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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

You will definitely enjoy this book. Beginning with Caesar, touching on Enigma in WWII, and ending with RSA and quantum cryptography, Simon Singh does an excellent job of tracing the history of secret communication. You will find this book enjoyable and enlightening. You will learn how your credit card number is sent securely online and how to send email that can't be read but by only one person. You will also learn about the ongoing debate of how secure encryption should be allowed to be. A wonderful book that assumes no previous knowledge but leaves you with so much information, THE CODE BOOK is a must-have for anyone.

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

Anyone who wants to design more than 5 web pages should be required to outline the major points in Jakob Nielsen's Designing Web Usability. Anyone who is hiring someone to design a web site should read this book first. Anyone who uses the internet as a regular source of information will tend to scream "YES" when Nielsen points out examples of bad web design.
Jakob Nielsen's book describes a way of thinking about the World Wide Web. It is not a how-to book tied to a particular software package. He simply wants the internet to be a useful place where communication takes place. He talks about what a web page should be like rather than focusing on the HTML required to create it. He illustrates his ideas with many examples of sites that work and ones that don't. As a result, it is one of those rare computer books that will still be useful 5 years from now.
Much of the information in the book seems obvious. After all, isn't communication the goal of a web page? Yet I would guess that after reading a chapter of Nilsen's book, you could identify significant design problems in the majority of web sites. Read all of the chapters and you'll begin to understand what it takes to create powerful web sites.
Dale Fast fast@sxu.edu

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Digital Photography All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: David D. Busch
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Takes Digital Photography to the Next Level!

Dummies books always make good introductions to a topic, but this thick book really dives deeply into digital photography. Most digital photography books ignore the photography aspect in favor of techie discussions of hardware, sensors, and gadgets. Either that, or they expend most of their pages discussing image editing rather than photography.
This one covers all the bases. I loved the extensive chapter on shooting sports and action photos, the detailed coverage of portraiture, a very nice discussion of useful tricks for getting the best travel pictures, and an in-depth discussion of close-up photography. All of it relates to the special capabilities and needs of digital photography, too.
There's plenty of information on image-editing, too, for those who want to know how to fine-tune their digital images. I even liked the chapter on scanning.
Everything is well-organized into separate "books" which each have meaty chapters dealing with a specific topic. It's easy to zip through the table of contents and find the exact information you need. This is one of my favorite Dummies books!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Crystal Reports 8.5: The Complete Reference
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: George Peck, George Peck
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not bad.

You need to usually read several pages of a subject to find the info you're looking for in this book, but at least you don't need to read several chapters. No, it is not a hit list of functions, like one of the O'Reilly books, but it does cover a LOT of stuff useful to, yes, a beginner. I feel I have been able to move from the beginner category to a really advanced level in crystal with the aid of this book, over several months. Like I said, not bad, but you need patience. From reading some of the other reviews on this book, it seems like NOT knowing much about crystal makes this book seem a lot more useful.