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Antonio Oliveira (Aveiro, Portugal)

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The Designer's Guide to VHDL (Systems on Silicon)
The Designer's Guide to VHDL (Systems on Silicon)
by Peter J. Ashenden
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small focus on design and implementation, 1 May 2008
This book is a great reference as far as describing the VHDL sintax goes. However, the "design" in the title didn't match my expectations. There is little focus on actual design, synthesis and implementation, the most part of the examples are only suitable for simulation, not implementation in reconfigurable systems.
For instance, the book does not explain how signals can infer laches or flip-flops or even simple interconnects, depending on the constructs where they appear. This a very basic subject that shouldn't go unmentioned on a Designer's book... Also, there is way too much topics about non synthesisable data types and operations, with only one meager chapter about synthesis near the end.
The book serves well as a reference for the VHDL syntax, albeit the language and syntax diagrams aren't the best choice for clearness, but it isn't suited for VHDL based design at all.
There is an awfull lot of better alternatives out there.

Bach: Cantatas, BWV140 & 147
Bach: Cantatas, BWV140 & 147
Price: £8.45

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid performance of the most well known Bach cantatas, 8 Mar. 2007
The performance found on this CD is the best I've heard so far.

My favourite part is the openning choral, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" which starts with a breathtaking dialogue between strings and winds.

Choir and instruments are well balanced and allow for a very pleasant listening experience.

These are probably the most famous choral works from Bach, and they are a good starting point for anyone wanting to know his work.

CSS Cookbook
CSS Cookbook
by Christopher Schmitt
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There are much better alternatives, 26 Oct. 2006
This review is from: CSS Cookbook (Paperback)
As a cookbook, it doesn't shine very much. The examples provided are averagely useful at best and it's not a "pure" CSS cookbook. Some examples include javascript and CSS is only indirectly related to them.

When working with HTML/CSS I found the combination of CSS, The Definitive Guide and some quick googling much more productive than with this cookbook.

The biggest advantage that I can see in it is that you can read the material offline and some trivial techniques are easily accessed. However It doesn't provide the recipes that we need for more complex designs by a long shot.

The 3 stars are mostly for the clean structure of the book; a section about the problem exposes clearly what our goals are, and then the code is shown along with an explanation/discussion of the technique employed.

It's not an essential resource about CSS, there are a lot more places where you can get better ideas for solutions to more complex (and useful) CSS problems, so I can't recommend it at all...

Circuit Design with VHDL
Circuit Design with VHDL
by Volnei A. Pedroni
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intruductory course to VHDL, 26 Oct. 2006
This book is really good as an introduction to VHDL. Although it won't be very easy to follow without any previous knowledge of VHDL, it doesn't require much from the reader to get started with.

It covers mainly VHDL 93 and has a big focus on synthesis oriented code.

The chapters about signals and variables, concurrent code and sequential code are particularly well written and are a great help to realize the sometimes fuzzy distinction between such concepts. It will be of great usefulness in a College course about VHDL.

Don't expect it to teach any digital systems concepts at all; the author assumes that these are known matters and focuses only on the VHDL language instead and how it relates with those concepts.

Later on the book there are plenty of complete system examples, as well as brief tutorials about Xilinx ISE and ALTERA design tools.

I definitely recommend it.

CSS Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly))
CSS Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly))
by Eric A. Meyer
Edition: Paperback

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but comprehensive., 24 Mar. 2006
It starts with a VERY brief explanation of CSS selectors, inheritance, the box model, inline model, floating, positioning and the table model. Note that these don't substitute in any way the text in CSS, The Definitive Guide.
Then comes the CSS 1,2 and 2.1 properties reference, with the properties, values and their meaning. A very brief example is given for the property but it is only a snippet showing a selector using that property, nothing more. It is easy to search and, is small enough to be carried anywhere without causing much hassle.
It has the 10% that allows to do 90% of the work and is extremelly usefull to have around when writing Style Sheets.

Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide
Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide
by Eric A. Meyer
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all..., 23 Mar. 2006
This book is the reference to anyone who wants to make good use of CSS for webdesign.
I didn't have much knowledge of CSS when I started reading it but found it quite easy to understand. Every property is covered in detail and, although Eric doesn't focus on browser support, it mentions compatibility issues on the most relevant properties and behaviour of different browsers.
The Box model and the inline layout are heavilly covered. This is the part where I found the book a little harder to follow. Floating rules are very well explained.
Through the book, Eric throws in some very simple examples to illustrate the use of one or another property. Don't expecting anything like a cookbook, though.
If you prefer the recipe type of book, this book isn't for you, CSS Cookbook would be a better choice. If you like to experiment as you go and check the results, then this is definatelly your ultimate resource.

Writing CGI Applications with Perl
Writing CGI Applications with Perl
by Brent Michalski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £35.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for CGI programmers., 23 Mar. 2006
Although I didn't finish its reading yet, the book has revealed itself very clear and easy to read and follow.
It is not the copy-and-paste type of book, although it provides some working examples that can be used in real life applications. Instead it covers the subject, teaches how to do stuff, and gives a simple example to illustrate it.
Nearly every chunk of code is heavily explained, line by line, which sometimes can be a bit confusing because we don't have an initial idea of what the code would do, because it's interleaved with the explanation text. In the end of the chapter it has the listing of the same code, without the explanations.
The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is the fact that the part focusing on tainted mode and tainted variables could be made better. This is an important issue for security reasons and seems to lack some focus on the book. This doesn't mean it is bad; it is just not as good as the rest.
As a final note, the book presumes that the reader already has some knowledge of perl (no need to be a hacker, though) and if html as well (specially forms). Therefore, don't expect to learn perl or html in this book, buy it if you need to learn CGI.

Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux: Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, A
Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux: Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, A
by Mark G. Sobell
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars covers nearly everything about linux, 15 Dec. 2004
This book is probably everything you need to keep your box up and running.
The title does not really reflect the contents of the book. Troughout the chapters we find instrutions to handle the tasks using RH's tools, but the in depth description is made using each service's own tools, which are standard and can be used on any distro. There aren't boxes explaining differences between Enterprise Linux and Fedora, these differences are 99% the difference between "system-config-..." and "redhat-config-..." command names.
Chapters are covered in a logical manner. We start with a brief introducion to the Linux World, followed by a chapter dedicated to instalation, including hints for using LVM. Througout the book there are not many pictures, only in two chapters about the Graphical interface. Configuration and administration tasks are performed on the command line and there are chapters for everything, from user managment to kernel recompilation. It covers the most commonly used servers, I could post them here but it's better to look at the TOC on the editor's site, it's all there.
It is easy to read and handles greatly avoiding computer jargon.
It has nearly 1200 pages, and manages seamlessly to include information of how to work with linux.
To advanced users this isn't the best choice since it can't cover all aspects in depth only in 1200 pages. Anyway, if you look for advanced usage instructions about some subject you are likely buying a book totally dedicated to that subject.
It serves specially as a user manual, and a very complete one. Where it doesn't include everything that there is to know about something there are links to resources online or other books that have further detailed information about that subject.
It brings Fedora Core 2, the full version, not an editor's truncated edition.
Together with Fedora installation CD's it makes a bundle well worth its price.

Programming Perl
Programming Perl
by Jon Orwant
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE reference, but not to begin with..., 15 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Programming Perl (Paperback)
This book is an in-depth and comprehensive reference about Perl Language. Despite some depreciative comments I've seen around, it is very well written and is a joy to read.
I didn't give it 5 starts because I started with Perl with this book, which was not such a good idea, Learning Perl (or a similar book) might have been a wiser choice. Nevertheless It's not impossible to start with this one, specially if you already program using another language, just don't get lost in the middle of all details about some specific issue.
You might spend more time than you wanted to start writing some usefull program but after you write it the book gives all you need to know to unleash the power of Perl.

HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible
HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible
by Steven M. Schafer
Edition: Paperback

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent reference for begginers and intermediate, 25 Oct. 2004
This book is very easy to read.
The chapters are very well arranged and cover the subjects in a sequential manner.
It starts with plain HTML formatting and later on introduces CSS, after we are familiar with the HTML tags. This arrangement allows to learn easily to build your pages without complicating from the very beggining. If you are familiar with HTML you can just skip a few chapters but I recomed reading them anyway, because there is always something usefull to learn from them.
It's an excellent companoin book to have near the computer when writing HTML or even dynamic pages.

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