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Mary (London England)

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Cole & Mason Inverta Flip 154 mm Chrome Salt Mill
Cole & Mason Inverta Flip 154 mm Chrome Salt Mill
Price: £11.23

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good mill; crap instruction leaflet., 14 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Nothing wrong with the product, but the instructions are naff: 'to refill, remove bung'. It took me a good ten minutes trying to remove the top before I discovered the rubber bung in the base of the unit. Sorted now.

The Spirit of '45 [DVD]
The Spirit of '45 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tony Benn
Offered by Dogwoof Ltd.
Price: £11.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real history for today's youth, 9 July 2013
This review is from: The Spirit of '45 [DVD] (DVD)
This film should be on the National Curriculum. It shows what we achieved in just five remarkable years and how those gains were attacked and dismantled over the next 40. Also contains the necessary warnings about what Atlee did wrong: replacing private with public bureaucracy. Real history, spoken in the words of ordinary people who lived through it.

Object-Oriented COBOL (SIGS: Advances in Object Technology)
Object-Oriented COBOL (SIGS: Advances in Object Technology)
by Edmund C. Arranga
Edition: Paperback
Price: £47.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best, 23 Oct 2012
This is just about the best book on object oriented COBOL yet to appear: does exactly what it says on the tin. A most useful contribution by these authors, thanks!

Rags and Robes
Rags and Robes
Price: £12.58

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossibly good!, 29 Nov 2010
This review is from: Rags and Robes (Audio CD)
This is about as far away from background music as you can get; almost every track demands the listener's attention. It is both utterly modern and deeply respectful of the folk tradition that developed from Victorian times to the 1960s.

I hesitated before buying it. I had heard McLennan's remarkable voice on the radio but there were too many songs that I already knew well and I felt that there might be needless duplication in my record collection. 'Tramps and Hawkers' is played in an unusual key and, with McLennan's intonations, is just different enough. But I feared that no-one could surpass Paul Brady's rendition of 'Arthur McBride' nor Paul Robeson's 'Joe Hill'. Well, of course, the latter is quite impossible but he does manage to provide refreshing new tempic insights into the McBride song. There are a few rather wonderful reworkings of relatively unknown Ewan MacColl songs and some rather good guitar instrumental arrangements, including an intriguing 'Auld Lang Syne' that seems to sit halfway between Davy Graham and John Dowland. His Rendition of the Burns poem, A Man's a Man, is a revelation and quite unmissable.

Unlike many contemporary 'folk' artists, this guy can actually write good songs and set them to perfect tunes. His own material is superb. Another Morning's Beggar easiy bears comparison with Ralph MacTell's 'Streets of London' and 'Yorkshire Regiment' manages to say more about Afghanistan and, indeed war in general, than a hundred news broadcasts.

Finally I have my eighth desert island disk to sit beside Handel's 'Semele', John Coltrane's 'Tanganyika Strut', 'Never Mind the Bollocks', The Flute, Phil Ochs Live, and all the rest. It's definitely my record of the year!

Jesus on Thyface: Social Networking for the Modern Messiah
Jesus on Thyface: Social Networking for the Modern Messiah
by Denise Haskew
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.37

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erudite and loads of fun, 19 Oct 2010
I looked at the Thyface website before reading the book; and I must say that the former does not do justice to the printed text. The artwork alone is quite superb.

But best of all are the often subtle historiographic references and brilliant jokes, both at the expense of the Abrahamic religiosi and the whole social networking style. I particularly chuckled over the photo gallery on one page that included Prophet Mohammed [No image] amongst the other mugshots.

Give it to your auntie for Christmas.

The Management of Consumer Credit: Theory and Practice
The Management of Consumer Credit: Theory and Practice
by Steven Finlay
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £78.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction for new entrants, 20 Oct 2009
This useful book provides a comprehensive introduction to the consumer credit industry and it's practices. It largely eschews the mathematical side of practice, although the author provides a useful appendix that presents some of the maths behind predictive models of consumer behaviour, mostly scoring and segmentation models. He claims that reading it requires undergraduate Maths, but I couldn't find much beyond what would be known to someone with A-level Statistics, the most advanced concepts being the scalar product of two vectors and the notion of covariance. More advanced techniques for statistical forecasting, optimization, simulation, and Markov models (for provisioning) are mentioned but no maths is presented.

The author provides much good practical advice, clearly based on his experience. E.g. he questions the wisdom of separating the marketing and risk functions within a company, pointing to the potential disasters that can follow. The book is pleasingly up-to-date despite being written before the effects of the sub-prime fiasco were so plainly evident, again evincing the author's industry involvement. His wisdom includes the wonderfully understated and prophetic: `There is also a tendency to be driven by short term goals focused on recruiting large numbers of new customers quickly, without sufficient thought being given to more strategic objectives based on long term profitability.'

There are a few minor faux pas; for example, a slightly flawed explanation of the concept of NPV, which is said to be based on inflation rather than interest rates, and a confusion over the use of `statistical techniques' and data mining. A glossary of terms and unexpanded abbreviations, such as APACS and IRB, would have been a useful addition to this text.

Highlights for me included a quite fascinating insight into the messages that fly around when one uses a credit card and a refreshingly concise explanation of the Basel II accord on capital adequacy.

I think the book could be ideal as the basis for a module on credit management within a Business Studies curriculum or for an induction course for new entrants to the industry. In fact, I began to feel, from the style, that much of it may have originated as a slide show for just such training. It is the ideal introduction to the topic for the less mathematically minded or for student who will go on to study the Maths later.

