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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in C++, Volume 1: Introduction to Standard C++ (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
University student's opinion

Author Bruce Eckel ..., has created a Gem here, I have been programming for many years and still came away with some new information that made me say "Hey, thats neat".
With a table of contents that could hold its own in any book slug match, with topics such as Objects, Data Abstraction, Operator Overloading, Polymorphism, Templates, and much more.
This book also conforms to the ANSI/ISO C++ Standard which is hard to find, even with books published post standard, most authors do not conform to them as Eckel does in this peice.
Good buy, good read, a winner for any C++ programmer. New or Old.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XSLT : Programmer's Reference (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Michael Kay
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Indispensible Reference Book for Hardcore XSL Programmers

1. This is really a reference, not a tutorial. It does include a "no nonsense tutorial" which will guide you through the basic XSLT topics, but if you have no XML experience, start with one of the more basic Wrox offerings. (David Hunter's Beginning XML -- which I hear will be excellent -- is going to be released by Wrox early in June.)
2. If you are unclear on the purposes of XSLT, understand that it is a programming language for converting data, performing scripting tasks, etc. on the way to a pure HTML or XML layout. I only mention this because some developers seem to be operating under the mistaken belief that XSLT is an appropriate subject for graphic designers, perhaps because XSLT contains the word "style." Do NOT get this book for your design staff.
3. Not a major hurdle for most of us, but some implementations, such as Xalan, are not covered.
That aside, this is a fantastic book. Everything I can think of in the XSL arena is covered, including extending XSL. The author, Michael Kay, who was such a force on the Professional XML team, once again proves to be an excellent writer. The browser specific details are just what I needed to solve many of my real-world production problems. And I continue to be amazed at the speed with which Wrox gets these comprehensive volumes to press.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Dan Birlew
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
New Web link makes this half a book

To push registrations to their new website, Playonline.com, Square and Bradygames have made this hint book link to "additional" hints on the playonline website. Now that'd fine and dandy if it wasn't for certain things:
1) When I buy a hint book, it's expressly so I DON'T have to go to websites to collect up all the hints and tidbits to complete a game. There's not a page that goes by in this guide that doesn't have a callout box suggesting you go the website and learn an even BETTER way to defeat this monster, or where the last of the umpty-umpth Magic Thingy is hidden. I bought the book to learn these things;
2) as of the moment (either from overload or over-fancy design, I can't tell yet) the website you're supposed to link to is DEAD slow. And there's no easy way to collect all the hints at once; yu have to enter these search codes listed in the book, resulting in a LONG visit to the site, racking up lots and lots of hits for Square to crow about.
Now, what's IN the book is choice as always. The walkthru is easy to follow, and doesn't ruin the twists of the plot any more than a walkthru has to. The monster and item guides are well laid out, if a bit incomplete (see above) There's a nice selection of original concept art peppered throughout the book, the kind of stuff you only see in the imported Japanese art books at a premium price. So it's still worth getting but...
I feel like when you used to look at the pictures of all the things you could build with Legos, and once you got the set, the small print said "items on box require more than one set to build". Yeah, I can play with what I got, but I was expecting a more complete experience that wouldn't require more of my time.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Easy to Follow Introduction to Perl

This book is great for anyone who wants to get started with Perl programming quickly. The early chapters build a nice example program that shows many of the commonly used elements of Perl in a practical way so that you can quickly get a grasp of how Perl works.
The book is not intended to be a complete Perl reference. For that you will probably want to get "Programming Perl." But, by not attempting to write a complete Perl reference, the authors were able to keep the focus on practical examples which help the reader get a reasonable understanding of the language without getting bogged down by too many details at once.