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url 2019-01-07 03:53
Expert Oracle Application Express (2nd Edition) – eBook for only $6

Found a really good deal on this Oracle PDF eBook on cTextBooks. While this goes for around $45 on Amazon Kindle, I was able to download the PDF version for only $6 :) :)


Win Win!

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photo 2019-01-03 16:29
Bergstrom and Dugatkin’s Evolution (2nd edition)

Bergstrom and Dugatkin’s Evolution (2nd edition) is a highly recommended textbook in many universities and colleges around the world for undergraduate and graduate courses in Evolution. It retails for $45 on Amazon but I found a much cheaper version on DuranBooks for only $12.


Students of this subject or even general biology would benefit greatly from this latest version which is available for sale. 

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review 2015-12-30 20:11
Freedom on My Mind, Volume 1: A History of African Americans, with Documents - Deborah Gray White,Waldo E. Martin Jr.,Mia Bay

Freedom on my Mind (Part 1) is the first textbook I've ever read almost entirely cover to cover. African American History is something that's been skimmed over in many of our history classes, and for the first time in a long time I felt a new world of history open up to me. Freedom touches on every aspect of the early African American experience, much of which was too horrifying to even imagine. Though it's written in textbook format, it doesn't read quite so dry- the authors are really good at summing up the information you need while not letting the language get boring. They also don't attempt to skirt around the more difficult subjects, like the treatment endured on the Middle Passage, the rape of countless African American women, and the ugly racial stereotypes which continued to be perpetuated throughout the early 20th century. 
The best thing about this textbook are the documents that are included with each chapter. By connecting the historical figures and events they're writing about to physical evidence of the laws and customs of the time, the glossy film we as a nation have put over slavery and the institution of racism is peeled back. Although no one in America denies that slavery existed or is unaware of how terrible it was, by and large we sort of pretend that the horrors of slavery were isolated. Films like Gone With the Wind are evidence of Americans' denial of the true face of the Antebellum era.
The textbook ends just after the Civil War, when black men were struggling to exercise their new right to vote and a half-assed effort toward reconstructing the South had begun. As someone who's always had an interest in The Underground Railroad (it was the first non-fiction thing I read about as a kid) and the early history of the United States, a lot of what we went over in class and in the textbook I already knew, or at least had a base understanding. However, I learned a lot of new things as well and got into a lot more detail about things I was already aware of.
Something that was completely new to me was that not all abolitionists were fighting for true equality between the races. There was "radical" abolitionism and "conservative" abolitionism- radicals believed in true equality, and they were few and far between, even in the North. Many more Northern whites were conservative abolitionists, who were appalled by slavery but still saw blacks as inferior people who should be sent "back" (by the mid-late 1800s most of the slaves were born in America, so they were more American than African) to Africa or who needed guidance from whites. They believed in a slow movement away from slavery and compensation for the slave owners. Radicals were people who believed blacks, whites, women, and men should all be treated with equal respect, that slaves should be freed immediately and that they should be compensated for their suffering, and the former slave owners should get nothing or be punished. While it was disheartening to learn that even some of the abolitionists were racists, learning about how free-thinking the radicals were was very inspiring. 

Honestly, I'd recommend this to anyone who is interested in American history, or history in general. It's kind of crazy that I'm recommending a school textbook right now- that should speak to its' awesomeness! It's not even too pricey because it's not from one of those corrupt big textbook companies. I think I got it new for about $40, and it was totally worth it. 


Never stop learning! 


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review 2015-02-22 17:34
Review: Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface
Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface - David A. Patterson,John L Hennessy

This textbook was required reading for my Computer Organization and Architecture university course.  Sometimes it can be difficult to give a textbook a fair review because, in a typical course, students are rarely required to read the entire book and they may be given reading assignments that are not in sequential order.  This means it’s not easy to judge the progression of the material as presented in the textbook from beginning to end.

Such was the case with this textbook.  In my class, we skipped around and read different sections from different chapters rather than reading any single chapter all the way through.  One thing I was impressed with, given how much we skipped around, was how easy it was to pick up each section we were asked to read.  Even if it was a section in the middle of a chapter we hadn’t read from before.  

Unlike some textbooks I’ve read, there weren’t any cryptic terms or acronyms that I couldn’t easily find the definition to.  Definitions for new terminology were noted in the margins, making it easy to refer back to them if needed.  In general, explanations were clear and the examples were good.  However, there were quite a few grammatical/spelling errors and there was some awkward phrasing that required rereading in order to understand what the authors were trying to convey.  Sometimes they skipped intermediate topics, such as jumping from a single-cycle datapath to a pipelined datapath without covering the multi-cycle datapath which I understand was in previous editions of the book.  My university course provided very good supplementary content and I found the concepts easy to understand when presented in that logical progression.  I might have struggled more if I had been limited to the book's presentation, but it's hard to say for sure since I wasn't in that position.

