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Rafael Jay

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5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money, 20 Sept. 2008
I bought this to go to a festival. It is light and rolls up small, so is ideal for transporting from the car to the camping areas. It's incredibly easy to put up, just slip the poles into the sleeves, bang a peg in at each corner and clip the ventilation cover over the top. Unless it's really windy you don't need to bother with guy ropes. I'm 5'11 and I found it perfectly adequate for me plus a rucksack, but I reckon you'd have trouble fitting two people in with their bags. This is true of most alleged "two man" tents in my experience though. It rained a bit and the tent stayed perfectly waterproof. It was just as quick to take down as put up but at £11.99 you wouldn't feel too bad about abandoning it if it was tipping it down or you just couldn't be bothered.

Creative ZEN Vision:M 30GB MP3 / Multi-Media Player - Black††
Creative ZEN Vision:M 30GB MP3 / Multi-Media Player - Black††

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable, difficult to control, 24 Aug. 2007
It frequently crashes when in "random play all" mode, and I find the touchpad difficult to use even in "low sensitivity" mode - you never know if it's going to scroll through one or five albums in a row.

Illustrated History of Canada: Revised Edition
Illustrated History of Canada: Revised Edition
by C Brown
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good on the east, not so hot on the west, 6 May 2004
I bought this because I was going to British Columbia and Alberta. While these provinces do get some mention, the book is heavily biased towards eastern Canada - Ontario and Quebec and the eastern coast. I'm not sure whether this is a failing of the book or simply reflects the reality of Canada's history, but if you're interested in western Canada you probably want to look for something else.

C++ Gotchas: Avoiding Common Problems in Coding and Design (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing (Paperback))
C++ Gotchas: Avoiding Common Problems in Coding and Design (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing (Paperback))
by Stephen C. Dewhurst
Edition: Paperback
Price: £33.99

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good effort from Dewhurst, 8 July 2003
This book presents ninety nine bite-sized nuggets of C++ programming advice, and as such it is very much in the same mold as Exceptional C++ or Effective C++. However it differs from them in several ways. Firstly, is it problem-driven: each nugget consists of a common (or not so common) programming problem, together with a discussion of why it is a problem and how to avoid it. Secondly, it has a more comprehensive and intuitive structure. The issues discussed are divided into nine categories, starting with Basics (eg. excessive commenting, distinguishing between references and pointers) and proceeding through Syntax (eg. "for" statement variable declaration, maximal munch problems); The Preprocessor (avoid it); Conversions (eg. casting, slicing, void*); Initialization (eg. member initialization lists, non-local static initialization order); Memory and Resource Mangement (eg. overloading new and delete, auto_ptr); Polymorphism (eg. overloading vs overriding vs hiding, type codes); Class Design (eg. get/set interfaces, improper operator overloading); and Hierarchy Design (eg. public inheritance for code reuse, cosmic hierarchies). This breadth and organization of subject matter - starting from language basics and moving up to issues of object oriented design - make it feel like a really comprehensive survey of common C++ issues. Necessarily for a book of this kind, it covers much of the same ground as its predecessors, however C++ Gotchas does contain some information that I've not seen elsewhere - the use of translation-unit-local static "Schwarz counters" to control the order of non-local static initialization, for example. Finally, Dewhurst seems to have a slightly less "holier-than-thou" attitude towards programming than some other widely-read authors. Although his book contains the usual exhortations against "excessively clever" programming, he also takes obvious delight in sharing gems such as the fact that the predefined index operator is commutative, so "myIntArray[10]" is exactly equivalent to "10[myIntArray]". Ninety-nine is one of those "suspicious" numbers that makes me think a book has been written for concept rather than content. But not in this case. I recommend it to anyone who regularly programs in C++.

Notes on the Synthesis of Form (Harvard Paperbacks)
Notes on the Synthesis of Form (Harvard Paperbacks)
by C Alexander
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.95

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good explanation of the concepts behind complex design, 18 Aug. 2002
This book outlines an approach to designing complex artifacts. A design problem is considered as a set of potential "misfits" between the artifact (or "form") and its context. Each misfit can be considered as a binary variable - either it occurs (1) or it doesn't (0). Thus the perfect resolution of a design problem consists in creating an artifact which sets all the misfits to zero. Unfortunately misfits tend to affect one another - modifying the design to resolve one frequently causes others to reoccur. For example, designing a vacuum cleaner with the best available materials makes it reliable and effective, but also expensive. Alexander considers design problems in terms of the couplings between misfits. Certain patterns of couplings will lead to problems which are practically insoluble, because solving one part of them "breaks" another part of the solution. Beyond a certain level of complexity it becomes impossible to manage all the interacting misfits. The answer, according to Alexander, is to consider the problem is such a way that misfits can be grouped into subsystems, effectively smaller problems which can be solved independently, then combined with other subsystems to solve the initial large problem. If like me you are a software engineer then this should all sound very familiar. This book contains the best explanation of what coupling is and why you want to avoid it that I have come across. It also serves as a foundation for Alexander's later, more famous work on design patterns. This is not a "how to" book - it doesn't describe a detailed design method or development process. However it gave me an invaluable insight into some of the issues underlying the design of any complex artifact, including software, and as such I would recommend it to all software engineers.

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