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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Microsoft DirectShow for Digital Video and Television
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Mark D. Pesce
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A solid introduction to DirectShow. Highly recommended.


If you're planning to learn DirectShow or are already using it and want a clear explanation of the covered topics, I highly recommend this book. It covers the information that you will need to understand how to use the existing DirectShow components and create your own DirectShow filters. It is a good complement to the DirectShow SDK documentation and the SDK examples.
The book contains a CD with the examples, an e-book version and the DirectX 9.0 SDK. The SDK is difficult to download from Microsoft if you have a dial up connection because of its size.
Some of the topics covered are:
DirectShow Concepts: teaches you the basics about DS
GraphEdit: learn about a powerful tool that allows you to understand the interaction of DS filters
Programming: how to use COM objects, how to set up your projects
Capturing: samples for capturing audio, audio & video from webcams, capturing from DV camcorders, TV tuners
DirectShow Edition Services: how to edit and preview existing media clips adding transitions and effects
Video Mixing Renderer: the powerful video display filter that allows you to do PIP and other advanced effects
Filters: create your own transform filters to provide specialized effects and color conversions; use the sample grabber to examine the contents of video or audio frames as they pass through a DS graph; use DirectX Media Objects to simplify the implementation of filters
Advanced topics: understand the AVI format, use DS with WindowsMedia, MPEG support in DS, the DS Transform Filter Wizard (requires VS.NET), optimizing file input and output
As of DirectX 9.0, there is only basic support for managed DirectX so the examples are all in unmanaged C++ code.
As for the other reviewers complaint about the structure, my opinion is the book is well organized by topic for learning the API. It doesn't cover everything you could possibly ask, but it gives you a substantial foundation that will enable you to explore the interfaces further.
The Linetsky book which I also purchased does not compare to this one (I would give that one 2 stars--look at the number 5 star reviews from NY,NY with little detial--a little suspicious?).
One weakness of the book is that it does not consistently use ATL smart pointers. This makes the examples longer than they need to be and slightly more complex. If you're going to use DirectX, I highly recommend you get familiar with CComPtr and CComQIPtr and CComBStr. They make writing clean code much simpler. I would give the book 4.5 stars, if possible, because of this.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Hacking Linux Exposed, Second Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Brian Hatch, James Lee, George Kurtz
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Must-Read Info For Linux Admins


The Hacking Exposed books have set the bar for this genre of security book. Hacking Linux Exposed - 2nd Edition doesn't fail in meeting that bar as well. If you've read Hacking Exposed - 4th Edition and think this book can't tell you anything you don't already know- think again. For those who administer Linux boxes this book provides an in-depth look at specific hacks and vulnerabilities unique to the Linux operating system and the accompanying fixes and workarounds to protect yourself. The book is overflowing with examples and sample commands that users can immediately put to use to better understand the risks and how to mitigate them. Hacking Exposed is a must-read for security- this book is a must-read for Linux security.

Tony Bradley is a consultant and writer with a focus on network security, antivirus and incident response. He is the About.com Guide for Internet / Network Security (http://netsecurity.about.com), providing a broad range of information security tips, advice, reviews and information. Tony also contributes frequently to other industry publications. For a complete list of his freelance contributions you can visit Essential Computer Security (http://www.tonybradley.com).



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Paint Shop Pro 9: Photographers' Guide (Photographers' Guide)
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Diane Koers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Terrific Book


I have been looking for a good book on PSP and stumbled on Diane Koers book at the Stanford bookstore during a 50th class reunion, I was amazed at how good it was. When I upgraded to PSP 9 I immediately ordered the version 9 edition from Amazon.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: VB and VBA in a Nutshell: The Languages
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Paul Lomax
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
One of the most perfect books published


First off, this book is EXCELLENT. I'd say this is probably the best computer book I have ever seen and used.
My complaint is that O'Reilly is now producing the book without RepKover, which is (I think) that "unglued" portion of the outer binding that allows the book to lay perfectly and effortlessly flat on a desk. The _great_ aspect of RepKover is that I can lay the book right in front of me without having to "hold it down" with my arms while I read from it while typing.
I got my book in 1999, when they used RepKover. Today, they (sadly) don't use RepKover for this anymore.
So I'd say the 1999 book is the most perfectly produced computer book I have ever seen. (Yes...I do mean that). Everything about it exceeds all expectations.
But the 2002 book, because it doesn't have the best binding, brings it down a notch.
Somebody mentioned that this is a VB book but not VBA. That is simply not true. It is both a VB and VBA book. The focus is on the language, not on respective application objects. (Read the title: VB and VBA in a Nutshell The Language) I am a VBA programmer and I use this book all of the time.