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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Classical Electrodynamics
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John David Jackson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The Old Testament of Classical Electrodynamics


Classical electrodynamics is the perfect archetype of what a scientific theory should be.

This textbook is, probably, the most important reference in the subject: it is, even today, the most used at the graduate level. It has -- and I think this is an almost unanimous opinion -- the most comprehensive and challenging collection of problems that one can find in a graduate level book on classical electrodynamics.

However, science is the most important achievement of humankind -- whereas religion is its worst manifestation. Therefore, science and the way science is taught can only be regarded as a work in progress. The most important characteristic about science is this: it is an open structure where, on the one hand, one cannot prove that a theory is correct but, on the other hand, it is always possible to prove that it is wrong.

Nowadays, there is a plethora of different approaches to Maxwell equations -- the theoretical framework of classical electrodynamics. In modern physics, a geometric viewpoint is simpler, clearer, and sheds light on possible unification(s) -- the ultimate scientific goal. Probably because this book is an achievement that began in 1962 (first edition), is was written and rewritten along several decades: in this third edition (1998) we are left with the impression that there are several layers of accumulation and the author cannot choose between them.

This book, having fulfilled its historic purpose, paved the way for a new geometric treatment -- either based on differential forms or on geometric algebra. Preferably, a coordinate-free (and also, a metric-free as possible) approach to the foundations -- but whith the possibility of being readily translated into the more appropriate coordinates for each particular problem.

For the foundations of classical electrodynamics my current answer would be the book by Friedrich W. Hehl and Yuri N. Obukhov. On the other hand, if the elegance of a synthesis is what we are looking for, then my current answer would be Hestenes' geometric algebra (as in the book by Chris Doran and Anthony Lasenby). However, these books cannot, in any way, replace Jackson's opus: they just point to new geometric and unified approaches; that work is still waiting to be done.

In summary: only fools or ignorants would undermine the importance of this book or the fact that it uses, by modern standards, an outdated language.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The C++ Programming Language (Special 3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Bjarne Stroustrup
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
a must-have C++ book


I've bought some C++ books and tried to learn the language quickly. However, it seemed to me that each book explains things differently. Finally, I've got this book, and found that this book is the only reliable C++ book, let alone having been authored by its inventor.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Digital Photography All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: David D. Busch
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great author, great book! Best for Digital Photography!


This is one all-in-one book that is truly comprehensive! I was surprised at both the breadth and depth of coverage. I really liked the approach, too. The first section, "Book I" contains chapters that quickly summarize the essentials of digital photogaphy and image editing, providing both overviews and helpful advice. This part would make a pretty good stand-alone pocket reference on its own. The same topics are covered in more depth in later chapters of the book, but without needless repetition. The later sections pick up where the introductory chapters leave off. Book II is a useful set of chapters on building your own digital photography studio, with lots of advice on selecting equipment and accessories. Book III has pro-level advice on taking great photos, with long, detailed chapters on close-up photography, sports, travel, portraiture, and shooting for publication. The other books show you how to edit and restore digital photographs with applications like Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, and Paint Shop Pro. All in all, I loved this book. If you're going to buy only one book on digital photography, this is the one you need.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Dan Birlew
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Attempt At Something New Gone Horribly Wrong


As has been already mentioned, this book attempts a new concept (one that fortunately was not tried again) in which pictures and basic strategy are provided, and for more information, the guide gives codes to access a site called PlayOnline for more detailed information. Apparently, perhaps the author was thinking that those who needed only basic help would sit and just use the guide, while the more "hardcore" players would access the information online. The problem is that it's the hardcore players who are probably going to be getting the guide anyway. Maybe they have their game system in a completely different room from the computer. They got the guide because they wanted something with detailed information and pictures without having to print something out online. This defeats that purpose.

The site referenced in the book no longer works, but fortunately you can still activate all of the old codes by visiting the guide section at Square Enix's website. In fact, the entire guide, with much more detail, is all available there. If you can do without pictures, it'd probably be much easier to copy and print the entire thing.

Fortunately, I didn't shell out one cent for this strategy guide. Instead, I checked it out from the library. For that rate, I think I got my "money's" worth, a basic description of how to get through the major parts of the game. I would have been very disappointed if I had actually paid money for this.