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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alan Cooper
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not written for technical audiences, but some sound concepts


In _The Inmates are Running the Asylum_, Cooper attempts to do three things: discuss what is wrong with software interface design in most products, suggest solutions for these issues by providing ways in which software can become more useful and intuitive for users, and give a sales pitch for his services and those of other interface designers.
His real strength in the book is pointing out what software interface really doesn't do, and presenting case studies that exemplify these points. His main points are that usual problems include: interfaces that make users figure out information the computer already knows (such as location of files), interfaces that offer users options unavailable to them (such as ATMs listing accounts you don't have), and interfaces that go too much into detail on features the majority of users never utilize.
As he goes through the book, he does offer some valid (if sometimes simplistic) solutions to the issues he raised. For example, his solution to simplify an install is to have the install run without requiring user interference. Yes, that's a great solution, but in the cases of some software products, you do need some kind of user input at points, so a happy medium where questions with answers known to the computer are eliminated would work better. He ignores any kind of medium ground, probably because the focus is on concept rather than immediately applicable. No quibbles with his solution of focusing the product for the audience, and eliminating advanced, confusing features from products meant for an audience that doesn't need them.
That said, Mr. Cooper seems to be using the book as an extended sales pitch. He obviously pointed the book towards a nontechnical audience. His metaphors and explanations are often overly cutesy and simplistic, and he is outright insulting towards programmers, and other technical people. While this may build a sense of camaraderie for nontechnical users, this was very jarring for a book on design and would seem counterproductive. Interface design people are on a pedestal, and Mr. Cooper on top of the heap, according to the book. While some of the references were meant as examples, other are merely self-aggrandizing, such as his comments on his villa in Italy. Whether he is ignoring his own rule of writing what the audience wants on purpose or accidentally is unclear.
Overall, it's a decent book and covers some major issues in interface design, even suggesting a few reasonable alternatives, assuming you can get beyond the sales pitch and poor writing interface.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great book for C++ programmers


If you are a C++ programmer, probably you may want to choose this one as a beginning guide for Java. I admit that the first half of the book is a little bit too much for anyone having C++ background. but it is not that bad to fresh your memory and to pick up some details of Java. Just go through it quickly and you will be able to find some real meat later. Thank you especially for the electronic version.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Software Project Survival Guide
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Steve C McConnell
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good but Light


This was good, but a little light. I have really liked the author's other works and so I expected a lot from this. Maybe that was part of it. I could not give this five stars because it was a little light on details, especially at the end. However, there is a lot of good project information here, from years of experience. Just the fact that it is not huge is a good thing -- too many 40-page books are turned into 600-page tomes so they give an aura of respectability.
If you are new to software project management, this is an excellent book to start with (five stars). If you want to get a quick refresher on good ways to run a project, with some modern-day approaches, this is also good. Give it a try.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Scott Kelby
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A good supplement to my handle-book's collection


I don't believe in a kinda perfect book no matter what the last is about. When I hear from anybody that I have to buy some edition, just the only one and forget all the questions I had ever asked... well, thanks a lot there is outta my insight. It's too naive to take such a bait.
I can define myself like an advanced Photoshop user and have a strong confidence that if someone going to be familiar with PS, there is no way but to look for different methods to improve your skills. The "Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers" by Scott Kelby is kind the method I have found really usefull for myself. Of course, content of some chapters was well known for me, but that hadn't grieved me because I had bought that book just for the rest chapters with all these tips I didn't know before. And it was worthwhile.
If you still hesitate between pros and cons just read the preface (in a form of conversation between author and Editor) and you'll figure out what you can obtain from this book and what is unidentified after you'll turn over the last page.