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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Infrared Detectors and Systems (Wiley Series in Pure and Applied Optics)
Publisher: Wiley-Interscience
Authors: E. L. Dereniak, G. D. Boreman
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
superlattices and heterostructures


The authors give a comprehensive and still very up to date summary of the entire field of infrared detectors. Both experimentalists and theorists can benefit from the text. All the major detector types are covered, with clear explanations of their underlying principles.

The early chapters on basic device physics could perhaps have been omitted or shortened. The rest of the book assumes a readership that is at least at the graduate level, and who should surely know the early material.

The book also explains the latest ideas in the field of superlattices and quantum heterostructure design. This started in the 1980s and has produced quite useful devices.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (4th Edition)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Tom Negrino, Dori Smith
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Jump-Start on Javascript


In spite of the assurance in the book's introduction "We don't assume that you know anything about programming or scripting" you need to have a programming background to get value out of this book. I know HTML and a little JavaScript, and I was lost by chapter 2. Chapter 2 has a ridiculously steep learning curve, along with important points left unexplained (for example brackets are used in one script, with no explanation for the significance of brackets, when they should be used, etc.)
I've always been a big fan of Peachpit Press's books - this is the first time I was severely disappointed by one. I felt like a complete moron by the time I got to the end of chapter 2. In spite of years of teaching college courses in business and graphics applications, I was beginning to think - "am I just too stupid to learn programming?"
And I agree with another reviewer here about the irritating style. It adds insult to injury.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Maya Character Animation
Publisher: Sybex Books
Authors: Jaejin Choi
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Nice book for intermediates


I thought this book was helpful. It is not for beginners, however. Not all of the tutorials give step by step instructions, instead, the book just tells you to make the model like the picture shown, you're on your own as to how to get the model to look like it.
This book has fully colored pages throughout but some of the images are a little hard to read. One thing I found really useful was it's relatively detailed coverage of the various shader utilities (sampler info, set range, clamp... etc)
The CD-Rom accompanying this book as some scene files, but the author does not provide a sample scene for every tutorial. Coverage of the Deep Paint 3D isn't all that detailed, but does give you an idea of how to use it in conjunction with Maya.
Character animation coverage is very detailed, and on some levels, pretty steep. Overall a very good book, worth buying.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Flash Enabled: Flash Design and Development for Devices
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Phillip Torrone, Branden Hall, Glenn Thomas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This book made us money - what more can we say?


This might not be the sort of application the authors envisioned, but the book certainly helped us! We run a small online casino off the coast of Britain, TheGoldCasino (dot-com), and our development staff is fairly sparse (we're aimed primarily at users of e-gold, so we're not a big operation). We wanted to experiment with mobile games, but we assumed the cost would be prohibitive. Flash Enabled brought our current Flash developers from a state of knowing nothing about the PocketPC to having functional Flash-client prototypes in a shockingly short period of time! I don't know of higher praise for a book like this than: "It changed our business and made us money".
Obviously, it's not yet clear how large the universe of PocketPC gamers with e-gold accounts will be, but this book at least compressed our development time to the point where it is quite easy for our mobile games to be profitable. Great stuff!