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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
The book that will piss off most web designers


If you are a web designer, this book will either force you to re-evaluate your design architecture, or it will end up in your fireplace.
As the number of web pages publised increases at an alarming rate, we as web designers, and instructors of future designers, need to take note of Jakob's message.
Just because I can program a page to do virtually whatever I want, doesn't mean it should be done. Also, just because most web pages make the same mistakes, itg doesn't mean you should follow suit.
This book is meant for the experienced web designer. If you have never designed a page before and are just begining, first learn your code and practice. Once you have made a few designs come back and read this book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days (4th Edition) (Sams Teach Yourself)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Rogers Cadenhead, Laura Lemay
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Confusing for beginners, and not much better for others


I'd only recommend Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days if nothing else is available.
First, let me say that a few have eluded to the "cutesy" writing style the authors intersperse throughout this book. It's not as sickening as they claim; in fact, it's actually one of the saving graces of the book, adding enough humor and "down-to-earthness" to keep the reader somewhat interested in it.
My beef is the confusing teaching style Lemay and Cadenhead present. It often leaves the reader frustrated and perplexed by jumping around back and forth in the book searching for a clear explanation on how to do anything within Java. Here's what I mean: frequently, new terminology is only briefly touched upon within a chapter (and it usually doesn't tie in directly with the chapter's subject matter), only to abruptly conclude with "We'll get into this topic more tomorrow" or "we'll cover this more next week". When the topic is reconvened later, you're automatically expected to have a thorough knowledge of it. This leaves you thumbing through previous pages trying to look for any detailed explanation on it. I found that the first seven chapters are especially good (or should I say bad) at this. I can realistically say that at the end of the first week, some beginners still won't know the differences between variables, statements, and methods -- all basic elements taught "in detail".
The examples sometimes include elements that aren't even mentioned until several chapters later. As you're going through lines of code, there's the odd syntax with no details on what it actually does within the example. You're just excepted to accept it. If you're new to Java, and like to know what's going on at all times, this would prove to be quite mind-boggling. While this is admittedly unavoidable, there are so many times the authors could've started out with simple concepts (and examples to match them) and "build up" gradually.
Speaking of the examples -- I feel there should have been more in each chapter. Unless you're the type who remembers everything after being told only once, you'd need more examples and sample applications and applets to help the material "sink in".



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


I've been anxiously waiting for this book. I bought it direct from the author (signed too) and am thrilled with this new edition. The other lw books out are great - but for a fat book full of tutorials I really like this one. It's almost 1000 pages and I was happy to find great stuff about UV mapping, tons of modeling and lighting and screamernet, rendering. It was very cool that there was a DVD in the book too with color images and a ton of extra video tutorials. Great great purchase for $40! Good job Dan - you did it again!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Python Essential Reference (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: David Beazley
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Almost perfect...


This book is extemely well written. It provides a brief section on the basic structures of Python within the first 20 pages, allowing experienced programmers to jump right in. It then provides 80 pages of additional built-in constructs and finishes the book out with coverage of many useful modules. It also provides good info on how to extend Python with C++ modules.
The writing is clear and helpful. For the price, I don't think you can beat this book.