I don’t normally comment much on the physical aspect of books I read, but this book was literally falling apart as I read it.  School textbooks are the only type of book that I still purchase in a physical format, and this textbook was no exception.  I saw a couple reviews on Amazon where reviewers mentioned that their pages fell out, but I needed the textbook and I wanted it in a physical format, so I bought it with the plan to be extra careful with the pages.  Sure enough, as soon as I started reading, pages started randomly falling out.  I would gingerly turn a page, and sometimes the page would turn and come out of the book.  I don’t resell my textbooks, but anybody who does probably wouldn’t be able to resell this one.  Maybe that was the goal…

The falling pages became quite a problem for me because I took several business trips while taking this course and I was afraid to travel with the book.  I didn’t want to have pages falling out all over the place and getting lost where I would never find them again, and I figured the flimsy book would never survive my laptop bag or my suitcase, so I purchased the e-book version of the textbook to use while traveling.  The e-book version had its own issues.  There weren’t any page numbers, which could be a problem when I needed to reference specific pages for my class, and the tables and diagrams were very small.  I was reading on a 10.5” tablet, with a screen nearly as big as the pages in the physical book, but the size in the e-book was drastically different from the size on the printed page and did not fully utilize the space. I constantly had to zoom in on them so I could read them, which meant I couldn’t see them in context with the text on the page.  Perhaps all of this is normal with e-textbooks; I haven’t read enough of textbooks in this format to know.  It definitely frustrated me, though.

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review 2014-12-08 03:52
Review: Europe in the Twentieth Century
Europe in the Twentieth Century - Robert O. Paxton,Julie Hessler

This book was required reading for my 20th Century European History course as part of my university degree program.  I should start off by saying my knowledge of history is truly horrible.  The subject didn’t interest me at all when I was young, and I paid as little attention as possible.  But I’m a lot older now (I’m a returning student, not a traditional college-aged student), and I enjoyed the opportunity to remedy some of my ignorance.

There were both good things and bad things about this book.  I liked the way the book went into detail about the various events.  It didn’t just say “this happened and then that happened”.  It explained things from the perspectives of all of the major players involved so that I could better understand why things happened the way they did.  For me, that was what made it really interesting – understanding how and why things happened.  The authors also highlighted turning points, and even engaged in some speculation as to what might have happened if different paths were taken.  As with any textbook there were parts that I found dry and boring, but I was more interested in what I was reading than I had hoped to be.

However, I had some real trouble with the organization of the material.  The book jumped back and forth in time a lot.  It often focused on one geographic area and/or topic and described events that happened over several years, and then it moved to a new area/topic and went back in time.  The problem is that events were usually pretty intertwined.  Things discussed in one section were often relevant to things discussed in other sections from the same time period.  By splitting them up, I had trouble keeping track of the context of events and I had to do quite a bit of re-reading to keep track of what was happening when and how it was all connected.

The time hopping happened constantly throughout the book, and in many different forms.  It happened between chapters, within chapters, and even within section breaks.  One simple example of what I’m talking about occurred in Chapter 17.  On page 492, the Common Market is being discussed.  We’re told that it helped improve peace in Western Europe and, as an example of that improved peace, we’re told that German NATO troops were training on French soil in the mid-1960’s without creating any sort of a stir.  Then, a little bit later on the same page, we switch to a topic that covers NATO and we’re back in 1948.  So, on the very next page, the French are upset because a separate German army was being recreated.  

This organization style also meant that terms, concepts, and people were sometimes introduced well before the sections where they were discussed in depth.  I was constantly doing double takes and skimming back over previously-read material to try to understand apparent contradictions.  And sometimes, the dates just weren’t mentioned that clearly.  We also skipped around a bit with our assigned chapters in my class, although we did eventually read the entire book, so that exacerbated the problem.  But there was plenty of confusion to be had for me within single chapters.

I can understand the purpose of focusing on one topic or region at a time.  Europe is a large continent and there were lots of things going on, so it would surely be equally confusing if the authors had tried to present the entire history in precise chronological order.  But I do think many of the topics were split out more than necessary and would have flowed better if discussed in chronological order within a single section.  Another thing that might have helped would have been chapter timelines listing the major events discussed in the chapter in chronological order, with perhaps a higher-level timeline at the front of the book to help with keeping track of the big picture.  Of course, if I’d had a better foundation in history to begin with, I might have been able to follow the book more easily.

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