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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Protocols (TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: W. Richard Stevens
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Required for every IT library


As the review title suggests, this book should be in every IT professionals library.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Andre Lamothe
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Whoa! Andre, you the man!


OK. So this review might be a little late and from the looks of the other reviews, it isn't even necessary. But I hope I can give you a little more detail than the average bear. So hear is my 2 cents, in a million words or less.
Well Andre LaMothe has done it again! I loved this book! Andre takes you step by step through DirectX, specifically, DirectDraw, DirectInput (with force feedback!) DirectSound and DirectMusic. As everyone has already noticed, the 3d work was delegated to the online books and articles. Adrian Perez's new book is on its way to my house, but I can't wait for Andre's Vol II! And true to Andre's form, he takes you through the current topic with understandable explanations, lot's of code and plenty of figures! Each chapter has several working demos with source code.
Andre graciously takes the bits and pieces from the demos and puts them in a library providing you with a "2D 8-bit/256 color back buffered DirectX engine that has support for any resolution, along with clipping to the primary display surface" (that's a quote). He also provides the 16 bit version of this library on the CD.
I'm going to try and give you a good idea of what is in the book (beyond regurgitating the table of contents). So if you don't want to read this, just buy the book! You won't regret it.
The book is for new comers to DirectX. But, even if you are a DirectX guru, you may still want to get this book for its chapters on AI and Basic Physics Modeling.
The book is divided into 4 parts.
Part 1 is "Windows Programming Foundations" which I really enjoyed because I don't program in Windows (I'm a Unix weenie). If you already know how to program in Windows, you can skip part 1. But I suggest you check out the end of chapter 4. Andre gives you a complete Windows shell for all of your future game needs. All you have to do is fill in the Game_Main() function. And get this, you will write your first game in chapter 1!
Part 2 is "DirectX and 2D Fundamentals" which has a great intro to COM (did you know DirectX was a COM library? Now you do!). Part 2 is the heart of the book with chapters 5 - 10 covering DirectDraw, Bitmapped Graphics, Vector Rasterization and 2D Transformations, DirectInput with Force Feedback, DirectSound and DirectMusic. This part of the book is about 2D Game programming with DirectX.
Part 3 is "Hardcore Game Programming" Chapters 11 - 14 are sweet! Andre covers Algorithms and Data Structures, which, in my opinion, are what make or break a well designed piece of software.
Memory Management and Multithreading cap off chapter 11. The rest of part 3 is the much acclaimed AI and Physics Modeling chapters.
Get a load of this. Andre covers: Deterministic AI Algorithms, Tracking Algorithms (so your missile can find it's target), Evasion Algorithms (so your plane can get away from the missile), Patterns and controlling game components with scripts, Patterns with Conditional Logic, Modeling Behavior State Systems (to include modeling personalities), giving your game components memory (so they can "remember" things) and teaching them how to Learn from other components (as well as from the player), Planning and Decision Trees, Pathfinding (getting around those obstacles), Advanced AI Scripting, Artificial Neural Networks, Genetic Algorithms (way out there stuff) and Fuzzy Logic (with 6 sub technologies on fuzzy logic). AND THAT IS JUST ONE CHAPTER! Granted though, this chapter grazes these subjects but in a way that makes you say "Whoa!" Part 3 ends with chapter 13, Basic Physics Modeling (Oh, Andre, Morpheus did not tell Neo to "Follow the white rabbit." That message was from Trinity :) )
Part 4 is the Appendices, which covers what is on the CD, Installing DirectX and Using the Compiler. It also has a nice little Math and Trigonometry Review, a C++ Primer, a list of Game Programming Resources and, finally, (drum roll) an ASCII Table which every programming book should have but rarely does.
Whew!
I honestly don't believe I have ever seen such complete coverage of Game programming in one book. Albeit, 2D Game programming.
Now, the biggest complaint about this book is the lack of 3D material. And I have to agree. Even though the CD covers 3D game programming with online books and articles from other authors (and Andre), the "and 3D Game Programming" should have been left out of this books title. Authors and publishers must understand that a books title makes a promise. Ergo, 4 stars.
Gotchya's: dmusic.lib, dsound3d.lib are not on the CD (or did I do something wrong?)! (They didn't get installed with DirectX). Consequently demo10_5 cannot link (it needs dmusic.lib). I don't think dsound3d.lib is used in the book.
Oh! Andre, what the heck is "<BG>? "
So thats it. Like I said at the start, just buy the book. And when your done with it, "you'll feel right as rain." :)



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Switch Book: The Complete Guide to LAN Switching Technology
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Rich Seifert
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Definitive Text on LAN Switching


I read the first 140 pages before my rottweiller ate the book a couple of days ago. On the strength of those 140 pages, I ordered a replacement copy. Seifert has been involved in the development of LAN standards for many years, so he has intimate technical knowledge of how switches work. His writing is lucid and entertaining--many amusing anecdotes, asides & aphorisms are sprinkled throughout. The introductory chapters provide sufficient background for LAN novices to understand the later material. This is the definitive text on LAN switching technology, and it is an easy read.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Call Center Handbook: The Complete Guide to Starting, Running, and Improving Your Call Center (Call Center Handbook)
Publisher: CMP Books
Authors: Keith Dawson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Illuminating Read!


This is a definite Must Read for any Call Center professional! All those questions about what system/technology does what and how are answered in one fact-based publication. If you want to avoid the headache of time-consuming hunts through web-sites and talking with marketing reps to learn which product works best for your company, this book is for you. If you are looking for a bubble-gum view of call center management, don't read this book because you just might learn the truth! By the way, get a Call Center Magazine subscription to continue the information flow started by reading this book.