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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop 7 One-Click Wow!
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Jack Davis, Linnea Dayton
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Wynne Stevens MyMac.com Book Review

Adobe Photoshop 7 One Click Wowby Jack Davis and Linnea DaytonPeachpit Press 90 pages, all in colorCD included with supporting files and samplesISBN 0-321-12531-2
Review by: Wynne Stevens
One Click Wow is one of those books we struggling want-to-be computer artists see in bookstores and fall in love with at first sight. The accompanying CD alone contains a smorgasbord of Photoshop styles, actions, and other effects that can make anyone look good with virtually no effort at all. Obviously true artists and Photoshop experts may look upon this with some disdain but there's no denying that One Click Wow exemplifies software automation and productivity to the delight of the unskilled such as myself.
This book contains the tools to take a simple graphic and convert it to chiseled steel, chrome, plastic, glass, neon, wood grain, and on and on. Want a frame or special edge treatment for that photograph? How about textures, edges or photo enhancements? Need some dynamic rollovers? No problem.
The authors present the various included effects with a simple clarity that makes it possible to start experimenting immediately. Once hooked, the process is addictive and a truly great way to explore the incredibly vast range of image effects that are possible with Photoshop.
The main focus of the book is on Photoshop layer styles, various effects that can be applied or unapplied to individual or groups of layers within an image file. It starts with brief introduction describing concept and customizing in terms easily grasped by any novice. The reader is encouraged to load the styles and begin experimenting immediately and there is a tutorial for the timid.
In the course of observing how each style (and there are literally hundreds) is constructed, and how components (opacity, pattern, shadow, stroke, texture, et. al.) are mixed, one really begins to understand the power of layer styles. Through experimentation, the book's styles can be altered and re-saved to suit any individual preference. This is where the real value lies -- one has both a vast library of new presets and the means to customize based on individual needs.
But wait, there's more! There are tons of other presets, including over 60 actions, 40 gradients, and 150 seamless patterns with full color examples of how each is rendered on a simple graphic. It's a lot of fun and a great education for those of us who are unsophisticated in the many ways an image can be manipulated. The CD alone is worth thirty bucks -- the fact that there are 90 pages of text and color examples is a bonus.
I recommend this book highly, especially to novices, as an excellent introduction to the power of Photoshop in image enhancement. Many of us have the program and don't really know all it can do. Spend a day with this book and you'll have a new appreciation. Definitely:
MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5
Author Jack Davis tells Book Bytes:
I want to emphasize the Wow Art Media Brush Presets and the Wow Image Fix Brush Presets -- over 70 of the most mind-bogglingly useful brushes (and associated paper and canvas textures) for thoroughly exploiting the capabilities of Photoshop 7's new Brush Engine. Those topics start on page 78 of the book.
Users of Adobe Photoshop Elements can participate in the Wow revolution by purchasing and using a companion book, entitled:
Adobe Photoshop Elements One-Click Wow!by Jack Davis and Linnea DaytonPeachpit PressISBN 0-321-10847-7, 58 pages plus companion CD loaded with images and tools

* If readers are using Photoshop 6, they won't be able to take advantage of the new Tool Presets on the Photoshop 7 One-Click Wow CD, but this would still be the book of choice because of the greater number of Styles.
* If they are using Photoshop Elements, the Photoshop 7 One-Click Wow still offers more Styles, but the Elements One-Click Wow tells how to use Styles with Elements, which is a little different process than using them with the full Photoshop.
In both cases, the printed book includes examples of all the Styles and tells how to use all the goodies supplied on the CD-ROM, including the tutorial files.
Here are the differences in more detail:
Adobe Photoshop Elements One-Click Wow! - which was the first one in this series - has more than 300 Layer Styles (instant stunning, practical effects for photos, type, or graphics) that can be used with Elements or Photoshop 6 or 7. It also has Recipes, which are exclusive to Elements (since Adobe has changed the way Recipes work in version 2 and the Wow Recipes were designed for version 1, the Recipes on our CD don't work with Elements 2).
Adobe Photoshop 7 One-Click Wow! has more Layer Styles - about 250 for type and graphics and more than 75 for photos, all of which can be used with Photoshop 7 or 6 or with Elements. It also has 150 custom button styles for use in Photoshop 6 or 7 or ImageReady; in addition, there are 50 combined Rollover Styles, already automated for use in ImageReady. Besides more Styles, the other major difference about this book/CD package is that it takes advantage of Photoshop 7's support for custom Tool Presets. For instance, it has more than 60 custom art-media tools for turning photos into watercolors, oils, pastels, and other media. It also has photo-retouching presets: dodge-and-burn brushes, red-eye fixers, teeth-and-eye whiteners, and skin redness removers. There are also presets for the most-often-used cropping dimensions, more than 40 Wow Gradients, and over 150 custom seamlessly tiling Patterns and Textures. There are also Wow Actions for elaborate special effects and for common image-fixing and production tasks. (The Tool Presets and many of the Actions are specific to Photoshop 7 only, and won't work with Photoshop 6 or Elements.
Wynne Stevens

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Network+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, Third Edition (All-in-One)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Michael Meyers, Michael Meyers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Other reviewer not objective.

He can write this book for it, as he is a member of CompTIA he gets information about its objectives before the exam so he CAN have a book for it. I have this book in my possesion and I assure you it is NOT rushed in any way. And useless? How can you possibly say that?

Having asked Mike myself (email) he was almost done with an updated version when the new test was annouced, so very little had to be added to cover the new objectives.

Please, read the book before making such bold accusations that it is worthless. I find it very informative and useful.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, Clifford Stein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A non-trivial algorithms text.

This is an excellent book on algorithms that runs very deep and wide. I would say "introduction" could be a bit misleading. The more mathematically inclined you are the more appropriate and enjoyable this book will be for you. It is at the advanced undergraduate to graduate level

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: MCSD .NET Solution Architectures Exam Cram 2 (Exam 70-300)
Publisher: Que
Authors: Randy Cornish, Don Pavoni, Thomas Moore, Eric Rockenbach, Ed Tittel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
glad I waited

The just-published Exam Cram 2 for .NET Solution Architectures presents a different approach than Microsoft's Exam Guide which I recently reviewed. Both books appear good and my initial reaction is recommend both as there are areas that each cover that are not covered in the other book. If you must choose only one, I recommend this one. Interestingly both books have almost the same number of pages - slightly under 500.
Overall in the Exam Cram book, there's much more exam-taking and strategy discussion. This book also appears to have much more up-to-date information including extensive discussion of XML. I was also impressed with the amount of just good practical information in the Exam Cram vs. the Microsoft book.
Another plus for this book is it's statement that much of the actual exam involves case studies where a wide range of information is tested on each case as opposed to the earlier 70-100 Solutions Architecture Exam where only a narrow range of topics were quizzed on each case. The Microsoft guide has no case studies in the text as opposed to the Exam Cram version that is chock full of thought-provoking case studies. There is also ample discussion of how this exam uses questions where you must move things around (drag & drop, etc.) as opposed to the classic programming exams that are largely multiple choice.
I still haven't taken the actual exam, so I can't speak to which book covers more of the material. The Transcender practice tests for this review aren't due to be ready until June 2003 either. I plan to study both of these books and practice on the Transcender exams when they become available.