As my regular readers know, from time to time I use this blog to write about books: ones that I am reading, ones that I have read, and ones that I think are classics. Today’s blog entry is about the latest new technology books that I am currently reading.
First of all, I am in the process of deciding whether or not to upgrade my Microsoft Office suite. Right now, I am running Office 2003 and it continues to serve me reasonably well. Word, Excel and Powerpoint consume the lion’s share of my work, but I also have Access, OneNote, Outlook, Frontpage (which is no longer supported), and Visio. I am thinking about moving to Office 2010, but it could be rather costly what with my wife and I both having a desktop and a laptop.
OK, so what does that have to do with books, you might ask? Well, I’m currently reading two books on Office 2010. The first, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 Step by Step (Microsoft Press, ISBN 978-0-7356-2721-5) does a fine job of introducing the basics of Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Now I’ve been using these products for years, over the course of many versions, so some of the material is a bit too basic for me. But the book does a good job of showing off the new interfaces and features, while at the same time offering educational material for newbies.
For more in-depth coverage, check out Office 2010: The Missing Manual (O’Reilly, ISBN: 978-1-449-38240-7). This book offers a load of educational material, delivering useful morsels of information that was new even to someone who has been using Office for years. In addition to Word, Excel and Powerpoint, this book also covers Outlook and Access (as well as single chapters on Publisher and OneNote).
Both are useful books for the moderate to heavy user of Microsoft Office.
More along the lines of the data-focused theme of this blog, I have been enjoying John Ladley’s Making Enterprise Information Management Work for Business (Morgan Kaufmann, ISBN: 978-0-12-375695-4). This book is destined to be a data management classic as it guides business users on how to use data for business advantage. Sure, every manager out there parrots that trite cliché that “data is a business asset,” but after reading John’s new book these same business executives can understand how to make that cliché a reality.
The book is divided into two parts. The first section defines EIM, as well as explaining why it is required and identifying the business issues surrounding it. The second part can be used as a field guide for implementing EIM. It offers up methodologies, techniques, templates, and business case studies for integrating EIM into your business processes.
Another nice new data-focused book is MySQL High Availability (O’Reilly, ISBN: 978-0-596-80730-6) by Bell, Kindahl, and Thalmann. There are many MySQL books that are available, but this one focuses on features for achieving highly available MySQL implementations. The book’s authors are engineers who designed some of the features that are covered in the book. If you are looking to improve the uptime of your MySQL databases, MySQL High Availability is a must read.
And finally, we come to the 4th edition of Ubuntu For Non-Geeks: A Pain-Free, Get-Things-Done Guide (No Starch Press, ISBN: 978-1-59327-257-9). I have been reviewing Linux distributions trying to figure out which one to monkey around with, with my goal being to learn a bit more about Linux. My goal is not to become a Linux master, but to get a better working understanding of it. I had looked into Suse and Fedora, but never Ubuntu. This book, though, influenced me to take a closer look at Ubuntu. Ubuntu For Non-Geeks comes with a disc containing the current 8.04 version of Ubuntu, and I intend to install it on an old Dell desktop that I am not presently using.
Does the book merit its title? Is it for non-geeks? Well, sort of. I, admittedly, am a geek, and it seemed non-geeky to me. But would I give it to my Mother and expect her to be able to install and run Ubuntu? No way. My sister-in-law, who is not really a geek but a very competent PC user? Perhaps. The bottom line is that this is a good book for a non-Linux computer savvy person to learn and get up-to-speed with Ubuntu.
And so ends another installment of what is on my bookshelf. If you are interested in any of these books, just click the provided links to go to amazon for more information or to buy the books…