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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, 4th Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Michael Meyers
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great book, but quite large!

I read this book and learned a lot about PCs and operating systems. Perhaps the best thing about the book is the many diagrams that guide the reader through the concepts. I was weak on the hardware side of PCs, but this book filled in the gaps in my knowledge.
Unfortunately, the book is huge. It is hard to study for the exams because it takes a long, long time to study a book of this size. I forgot some of the things from the first part of the book by the time I got to the last part of the book. You might want to consider using a short study guide to prep for the exam after working through this book.
My advice for the A+ exams: Be sure to pause after the hardware stuff, prep for the exam, take the hardware exam, and then move quickly into studying for the OS stuff. Break it up, otherwise the amount of information can become overwhelming. (I think you have 90 days to take one exam after passing the first).
A great book to learn from. A bit overwhelming because of its depth.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Microsoft DirectShow for Digital Video and Television
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Mark D. Pesce
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Just the SDK Docs in Paperback

This is a pathetic book. I have very little respect for any author that would produce this kind of trash. This is just somebody trying to make money because there are essentially no books available for DirectX. Throw together some "stuff" from the SDK and call it a book. Real pathetic Microsoft Press, I expected you to care more about your reputation than this.
The DirectX SDK docs do a better job than this book except that it is not as convenient as a real book that you can flip through.
I do not understand how it got such good reviews, they must not have actually read the DirectX SDK docs. I was eagerly awaiting this books arrival hoping the examples would be substinative, but they were lame, incomplete, and no more helpful than the FREE samples and docs that came with the SDK.
To say this book covers "all the details of DirectShow" is just not accurate. Assuming this book was useful, it would take 3 or 4 books like this one to provide "all the details".
This book is very high level (general). Do not expect the examples to show you how to do anything complicated.
Also, this book was supposed to be about Digital Video and Television. Last time I watched a DVD movie or TV, the movie/show would have been worthless without the audio. Yet, this book only has 14 pages dedicated to audio out of its total 414 pages. There is also about 20 other pages sprinkled around (and that's being generous). Why is this important, because coding audio is different than coding video, and any other DirecShow task. Sure, it's COM, so it's just another set of interfaces, but it is just that, another set or at least it is using the same set of interfaces differently. Same goes for other DirectShow tasks. Even the treatment of Video is very general.
I remember when Windows 3.1 and OS/2 (both from Microsoft) first came out. Programming Windows and OS/2 was considered very difficult and specialized because the documentation/books were few and not in depth. Well, now programming Windows and even OS/2 is just expected from even the novice programmer. Why? Because there are many books from many people, and Microsoft provides tons of information and real examples, and where examples are lacking, 3rd parties fill the need. That is simply not the case with DirectShow. True enough the DirectX SDK is pretty good for an SDK, but this book does nothing more than provide an incomplete hard copy of part of the SDK.
For crying out loud, the following is all over his example code "This code is also stolen from the DirectX SDK". So, just read the SDK don't waste your money on this book.
It might be better than no book, but marginally.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XML Bible (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Elliotte Rusty Harold
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best XML Book Selling So Far

This book is really cool, however, I wish the author gave more examples on variables. It's worth the money to buy this book. I spent 2 days on XML tutorial, and it was a waste of my time, I was so frustrated, then I found this book. The Bible series is very good. I own a bunch of them. The book has a companion CD which is extremely helpful, also included is the XML/XSL compiler, very handy. Thanks for writing such a wonderful book. I'm a fan of the Bible series ever. I rated this book 4 stars because I would love to have more examples on variables, more on how to create XML tags in Java. In overall, it's the best in XML so far.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Thinking in Java (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Bruce Eckel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Learn C First Then C++ Then Java

Assumptions: If you don't like the works of Peter van der Linden, (or Jason Hunter and Brett McLaughlin, for that matter) stop here; you have no business reading my review.
Level of experience: Tech writer, not a programmer
Strong Opinion: Along with "Just Java", this is absolutely the best general book on Java ever written. Like Peter, Bruce has the twin gifts of clarity and context. He presents the material in clear, clean, precise and lively prose -- and he puts every concept into context. That is, he doesn't just explain "what" Java does, he explains the assumptions underlying "why" Java does it. One (albeit deluded) reviewer of this book complained that Bruce included info on the Internet and background on Client/Server in chapter one -- a chapter on objects. Well, duh! In this incredibly concise, extremely well-written chapter, Bruce stitched together the evolutionary threads that made Java make sense as a web programming language. Later on, in chapter two, Bruce presents *memory* in its full context: registers, stack, heap, etc. and talks about why java does things with memory the way it does. I don't know much C or C++, but I think -- in many circumstances -- it's quite valuable to understand the way Java operates vis a vis these other languages. It brings context to the table and, for me at least, context is vital in understanding concepts. Another reviewer (to remain nameless) complains that bruce repeats himself, citing references in several different chapters to garbage collection (instead, apparently, of putting all the references in one tidy gc chapter). Well, once again, this completely misses the point. Bruce talks about garbage collection in several different chapters becasue it lends context to the topics he's discussing. You have to wonder about some of the people who write these reviews (present company excluded!) I could go on and on about this book, but the point by now is obvious. If you value clarity and context and want to know not just "what" Java does but "why" Java does it, read this book. It's a masterpiece.