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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Digital Scanning with Slides, Film, and Transparencies
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: David D. Busch
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Exactly what I was looking for in this book


I had some experience in scanning slides and negs, but this book helped me a lot. It had exactly what I was looking for in terms of information, explanations, tricks, techniques, and background material. I believe this is the only book being sold that is dedicated to film and slide scanning for the "average Joe" so anyone who wants to improve their scans should look no further.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Data Structures & Algorithms in Java (Mitchell Waite Signature Series)
Publisher: Waite Group Press
Authors: Mitchell Waite, Robert Lafore
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Data Structures & Algorithms in JAVA


This book is outstanding. I am very familiar with data structures and I am fluent in several computer languages, but not Java. I was looking for a book that would let me quickly implement the data structures I needed in Java. This book is perfect for that. LaFore is an excellent writer. The examples are short and focussed on particular data structures. The code is very easy to read, modify, and combine. And, unlike many other books, LaFore's code is debugged and works right out of the book. I purchased several books on data structures in Java, and this is the one I use. My recommendation: buy it.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: After Effects and Photoshop: Animation and Production Effects for DV and Film
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Jeff Foster, Sybex
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good but not great


This book is definitely not for beginners. Good concept and it teaches you how to approach things differently, but I wonder if it was just my copy. It seemed that every tutorial I done skip key points!? Only after looking at the actual AEP on the disk was I able to figure out what I was missing. You can't follow it by trying to upload the indivial layers yourself or you'll surely get lost at some step. I'm no beginner, nor am I a professional, but I think when you include tutorials you shouldn't leave out key elements. Also it was definitely made for the Mac user, which isn't a problem for me, but like I said it's definitely not for beginners. I'll give it credit for what you can do if you open the AEPs in After Effects. This shouldn't be your only book on this subject though. I recommend Photoshop CS for non-linear editors by Richard H. and also his quick tips book on After Effects. Good book though, I use it for reference only not a learning tool.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Andre Lamothe
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book.


Andre Lamothe is one of the best game programming writers in terms of explaining complex matters clearly. So, this book looked like the Holy Grail of modern game programming. Well, not quite...
1) Until you get into the text itself, you don't find out that this is only volume one of a two-volume set. It is not mentioned anywhere on the book's cover, nor in any of the promotional material. If you're most interested in the 3D part (and who wouldn't be, since non-3D games are a dying breed, and good books on Direct3D Immediate Mode are practically nonexistent?), you'll have to wait until Lamothe finishes volume two. Since THIS volume shipped quite late, God only knows when you'll see THAT one. (There are some tutorials on 3D on the CD-ROM, but they're not written by Lamothe, which means that they don't have his trademark knack for explaining difficult concepts.)
2) Volume 1 is actually an extended re-write of his earlier "Windows Game Programming for Dummies." If you've read that book, you'll find that the vast majority of the topics (and the order they are presented in, such as: first general Windows programming, then GDI, then a game console framework, then COM, and finally DirectX itself) and even the "engine" source code comes directly from the "...Dummies" volume. Granted, "Tricks..." does go into a lot more detail and covers some newer features of DirectX (force-feedback, DirectMusic) that the earlier book didn't touch. Also, if you have any professional aspirations, it's a lot less embarrassing to say you picked up a technique from a book titled "Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus" instead of "Windows Game Programming for Dummies!" However, those who bought the latter volume should be aware that they're going to see a LOT of material, verbatim, for the second time.
3) Finally, there are a number of typos in the text and bugs in the sample source code. As an example of the former, look at the rotation matrix at the bottom of page 455. Owing to a bad choice of font, it has two elements missing! In terms of code bugs, look at Demo7_13 or Demo7_14. In Scan_Image_Bitmap(), the dest_ptr is being incremented by ddsd.dwWidth, when it should be by ddsd.lPitch. The fact that Lamothe has cautioned the user against making this VERY SAME MISTAKE earlier in the book adds insult to injury. (This is not unusual, by the way. I've read several of Lamothe's books, and have always found bugs in the sample source, which can be especially maddening for the student who may only know that something isn't working right, but might have no clue on how to even begin to fix it. Worse, these bugs should have been immediately apparent when the program was run, which leads me to suspect that Lamothe considers himself such a "guru" that he writes his code blind and doesn't always bother testing it before sending it out to the publisher.)
So, there you have it. Despite its faults, this book is one of the most comprehensive texts on the current iteration of DirectX (minus Direct3D), and contains other valuable information about AI, advanced algorithms and data structures, multithreading, game physics, etc. It is probably a "must buy" for anyone serious about game programming. However, until Lamothe gets around to finishing volume two, this is really nothing more than a "work in progress." Even as such, the reader had better be prepared to do some serious debugging on his or her own.