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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, Clifford Stein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An excellent beginning as well as a handy reference

Introduction to Algorithms is most comprehensive book on programming and algorithms that I have ever seen. It covers everything you could possibly want to know; from quick sort to FFT to heaps to computational geometry, it has it all. Rigorous mathematical proofs of the running times of the algorithms are discussed, but are easily disregarded if one wants just the algorithms. Introduction to Algorithms is a must-have for any programmer.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: CMP Books
Authors: Trish Meyer, Chris Meyer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

"Creating Motion Graphics" is quite possibly the BEST aftermarket book for any software product I have ever used. Other authors would do well to take note of the Meyer's exhaustive coverage of every conceivable topic. What makes this book stand out is its focus on the "real world" aspects of AE, and not page after page of boring, un-inspiring step-by-step "tutorials" that just teach you what buttons to push. To use an old cliche, this book doesn't just give you "fish" (like the Classroom in a Book and that terrible "Real World After Effects" by Sherry London), it teaches you HOW to fish. The sections on effects, for example, explains what each effect does, but they go further by showing you interesting and novel uses of the effect that aren't entirely obvious (such as using the Polar Coordinates effect to "radiate" a text scroll).
The Meyer's actually USE After Effects daily for "real" high-level projects, and as such they have uncovered all of the tricks, nuances and gotcha's of the product that most other people don't realize until its too late. CMG is like a compilation of all the great wisdom and tips from the AE mailing-list. Every page is filled with useful information.
The attention to detail is mind-boggling. Just yesterday, in fact, I was tearing my hair out over some wierdness with Time-remapping that I couldnt figure out, so I decided to read "the bible" and learned of a obscure time-remapping "feature" which wasn't mentioned in the AE manual, and which was causing my remapped footage to not matchframe properly. This is the kind of thing that you can only figure out if you spend thousands of hours banging away at the program. There are hundreds of little gems like this throughout the book.
A wonderful added bonus is an article by one of the original creators of After Effects (during the CoSA days), recounting the interesting history behind the development of the product. I can't imagine that there was actually a time when AE didn't have transfer modes and only allowed one effect per layer!
I would agree with other reviewers that CMG is probably not the best book to start learning with if youre a complete AE newbie. It's hard to appreciate the true value of this book unless you've trudged through the AE Classroom in a Book and AE manual itself, and used the software for several "real" projects. This book fills in the gaps that all other AE references and "tutorial" books dont cover.
And please ignore all the other whiny reviewers who give CMG a low-star rating because it only shows Macintosh screenshots and keyboard shortcuts. I'm a Windows AE user, and this doesn't bother me at all, because it has no bearing on the usefulness of the information. AE on Windows and AE on the Mac are nearly identical, as are the vast majority of keyboard shortcuts. If you're too lazy to do the simple "<command key> = <control key>" and "<option key> = "<ALT key>" conversion in your head, then I can't imagine how you can have the patience to even learn AE in the first place!
Also ignore the whiners who complain about the lack of "whitespace" in the book. This is a rather petty, and even stupid thing to complain about, because considering how thick the book is, the "lack of whitespace" means you're getting even more information than you get in an offering such as Adobe's "Classroom in a Book"--which is annoyingly rife with whitespace. This book is about information, and not looking pretty on your coffee-table. Though I must say I am a bit surprised that Trish designed the type layout for the cover, as it seems very amateurish compared to her other work.
The fact is, this book is absolutely invaluable to ANY After Effects user, no matter how "advanced" you think you are. Like the Brian Maffitt Total Training tapes, you'll learn things you never knew before even in the "basic" sections of the book.
In short, get this book. It will be the best purchase you make in a long time.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Windows 2000 Professional
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Mark Minasi
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
What do you know about Windows 2000 Professional?

Most everyone who uses a personal computer has questions from time to time about its operating system. Even advanced users need some assistance with troubleshooting, and everyone can use a little additional training every once and a while. This reference guide offers both how- to advice on correcting problems and general guidance to help Windows 2000 users better understand the system.

One thing that makes this book a little different from others is the format. It includes bulleted text, screen shots, and other symbols that are typical of a reference book. But it also includes a good amount of reading material to supplement the screen shots and the reference- style text. In this regard, this book is like a study guide, which makes it more useful than other reference books that step you through things but don't explain as well as they should.

I think this guide could be even better if it included more advanced techniques. There is some material about advanced topics, like one would expect with a book that claims it is supposed to help you "master" the subject. But the majority of the guide is for beginners and intermediate students of Windows 2000.

Many reference books exist for users of Windows 2000 and other operating systems, so this guide is not alone. But I think the combined approach of reference book and reading book makes this one of the better guides on the market for understanding and utilizing Windows 2000.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web ReDesign 2.0: Workflow that Works
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Kelly Goto, Emily Cotler
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
A good introduction to Web Publishing processes.

A book printed on glazed paper in a non-standard (10 in. x 8 in.) format normally incites me to be more careful before purchasing. A rather serious browsing made the book attractive. After reading from cover to cover, I can say that Web Redesign|Workflow that Works, is a good acquisition.This book covers in details a Project Life Cycle, called Core Process, developed and extensively used by the authors in their Web Publishing consultancy business.The Project Life Cycle contains 5 phases:1. Defining the Project;2. Developing Site Structure;3. Visual Design and Testing;4. Production and QA;5. Launch and Beyond.
A separate chapter is dedicated to each phase and provides sufficient information for the reader to obtain a solid understanding of the various processes involved. The reader will also find numerous survey forms and checklists in the book as well as on the companion Web site ....P>This book is not a design manual and, as such, does not cover information architecture, graphics design or production tools like HTML, JavaScript, etc. Also, discussions on the technical infrastructure (hosting, hardware, database, connectivity, security, etc.) normally required to support Web Publishing are considered outside the scope of the book and are not covered. The very important subject of usability testing is covered in a chapter of its own, primarily from a project process point of view. The last chapter is dedicated to various techniques used in analyzing the competition. Rightly so, the book remains focused on project processes.
The suggested Project Life Cycle appears to be using a Waterfall methodology with some fast tracking. No mention is made of the existence of other more recent methodologies such as the Rational Unified Process or those at the origin of the Agile Alliance such as Extreme Programming (XP).
Surprisingly, examples of project schedules are presented in a Microsoft WORD format and no other project management software are covered. The experience Project Manager familiar with the PMBOK Guide will sometimes be puzzled as no distinction is made between project management processes and product-oriented processes and both can be intermixed and covered in the same paragraph. Once realized, this situation had no further negative impact.
There is no mention or reference to the PMBOK Guide.
This book is best for the experience Project Manager who wants to become familiar with the Web Publishing environment. The novice should first acquire basic knowledge of project management to make good use of this book. The PMBOK Guide is a very good start.
Here are a few suggestions for the second edition of Web Redesign | Workflow that Works:
1. A new chapter on Information Architecture with emphasis on project processes;2. Summary review of Content Management Systems;3. Integration with the PMBOK Guide;4. Discussions on the latest project development methodologies;
Jean C. Ducharme, PMP