes, "The Art of Computer Programming", and you want more detail, at a similar level of complexity, then consider Storer's book.
It delves into lists, recursion, trees, graphs, heaps and sets. Like Knuth, Storer thoughtfully supplies an extensive list of questions at the end of each chapter that will greatly deepen your appreciation of the field if you tackle them. Ok, he doesn't give answers, but think of that as greater incentive on your part to solve them. There are almost 400 questions in the book.
The teaching style is similar to Knuth, in that it has all the rigour needed by an algorithm designer like yourself, without drowning you in epsilon-delta ultra rigour like a pure maths text.
Note that the only code fragments are in pseudocode. This should not be a problem for you. I am assuming you are experienced enough that what you need is understanding of an algorithm, and that manually converting it to code is straightforward and a purely secondary issue.
The take home message is that this is excellent for anyone doing serious programming.

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Data structures and algorithms are presented at the college level in a highly accessible format that presents material with one-page displays in a way that will appeal to both teachers and students. The thirteen chapters cover: Models of Computation, Lists, Induction and Recursion, Trees, Algorithm Design, Hashing, Heaps, Balanced Trees, Sets Over a Small Universe, Graphs, Strings, Discrete Fourier Transform, Parallel Computation. Key features: Complicated concepts are expressed clearly in a single page with minimal notation and without the "clutter" of the syntax of a particular programming language; algorithms are presented with self-explanatory "pseudo-code." * Chapters 1-4 focus on elementary concepts, the exposition unfolding at a slower pace. Sample exercises with solutions are provided. Sections that may be skipped for an introductory course are starred. Requires only some basic mathematics background and some computer programming experience. * Chapters 5-13 progress at a faster pace. The material is suitable for undergraduates or first-year graduates who need only review Chapters 1 -4. * This book may be used for a one-semester introductory course (based on Chapters 1-4 and portions of the chapters on algorithm design, hashing, and graph algorithms) and for a one-semester advanced course that starts at Chapter 5. A year-long course may be based on the entire book. * Sorting, often perceived as rather technical, is not treated as a separate chapter, but is used in many examples (including bubble sort, merge sort, tree sort, heap sort, quick sort, and several parallel algorithms). Also, lower bounds on sorting by comparisons are included with the presentation of heaps in the context of lower bounds for comparison-based structures. * Chapter 13 on parallel models of computation is something of a mini-book itself, and a good way to end a course. Although it is not clear what parallel

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Core Data: Apple's API for Persisting Data on Mac OS X Review

Core Data: Apple's API for Persisting Data on Mac OS X
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Word of warning: not one of the 5-star reviewers actually worked through examples in this book then reviewed it.
It's not a 5-star book. It's a 5-star topic, and sadly (very very sadly) it's the only book I know of actually on that topic.
I think the author's intentions are good, and there's a lot of useful info. I'm grateful to have it.
But all of that has to be balanced against the maddening b.s. of trying to actually follow his examples. You know, to actually do what you're supposed to do with a programming book.
Up to chapter 5, it's a pretty good book. If you download the code from the publisher's web site, you'll discover that he names some of his objects differently than you would if you follow his instructions strictly. This actually will create problems for you potentially when you try and troubleshoot problems in your own code, but they're minor. Annoying and needless, but minor.
Then you get to chapter 5, and it's really not so minor anymore. Grab the book (print version or PDF) and work through the examples in chapter 5, and you will have a broken program. Don't take my word for it. Check out the forums and the errata page on their website, and you'll see others reporting the same problem. There is a complicated data migration described. After walking us through a fairly trivial example, he then goes on to give us a much more complicated version. He leaves large portions of that to the reader, and just goes instead for code. The problem is that he doesn't even give us some of the most important code. He shows us a very important ObjC method to add to the AppDelegate... but never even mentions the major alterations you need to make in another method to make that new one get called.
Perhaps it's unreasonable to expect programming book editors to actually go through the examples to see if it works. Perhaps it's unreasonable to expect all books to be as well-done as Hillegass' book.
What's sad is that I've been waiting for this kind of book ever since Core Data came out. And there are some very nice ideas here. I'm gonna slog through the rest and hope it gets better, because the topic is really important. If you plan to buy this book and really work through the examples, I think I'd still recommend it (since there's nothing else). But word to the wise: it's gonna require a LOT more work than a properly written and edited programming book would have.

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Whether you are targeting Mac OS X or the iPhone, at some point your Cocoa application is probably going to need to persist data. You could struggle with SQLite, generate XML, or create your own binary format. Or, you can save time and energy by taking advantage of Apple's Core Data API instead.Core Data makes it easy for you to work with object graphs and to persist data-but there are plenty of pitfalls and issues to watch out for. This book shows you everything from versioning to integrating with Quick Look, Sync Services, and Spotlight. You'll see how to boost performance and work in multithreaded applications. You'll work with Core Data on both the desktop and the iPhone. By the end of Core Data, you'll have built a full-featured application, gained a complete understanding of Core Data, and learned how to integrate your application into OS X. As an extra bonus, you'll see numerous recipes that are useful in unusual situations, or even in places where you wouldn't have thought to use the Core Data API before. It will become another indispensable tool in your kit.

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Building Financial Models (McGraw-Hill Finance & Investing) Review

Building Financial Models (McGraw-Hill Finance and Investing)
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Fantastic financial modeling book! This should be the text (or at least supplemental) for any serious corporate finance or financial modeling class. I wish it would've been metioned in my MBA classes.
The book covers basics of Excel and accounting so you don't need to be an expert on either subject.
The *best* part are the highly-detailed, step-by-step, in-depth models that show the reader how to:
(1) Link the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows
(2) Repay debt via cash sweep
(3) Make a dynamic model financial model that can be applied to many situations
I have several financial modeling books, a couple of them are very good. This book is peerless as it walks the reader through the modeling process, from beginning to end.
I highly recommend it.

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The ability to effectively create and interpret financial models is one of the most valued skills in corporate finance--from Wall Street to Main Street. Now, the acclaimed guide to designing, building, and implementing valuation projection models is fully revised and expanded to keep finance and accounting professionals competitive in today's marketplace.

This second edition of Building Financial Models continues the tradition of its predecessor by providing a hands-on approach to creating a core model that is supported by broad coverage of cornerstone accounting and finance principles. Additionally, this updated volume features:
Entirely new coverage of discounted cash flow (DCF) modeling
Excel formulas for making powerful calculations within the spreadsheet
In-depth explanations of both the principles and mechanics of projection models

Building Financial Models helps readers practice good thinking and apply sound knowledge of their tools--two key attributes to producing robust and easy-to-use models. This practical guide takes you step by step through the entire process of developing a projection model, with a full chapter dedicated to each phase. By the end, you will have a working, dynamic spreadsheet financial model for making projections for industrial and manufacturing companies.

Furthermore, this Second Edition provides the vocabulary and syntax of model building so you can tailor core models to fit any size company and allow for quick input changes to test sensitivity. The companion website www.buildingfinancialmodel.com offering example spreadsheets will give you a head start on developing your own models.

A flexible and successful financial projection model does more than just add numbers--it explains the complex relationships between those numbers and illuminates ways to use those associations to add value to an enterprise. Building Financial Models is the only book you need to create and implement a fluid financial projection model that is both state of the art and user friendly.

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