Metamodelling for Software Engineering
Metamodelling for Software Engineering
by César A. González Pérez
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £49.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Repays perseverance, 27 Jan 2009
This is a specialist monograph concerned with how to represent possible software engineering methods at the more abstract level commonly referred to as metamodelling. Such development methods can be described in the context of a metamodels. The book provides a very intense and detailed critique of current approaches (notably those of the Object Management Group: SPEM, MOF, etc.) and an introduction to an international standard for metamodelling: ISO/IEC 24744:2007. This comprises the Software Engineering Metamodel for Development Methodologies (SEMDM), a metamodel that makes use of an approach to defining methods based on the concept of a powertype (a type whose instances are types). SEMDM allows the integration of process, modelling and people aspects of methods. It is based on a standard previously adopted by the Australian national standards body and which was largely the work of the authors of this book and their collaborators.

The main criticisms of the OMG style are the separation of the process and product aspects of a method and the limitations it imposed by restricting the realizations between MOF layers to the mechanisms of instantiation. In place of this the authors propose the use of `clabjects': an ugly term that captures the idea that an object can display the properties of a type and an instance simultaneously (as is often the case with powertypes). Additionally, they claim that the powertype approach supports `run time' extensions to the type or class model: things that have not been foreseen by the method designers.

I found the first half of the book rather waffly and in places unconvincing; we don't really get to the point until Chapter 4, which presents the main critique. Chapter 5 then expounds the powertype approach while Chapter 6 presents its use within SEMDM. Chapter 7 then shows how to go about creating a method from the metamodel spec. An appendix proposes a notation for this and some related (and most useful) additional concepts, such as the assignment of degrees of duty to tasks - a concept that comes from the The OPEN Process Specification (The OPEN Process Specification (ACM Press)), although it originated in the development method created in the early 1990s for Swiss Bank Corporation.

As I said, the early chapters are a bit off-putting, from occasionally clumsy English (`regular' where they mean `normal') to badly chosen examples (Pet is better modelled as a rôle than as a class). Nevertheless, persevere to the end and you will find that this book is essential reading for anyone developing or tailoring a software development method.

Smart Enough Systems: How to Deliver Competitive Advantage by Automating Hidden Decisions
Smart Enough Systems: How to Deliver Competitive Advantage by Automating Hidden Decisions
by James Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely but non-technical, 7 Sep 2007
Up until recently, operational systems have been separated from decision support systems. The former manipulate data to control and support business functions while the latter transform and enhance data for the benefit of knowledge workers. These workers must then analyze the results and submit change requests to IT to get any requisite changes actioned. It is a slow and unpredictable process. As a result, process improvement only takes place at a coarse (or strategic) granularity; and the millions of customer-facing micro-decisions embedded in operational systems cannot be upgraded.

This book considers the appropriate response of modem companies to the convergence of several technologies around the issue of operational decision automation: BPM, data mining and analytics, SOA, Business Intelligence (BI) and performance monitoring, BAM (Business Activity Monitoring), data warehousing and business rules. Having said this, the book's clear emphasis is on the benefits of using business rules (separated from procedural code) enhanced with feedback from predictive analytic and monitoring software. Predictive analytic software comes in a variety of styles: statistical regression and clustering algorithms, neural nets and even good old linear programming (optimization) routines.

Although the authors clearly understand the technology side of things, they do not present it to the reader in sufficient depth for this understanding to be transferred. The technically inclined reader will therefore have to bone up on business rules management and analytic techniques in other volumes. Thus, the main beneficiaries from this work will be project managers and the like. The authors give very detailed listings of the criteria that project managers and change consultants will have to consider when adopting the recommended approach and managing its introduction.

The business rules philosophy is recast as `enterprise decision management' but, essentially, the arguments for EDM are much the same as might be found in any work on business rules. However, the change in emphasis is significant and valuable. How much business is lost, the authors ask, not because you don't know the rules but because your staff can't activate and apply them quickly, effectively, consistently and adaptively? What is needed is the encapsulation of such knowledge inside components that act as decision services (often in the SOA sense of the term).

The authors steer clear of the social implications of their arguments; e.g. whether it is `right' to automate certain decisions, especially when these are informed by cluster analysis and so on. I note, for example, that my local police force have determined that people who live in culs-de-sac are more likely to be criminals (I jest not). One wonders whether automatic body search of people arriving home to their dead-ends is really the right response. To be fair, the authors do imply that some caution is needed in sensitive cases.

My only other quibble was the book's extension of its argument to the real-time adaptive control of businesses. Clearly there are cases where this will work but, as any control engineer will attest, adaptive control often results in unstable and even chaotic behaviour, hunting, flip-flop, jerky response and so on. A common solution is to smooth the output by using fuzzy rulesets, but all the technology solutions considered herein do not support fuzzy rules. Therefore, some caution and further thought is required in this area.

This is a significant and timely book, spot on for almost anyone concerned with software development. Its core ideas are of critical importance to the modernization of IT and migration away from the dire state of current practice.

Reviewed by Ian Graham,

Business Rules and Information Systems: Aligning IT with Business Goals (Unisys)
Business Rules and Information Systems: Aligning IT with Business Goals (Unisys)
by Tony Morgan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £38.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book rules, 2 Dec 2003
This is one of the best books available on this subject. It is notably unique in being the only one not to come at the matter from a purely database perspective, emphasizing, as it does, the artificial intelligence aspects of the subject as well. The chapter on how to write unambiguous rules is especially useful. The book's only defect is that it contains no pointers to currently available software tools, but this will prevent the text from dating and is a reasonable decision on the part of the author. Highly recommended!

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