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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Inside LightWave 8
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Dan Ablan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Superior to all other books!


I bought this book off amazon brand new and I would do it all again! After reading reviews from other people this guy seemed to be pretty good at Lightwave and explaining things. I went to his website and downloaded some of Dan's courseware which I also ordered later! Anyway, Let me explain..

Dan does an outstanding job of introducing you to lightwave and just about every feature of this amazing program. He teaches you on what seems like a personal level unlike other tutorial books. His approach and teaching style has me hooked. If I knew about Dan's books years ago I would have started my journey into 3d much sooner!

It was the lack of books on the market, or atleast at the store I shopped at that kept me from tackling lightwave. This program is so tremendous and as a result you have an overwhelming amount to learn. Dan does a superior job of guiding you through projects and explains everything in detail. If you have a question along the way, Dan probably answers it in one of his tip baloons on the page! I love asking questions and Dan does a great job of answering those questions almost instantly. I have never seen this in another book.

Like I said, this book is worth every penny. I was totally new to lightwave and Dan has helped me produce an animation in the first chapter in under an hour (cause i'm a slower learner). If you are looking to get started with Lightwave, then this is a must book for the beginner to novice, even the expert! Thanks Dan!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Effective C++: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Design (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Scott Meyers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Don't write C++ code without it...


From beginning to end this book is packed with information that is IMMEDIATELY applicable. For example "Always declare destructors to be virtual" otherwise you may end leaking memory when subclasses are deleted. Or hiding the implementation of a class in an "Impl" that your class just passes through to. That way, if the implementation changes, the clients of the class are protected from recompilation.
Beyond the wealth of just downright practical information the oragization is fabulous. The only other technical book that has organization as good as this one is "Design Patterns" There are several chapters such as "Memory Management" that have "Items" and each item has a few paragraphs describing the motivation for why you should believe Meyers with examples to prove it. Then there are solid examples that show the implemantation of an example usage.
My company gave this book out with "Design Patterns" to EVERY developer in the company, and it was probably the smartest thing I've ever seen a company do.
Read it and learn a TON.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Steve Krug
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
God is in the tabbed interface


First of all, let's be clear what this book is all about. "Usability" is a measure to determine how successful a design, whether it's a newspaper, a web site, or a WalkMan, is when engaged by human hands and eyes. There are no set "rules" of usability, just tried and true "common sense approaches" that make sense, right off the bat, to just about anyone who comes in contact with a piece that has been designed for interaction.
For example, think of your average stereo or mp3 player. If you wanted to hear music, what would you do? Just about everyone would scan the object with their eyes, trying to find a symbol or word to guide them. In this case, they'd look for a right pointing triangle, commonly known as a "play" button. This all happens within milliseconds, subconsciously, but we all do it. The easier it is to find what you're looking for and engage that option, the higher usability marks the object receives. That's a rather simplistic explanation of usability, but it's the basis of this book when applied to the web.
Author Steve Krug makes a living critiquing web sites to establish how easy they are for your average Joe to use. He gathers willing participants, sits them down in front of a computer, and asks seemingly obvious questions like "do you know where you are?", "do you know what this company does?", "where would you click first, and why?", etc.
It's not rocket science, that's for sure. But if a company is planning on making money off of their web presence, a confusing web site could put them in the dog house with consumers.
And that's the important thing to realize about "Don't Make Me Think" -- this book is written from the viewpoint of what "works" with e-commerce sites. It's the greasing of the wheels to make a shopping experience fast, intuitive, trusting, and most importantly, EASY.
If you are a graphic designer, consider the web to be your personal playground to create, engage, shatter conventions and develop new ideas in design, this book is not for you.
Krug acknowledges this up front, but insists that the lessons learned in this book can be applied to just about ANY web design that deviates from the norm. And in a sense, that's quite true. If you were to build a shining new city on the hill with ultra modern buildings and cutting edge style, you'd still need an effective transportation system to tie your creation together.
But where the book stumbles is that Krug only promotes (or acknowledges) one ubiquitous web design style -- a company logo in the upper left corner, folder tab navigation across the top, and subsections down the left side. Sound familiar? It should...take a look at the top of this page.
P>His opinions would be more trustworthy if he would critique non-standard, but successful examples of web design that are just as effective. But he only offers one solution, and it's one all of us are very aware of already.
Krug does have useful points to remember -- including consistency of style, navigation, and brand identification -- but when you get down to it, it's all COMMON SENSE. Open your browser, check out eBay, Outpost.com, or Salon.com, and study their navigational systems, use of color and contrast, and copy length. See how they allow you to move between pages, subsections, and the placement of navigational icons. Then ask yourself, how did I KNOW to click there? Was it the wording? The color?
This book would be a lifesaver to anyone who was just starting out designing for audiences on the web however, so if you have yet to design your first web site, by all means pick this up. The lessons to learn here are just as important (if not more so) as learning HTML. Because if you didn't want people to use and enjoy your work, you wouldn't be putting it on the web.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Linux Administration Handbook
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Trent R. Hein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An Excellent book


A MUST have for any Linux user and administrator. Everybody and not just administrators, should read this book, which tells you what all you can do with Linux (from installation, dual boot with other stupid OS'es like Windows, networking, back up, disk management, security, firewall and a lot more). I feel the authors have done a great job explaining everything you need to know about Linux use/administration. I really appreciate the humorous touch, which makes reading the book more interesting. Infact, I keep the book by my bedside. I sincerely wish that this book becomes ubiquitous (making it cheaper, ideally FREE) and EVERYBODY has a copy of it.