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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Quick Bootstrap Introduction...


This is _the_ book to get if you've never programmed in Perl before. Llama begins with a quick history of the language and then demonstrates the language structure with "Hello, World." By the time you finish Chapter 4 you can write decent scripts and stop reading strait through - just picking up what you need as you need it. You will eventually need Programming Perl (Camel Book - also ORA), but the Camel is more of a reference, whereas the Llama (this book) is a quick "I have never done this before, how do I start" kinda book. Tip 'o the Hat to O'Reilly for another outstanding book.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition with CD-ROM and Online Subscription
Publisher: Merriam-Webster
Authors: Merriam-Webster
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Best Print Dictionary I've Ever Used!


Unlike prescriptive dictionaries such as the American Heritage Dictionary, which rely on self-appointed panels of "experts" to decide what correct usage should be, descriptive dictionaries such as this and Merriam-Webster's Third International try to keep pace with how the language is actually used by speakers. This may explain why the Webster's Collegiate dictionaries have been the standard reference in the American publishing industry for a long time.
This is easily the best dictionary of its class, period. It has an extraordinarily large number of entries and its definitions are concise and easy to understand. The only shortcoming is that there are few example sentences, but this is a necessary tradeoff to keep the size under control. For sheer richness of information it doesn't compare to the New Shorter OED, for example, but then again you can't toss the NSOED into your backpack and take it to school with you. This book is light and compact.
But the thing that really sets this dictionary apart is the CD-ROM. You can search for words using up to 15 different operations, including "rhymes with," "is a cryptogram of," "homophones are," "etymology includes," etc. You can use AND and OR operators to combine the various operations. These search functions are a tremendous asset to anybody who works with words, particularly writers, poets, and songwriters.
And did I mention that you get a free one-year subscription to their online dictionary with your purchase?
This package is a tremendous value for the money and really belongs in every home and office. And I have no doubt that Webster's 11 will continue to be the gold standard in the publishing industry for the foreseeable future.<I> --This text refers to an edition which conatins a CD-ROM. Not all editions of this item contain a CD. Please check the item desription for further information.--</I>



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft® Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John Walkenbach
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Elizabeth Boonin he ain't


As an Excel '97 user, my interest is engineering applications, and using VBA to supplement spreadsheet computations.
Although it's out of date, and often at a much more introductory level, Elizabeth Boonin's "Using Excel Visual Basic" shows a much clearer understanding of the learner's questions. For example, she has Chapter 12 "How do you get all that stuff from Excel into VBA and back?" You'll be able to figure this out from Walkenbach, but you will have to develop your own "search and find" method to locate what you need: it's not organized that way.
Likewise, Walkenbach talks about debugging in snipits scattered throughout the book, while Boonin collects this topic in one chapter: "Fixing your code", where you can find a clear discussion of the whole subject. Getz and Gilbert "VBA Developer's Handbook" also have a more coherent discussion of debugging.
Another gripe: combining different morsels to actually do something requires trial and error splicing.
Bottom line: I recommend this book, but wish it were less a scattergun approach.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Macromedia Flash MX 2004 in 24 Hours
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Phillip Kerman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Help


This is an easy book to understand. I went through all the tutorials that shipped with Macromedia Flash MX2004. They weren't easy! When I started with this, I was amazed at the many features that Macromedia never touched upon. I highly recommend this book to any getting started with Flash MX2004.