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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Classical Electrodynamics
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John David Jackson
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Reader


This is what I wrote a year or so agao:
"What a throughly wretched text! Absolutely without clairity, the essentials of the subject buried in a muck of detail, most of which have limited jusification and application anyway. For a book called "Classical Electrodynamics", there is no coherent treatment of classical field theory at all. No illustrative examples, minimal physical motivation. The whole text seems a covoluted exercise in Green's Functions and vector calculus. It is possibly useful as a reference, but I doubt it. Try Walter Greiner's text, or on a higher level, the two texts by Landau and Liftsitz. Otherwise the sooner Jackson is gotten rid of, the better."
Nowadays I have to admit the book is quite handy as a reference, as Jackson is just so [...] thorough in his coverage of the subject -- if it has anything to do with E&M, it is probably in the book. If you are a physicist, sooner or later you are going to have look up something or other in it.
Nevertheless the original complaints remain. The book is simply wretched pedagogically. Its expositions are simply to bogged down in detail that the essantial physics is obscured. With Greiner or Landau, everything is so clearly exposited, one feels like a fool for not seeing how obvious everything is. With Jackson, one just feels like a fool -- unless you already know your E&M. The absence of examples or physical motivation is inexplicable for a textbook (though if you think the book as a reference, then it's really not so bad). And the lack of treatment of classical field theory is a grave omission in a book about the classical example of classical field theories.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Developing Series 60 Applications : A Guide for Symbian OS C++ Developers (Nokia Mobile Developer)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Leigh Edwards, Richard Barker, Staff of EMCC Software Ltd.
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Packed with information


I picked up this book with the purpose of learning about Symbian development on smart phones and to refresh my C++ grammar. Having heard of other Symbian and Series XX books, I had my doubts regarding the quality of the book's content. As a pleasant surprise, the authors have done a good job in creating a well-structured book that leads a newbie into the world of Series 60 programming.
First of all, as the authors state in the preface, prior knowledge of C++ is a prerequisite for getting the most out of this book. On the other hand, because the APIs use a lot of constructs specific to Series 60 development (e.g. how to allocate memory, how to do I/O, string/descriptor classes, etc.), even a beginner like me can quickly build up basic skills with the sole help of this book and some old-fashioned hard work.
The book starts out with chapters describing the development environment, including basic how-to's for building Series 60 applications with the command-line tools, Microsoft Visual Studio, Metrowerks CodeWarrior, and Borland C++ Builder. Important stuff that could've warranted more attention -- my first gripes with this book.
Next, the authors introduce Symbian/Series 60 specific concepts such as the naming conventions, the new memory allocation scheme and exception handling, descriptors, collection classes, Active Objects (asynchronous services), file I/O, and the client/server architecture that forms the basis for all Symbian applications. I was especially delighted about the clarity of this section although I would've preferred seeing more code snippets.
After introducing the different architectures to choose from (control-based, dialog-based, view-switching), the vast majority of the book is dedicated to describing how particular APIs of the Series 60 platform are used for creating UIs, networking, and manipulating multimedia content. Key system APIs for accessing the phonebook, calendar, etc. application engines are also explained although not in too much detail considering how essential these services can be for many potential applications.
The last chapter also describes some best practices and tools for quality assurance, which is no doubt a useful addition to a book like this (although more attention could've been given to unit testing, which is only mentioned in passing).
I am very satisfied with this book. Even though I would've wanted more sample code and more detail in many parts of the book (the authors refer to sample applications distributed along with the Series 60 SDKs, which was a bit annoying), this book is packed with information and the content is well balanced as a whole. I won't be looking around for another Symbian/Series 60 book now that I've got this one.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Cut Express 2 Editing Workshop (DV Expert Series)
Publisher: CMP Books
Authors: Tom Wolsky
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
FCE Users: you need this book!


Whether you are a beginning video editor using Final Cut Express as your first editor, or an iMovie user moving up, this book in invaluable. Tom paces the lessons well: not too much in each one so you are not overwhelmed, and they build on one another. The included DVD includes source video for the lessons so that the still shots in the book come alive and make sense.
If you are an iMovie user, the short DVD Video (included) gives you a terrific starting point showing the similarities and differences between the programs.
The Editing Workshop can be used to learn the program and as reference. Items which may take painstaking searches int he FCE manual from Apple are found and explained better in Tom's book.
This is a must have even if you have read the Apple FCE manual cover to cover.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Eric A. Meyer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Lives up to its 'Definitive' Title


While O'Reilly books are almost always good (though sometimes dry and lacking in examples), this book is off the scale in its usefulness and excellence. The most valuable parts of the book explain browser compatibility issues and offers tips, tricks and solutions for getting css stylesheets to work in a real-world environment. Any serious web developer should have this book on their shelf.