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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Game Programming for Teens
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Maneesh Sethi
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great for parents as well as teens


I am a software engineer and a parent of an 11-year-old, and I have been looking for a way to teach my son computer programming in a way that would be fun for him. I read this book cover-to-cover, and it's almost perfect for this purpose. I have no doubt that the book would be excellent for a self-starting teen to read on his or her own. But as a parent, this book is invaluable for the parent seeking short, fun, educational programming activities that will be a lot of fun for the learner (and the parent as well). Every kid loves games, and this book does a great job.
I would also recommend this book to an adult who wants to learn the basics of game programming. It's a pretty fast read, very easy to follow. I personally learned a lot from this book. I've been programming computers for 30 years, but I've never written a graphics-based game before, and this book efficiently and easily goes through all the techniques for creating good games very quickly. I think it would also be fairly easily followed by a teen or adult who has never programmed before.
The book uses Blitz Basic, which is optimized for writing computer games and seems to be much easier to use than Visual Basic (the computer language I first tried when teaching my child). A trial version of Blitz Basic is on the CD-ROM included with the book, and the full version (called BlitzPlus) can be purchased online if desired (but is not required). The CD-ROM also includes excellent example artwork, animations, and sounds for the games described in the book, which is a great way to get a teen or pre-teen into programming without getting bogged down with creating art and sounds from the start.
By the way, this book covers creating 2D games (like Pong, Space Invaders, that sort of thing). 3D games are (I am told) much more challenging, and are covered in other books. (Blitz Basic is for 2D games; for 3D games, there is a related programming language called Blitz3D.)
I have one important complaint about this book, which is why I gave it 4 stars rather than 5 stars. There are many errors in this book. It could have used more careful technical editing. For example, in the section on arrays, the author carefully explains how the indexes for a 30-element array range from 0 to 29, and cautions the reader not to try accessing element 30 (which is one past the end of the array), and then proceeds to give a sample program that makes exactly this mistake. There are several errors of this magnitude in the book, and at least a minor mistake every 3 or 4 pages. It's unfortunate, because these mistakes can be very confusing to a beginning programmer.
But having said that, I still very much recommend this book. It's a good one. Congratulations to the teenage author who wrote it, excellent job!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Inside Com (Microsoft Programming Series)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Dale Rogerson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Lets you know


Till today I didn't know what exactly is COM, Interface, OLE etc. But first chapter itself explained me about COM in very simple way.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Steve Krug
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Required for anyone that calls themselves a Web Designer


This book encompasses everything that I wish someone would have told me during my web design classes in college. If I were going to teach an interface design class, this would be the textbook. A conversational writing style and well thought out illustrations makes this book an easy read.
Steve Krug admits that most good usability is hindsight and while some of the ideas may seem obvious, I must admit I didn't think of a lot of them.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Bible with CD-ROM
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Paul Nielsen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Best Practices


Used the Best Practices within the work environment. Great to have a guideline from which to work from. Most books say you can do 6 of one half a dozen of another, but not recommend the best approach. I like that the author goes out on a limb to make these "Best Practices".