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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh : Visual QuickStart Guide (Visual Quickstart Guides)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Katherine Ulrich
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
thank goodness for this book

I've always wanted to learn Flash but it's a really intimidating program, even if you're very familiar wtih Illustrator, Photoshop, and Quark. I bought just about every instruction book on this program and returned all but this one and the Bible.

Guess which book got me up and running in no time. The organization of this book is exceptionally clear, and the illustrations they use to show you what to do are just as good as the movieclips that come with other, more expensive instruction manuals. The vector art was something I was already familiar with, but without the step-by-step, illustrated approach in this book, I could not make animations work properly or integrate a Flash movie into an html document.

The section on Timelines starts by explaining the Flash structure of Frames, Layers, and Scenes in a way that actually makes sense, and then takes you further so that you learn how to organize your images in order to quickly get a movie clip off the ground without slogging through more frames than necessary.

It ends with chapters on Action Scripting and Video Integration, but at a basic level because those operations are complicated and quite rightly belong in a book on expert Flash usage. You learn a few basic behaviours which go a long way toward making a website look clean and professional, and how to get small video clips to run on your site.

Overall, it's the best book for someone who's just starting out. An advanced user will either want the next book in this series, or will get the Bible book and call it a day.

Product: Book - Audio CD
Title: MP3 Audio Bible by Max McLean
Publisher: Fellowship for the Performing Arts
Authors: Max McLean
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Almost Great

I purchased this MP3 version and am broadly speaking very pleased with it. There are some occasional infelicities such as McLean pronouncing "news" as "noos", breathing in the wrong place, reading a little fast at times etc. However, my big bugaboo, and main reason for only awarding 4 stars is the fact that you have intrusive chapter announcements occurring right in the middle of the great narrative passages in the historical books and the gospels, frequently in places where the narrative overlaps from one chapter into another. There must be a better way of doing this, if indeed you need to do it at all, probably when you come to a natural break in the storyline at the beginning of a new paragraph. Other than that this is a fine piece of work and the MP3 format is wonderfully convenient compared to having lots and lots of tapes or CDs.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Programmer's Cookbook
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Matthew MacDonald
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The book that every .NET Developer should have

This is a very nice book because it gives you what you need especially when your an advanced user.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: DNS and BIND, Fourth Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Paul Albitz, Cricket Liu
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Definitive desktop reference

This is the definitive guide to DNS and the Bind implementation. If you don't understand it by reading this book, you never will.