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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5

...I felt like Nielsen spent more time complaining about what DOESN'T work in web site design, and not much time on what DOES. I also felt like I had to do exactly what he cautions against - I felt like I was navigating through pages of criticism and negativity in order to glean a few precious pieces of design wisdom. While I appreciated the examples, I thought the book on the whole failed to pack the necessary punch to merit more than 3 stars. As far as I'm concerned, "Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites" and "Web Design in a Nutshell" are better bets.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Ultimately meaningless.

This book surely is a must-read for computer science students, especially undergraduates. GEB explains the most important research topic in 20th century mathematics - "self-reference." The explanation is succinct and his writing style is very attractive. I think the value of this book should be evaluated on his `theory of intelligence' based on self-reference, but the popularity of this book seems to stem from the fact that it explains the abstruse topic "self-reference" understandably. But be warned. If you are reading this book just for the understanding of Goedel's theorems or computabilty thoery (just as I once was) and you are a CS graduate, I'd like to recommend that you should read more rigorous mathematics books, such as Kleene's or Barwise's logic book, rather than this "general science" book. GEB does not give us a full or rigorous understanding of the subject just like Steven Hawking's "History of Time" does not give us a rigorous understanding of the theory of relativity.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Jeffrey Richter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Solid .NET foundation

Microsoft-begrudged developers beware, .NET is actually pretty cool. I am typically wary of any technology or claim that Microsoft makes (being a Borland fan), but I am impressed with the .NET Framework and the thought that went into its design. After reading Advanced Windows (3rd) by Jeff in the past, I knew that this .NET book would be well written and informative. He did not let me down. This is a GREAT starting point for C# and VB.NET developers (note that most examples are in C#). I would strongly suggest that you have a good grasp of OO programming before you read this. His explanations are well thought out and the end result is that you too will be excited (and well informed) about .NET.
Don't be dismayed if at first you don't grasp Chap 2 & 3, assemblies & packaging are strange beasts at first. Things get much easier after that and you soon find yourself comfortable with the chap 2/3 material.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Advanced for Windows and Macintosh : Visual QuickPro Guide (Visual Quickpro Guide)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Russell Chun, Joe Garraffo
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Cut and dry, right to the point.

First let me start off by saying that I have been a Java developer for about 5 years now. Flash's Actionscript has always been a clunky code as far as I'm concerned, and I had no want or need to learn actionscript, up until a few months ago. Thank god for Macromedia and their evolution to ECMAScript 4, or should I say amazing similarities to it. I was faced with a series of projects at my company and creating Flash files for different versions of the Flash player was one of them. So writing the code in the new AS2.0 was cake, and I was so happy. Then I heard we needed to export it in Flash 5... UGH! A few friends bought this bought for Flash MX and said there was problems with some of it. I am used to the Quickpro's and figured I'd give it a try. Thank you so much to the authors for your extremely detailed thorough tasks. You have made my learning curve into AS1.0 and AS2.0 so easy. This book will certainly have real estate on my desk at all times. Bravo to the authors!!!
By the way, my friend who told me the book had errors compared it to his copy (for Flash MX) and it is totally different now, no problems with anything....