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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Oracle PL/SQL Developer's Workbook
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Steven Feuerstein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Indispensible for any PL/SQL programmer


If there is any book which will "fine-tune" one's knowledge of PL/SQL, this is it. It is written in Feuerstein's inimitable style which will keep you engaged with the book much longer than any other peer book of it's kind. There is so much to learn from this book really - and it applies to beginners as experts alike. This book explores the tiniest nuts and bolts of PL/SQL in an exercise-like format which gives the reader a chance to ponder on the problem before he/she looks up the answers. And I must add, you are in store for a lot of surprises when you look up the answers in the second half of the book ! (escpecially in the experts' section)



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One
Publisher: Deke Press
Authors:
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
O'Reiley Grand Slam!


I'm not sure if I can add much to the positive reviews so far. This is an excellent text - do yourself a favor and read all the reviews.
For me, I really appreciated the sidebars and "Pearls of Wisdom" scattered throughout the text. In these, the author gives quick insights like; why one tool works better than another or a keystroke reminder or a technical definition.
This book does much more than just tell you how to do something, it also explains why your image changes when using the various tools. In other words, it goes beyond just getting you from A to B. There are a million different ways to get from A to B in Photoshop, so it's nice to learn a few new ones to add to my current Photoshop knowledge.
I use Photoshop basically for two things. Fixing up photos I've taken with my digital camera or scanned in from the family archives and creating images for my personal web site. I found the chapters about highlights, midtones, and shadows and color correction invaluable, especially when trying to fix up some old color pictures of the family from '70s. =)
Excellent book, visually pleasing, highly recommend.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Programming for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Wally Wang, Wallace Wang
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good value, great reading!


Yes, the humor and drawings can be corny and silly but overall this book is at least as good as Greg Perry's 'Teach yourself programming in 24 hours' (SAMS, 1998). As well as giving a solid grounding in venerable old QBASIC (hopefully then the reader can try their hand at VB, VBA, VbScript), Wallace's book presents bits of Java, Pascal, C/CC+ presented throughtout, and lots of useful websites. Definitely worth a look!



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Classical Electrodynamics
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John David Jackson
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
A poorly written learning tool


Let me state it bluntly: you cannot get a firm grasp of EM with this book. This is not a good book to learn from. This is a book to read AFTER you THINK you know EM. Jackson treats almost every conceivable topic in this monstrous compendium. A reader who wishes to hone his/her EM skills should pick up this book and read the relevant section, then work out the problems at the end of each chapter. This is, in my opinion, the ONE AND ONLY purpose of this book. I think it achieves it rather well - the text, along with the problems, greatly increase the reader's skills, confidence and understanding. The problems are essential.Jackson is NOT a good reference either - to understand what he's saying you have to usually read the entire chapter. What IS a reference anyhow? A book with all EM formulas in it? A book of problems with solutions? There are other books that deal with these issues much better than Jackson.Even worse - his chapters are often interdependent, so you can't just read the chapter on radiation when you want to learn all about radiation. Nope. That's because chapter 14 deals with single particle radiation and chapter 6 introduces retarded solutions - in short, the ideas are scattered throughout the text.So I'll say it again: this book will reward hard, linear study, and reward it greatly, but the reader is expected to show a lot of maturity - meaning assuring himself he understands everything in the text, working out the examples alone, and then doing all the problems he can. If you can't master that maturity - DON'T spend your money on it. Very simple! There are a lot of good books out there on EM that don't intend to make you a master. Try them out - my personal favorite is The EM Field by Albert Shadowitz (great undergraduate text, cheap too!). If it's problems and solutions you're looking for, try "Problems and Solutions on Electromagnetism" by Kim Lau (not sure about the author's name) for a GREAT collection of problems with solutions. But leave Jackson alone if you don't want to invest your time in it. It's way better than getting frustrated and typing angry reviews here at amazon.com. A word about the problems: some are hard, some are not, but if you read the chapter carefully before approaching the problems at the end, chances are most will be doable, even if some require you to meditate upon them for several days. A few stubborn ones defy solution, but they are the exception, not the rule. Besides, it's always good to know there are problems out there to challenge you and help you advance your knowledge.