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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Absolute Beginner's Guide to C (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Greg Perry
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Extremely imprecise

I am surprised that this book has gotten the good reviews that it has. This book's title should read "ABSOLUTE! beginner's guide to C". The book assumes that you not only have no knowledge of computers, but also assumes that you have no knowledge whatsoever. I found the bad puns and stupid jokes quite distracting and I don't recommend this book to anyone who wants to become a serious programmer. A couple of the references to functions are incorrect, and several of the snippets of code will not compile if thrown into a program. I'm very disappointed in this book and in the author and editor(s). Some of these mistakes would have been caught by a half-competent C programmer. I recommend reading "The C Programming Language" by Dennis Ritchie. If you don't want to walk away from a book with a smaller IQ then when you started, stay away from this book.....

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Comprehensive and insightful

Based on six years of observing about 400 people use the web, "Designing Web Usability" is Jakob Nielsen's definitive guide to what makes a web site easy to use. Even though many sections in the book are sourced from Nielsen's alertboxes written years ago, the advice they contain remains solid.
The book contains insightful and comprehensive treatments of page, content, and site design that include topics like creating written and graphical content, navigation, search, etc. It is basically a list of guidelines (rather than a step-by-step how-to), much like my own UI design book available at my site. Jakob also mentions a few technical issues, but only insomuch as they affect usability.
As are most books, this one is not without its drawbacks. Ironically, the biggest drawback of this book has nothing to do with the book itself (which speaks highly of it), but rather with the fact that a lot of its content can be found in Nielsen's alertboxes on his web site. In addition, the chapter on accessible design is a little light on concrete, useful advice (beyond relative font sizes and alt text): there are better resources available free on the web.
In conclusion, if you're new to the field of web design and haven't read Nielsen's alertboxes you should definitely get this book. And if you're a seasoned designer, well, chances are you already have it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company
Publisher: No Starch Press
Authors: Owen Linzmayer, Owen W. Linzmayer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The rest of the story....

Apple Confidential tells it like it was-very impartial, newsy, and informative.
While it was a very easy read, it was full of all sorts of juicy tidbits that complete a history. I'm talking about the kind of things that you know in your heart have to be going on at a large company, but somehow have been sanitized and bleached until all that hits the public is a "whitebread" version of the truth (Jobs and Woz were best friends who wanted to change the world, yadda, yadda, yadda....).
Newp, not here-in Apple Confidential we get inside the heads of the people who through a very serendipitous fate, influenced the computing industry and just the way it happened.
Anybody who would like to re-live those amazing times needs to read this book, either cover to cover, or just picking out a random chapter at a time. It was truly fascinating, and Mr. Linzmayer managed to overcome the admittedly short attention span of this reader for hours on end.
Buy this book

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C, Second Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Stress on "Applied" in the title...

Schneier's book is a surprisingly down-to-earth encyclopedia of the data scrambling technology which secures electronic communication worldwide, and which the US Government has tried for years to keep in the bag. Understanding cryptography is a must for anyone interested in the technology behind privacy on-line, and Schneier's book is the best source there is.