MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2009 (#40)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 47 of 179

BOOK REVIEWS 46 MacDirectory BOOK REVIEWS > READ THE FINEST IN PRINT... AND ONLINE REVIEWS BY RIC GETTER The Manga Guide to Databases Prince Raminess, the local heartthrob who simply assumes that he will have the lovely Princess Ruruna's hand in marriage, is graced with incredibly good looks (and a proportionally abundant ego) but not a whole lot in terms of intelligence. The good princess doesn't particularly care at the moment because her father left her in charge of the kingdom's thriving fruit export business whose recordkeeping, quite frankly, is a total mess. As always, her bright and able assistant, Cain, is there to help. He delivers an old book, a gift from her father out of which sprung the magical fairy Tico, ready to teach Ruruna and Cain how a database can save the kingdom's business. Characters? Plots? In a technical book review? Okay, we agree it's out of the ordinary but in the case of this remarkable import from No Starch Press, it actually works. The Manga Guide to Databases is the second in a series of translations of Mana Takahashi's bestselling books from Japan. These books combine manga (the comic book style wildly popular with readers of all ages in Japan) and text- based chapter summaries and quizzes to introduce what are normally abstract and arcane technical, mathematical and scientific topics to an audience quickly and easily in a relatively painless manner. The Manga Guide to Databases sets up a situation where information has become acutely unmanageable and uses it to illustrate what relational databases are, how they're designed, how they're used and how they're secured. By the end of the third chapter, you'll have learned a good deal of the entity/relationship model, been introduced to complex vocabulary of database structure and discovered how to refine a design through the three normal forms. By the forth chapter, you'll understand the basics of SQL (and find out about Ruruna's deepening affection for Cain). Takahashi doesn't expect you to be prepared to take on the role of your company's database administrator when you finish her book. However, a rather enjoyable afternoon of reading and a bit of studying will give you a huge edge when you embark on your first formal course in the subject or if you just need to prep for a meeting your company's database guru. For an American audience, this is certainly an off-the-beaten-path approach to technical training. However, its ability to effectively plunge into a topic that can be a morass of arcane theory is undeniable. Over the years, we've learned to expect the unexpected from No Starch Press. This is one book where the result is unexpectedly successful. The Manga Guide to Databases by Mana Takahashi (illustrated by Shoko Azuma) No Starch Press 213 pages; $19.95 ISBN 978-1-59327-190-9. Your Brain – the Missing Manual Chances are if you're reading this magazine you have a sizable storehouse of knowledge of how to make the most of your hardware and software. But what about that one component that can be more important than either: your wetware? Popular Missing Manual Matthew MacDonald teamed up with some great minds (so to speak) in neuroscience to come up with an enjoyable and accessible guide to your most important OS. The two main goals of MacDonald's Your Brain-The Missing Manual is to give you some background in the mechanics of the mind and then offer some maintenance and performance-tuning tweaks to let you optimize your synapses and get the most from each neuron. Starting out with a quick tour and history of the brain and its most important peripherals, MacDonald covers a variety of topics about how it performs its obvious (and sometimes not- so-obvious) 24/7 job. Even though we learn a good deal of science, the book is so strong on the application of what we know about the brain, it can as easily categorized as a self-help title. The author explains how your sleep, physical activity

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