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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential COM
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Don Box
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Book to the Theoretical and Practical Foundation of COM

I bought and read this book about 16 months ago.
I've re-read it twice since then. This is not because I didnt understand the book the first time -- its because there are so many layers of information in the book.
Some authors seem to be able to write 20 books on a subject -- You've seen the authors that do 3 C++ books a year, or 3 COM books a year. This is great for publishers, and the successful "serial author". (I am aware that Stroustrup has 2 other C++ books and Don has taken part in Effective COM -- but they're not on the same subject material)
Don takes a different approach. He's only going to write one COM book and do it properly. He does. This book is the most dense in terms of giving solid information to help you understand whats going on. Whats going on when your product is about to ship and there's only 3 "showstopper" bugs left. Thats when understanding it properly matters. It also matters when you want to design something. These details also matter to VB projects when they ship, or when they're being designed.
I generally read any COM book I see sitting around. So I've probably read about 6000 pages on COM. I've seen about 1000 wizard screenshots. I've seen 40 analogy-riddled COM explanations. I've seen "cute and funny" examples. This is the only one I've bought and I've never regretted it or covetted my neighbour's book.
Similarly with C++ books, there are authors who sell a rehash of the same material 20 times. I read any of these lying about too -- another 10,000 pages with 50 useful per book. I only _bought_ Stroustrup.
It's not (nor was it intended to be) _the_ tutorial. It doesnt have screenshots. Its not 'funny'. Depending on your initial level of knowledge, you should probably read one or two other books such as Inside COM (or intros to other books of that ilk) -- in fact the best primers are probably articles in MSDN. Use these as a primer as necessary. When you've read 1500 pages of these, come back to Essential COM, and you'll have any gaps in your knowledge filled in.
If I was allowed to own only 3 books on C++/COM development, they would be Stroustrup, Box and Effective COM. (Although Mr Bunny's Guides would come close :)
Finally, would people, regardless of positive or negative opinions held, please be kind enough to give their identity -- IMHO it invalidates your opinion if you're not willing to stand behind it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One
Publisher: Deke Press
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The best PS CS book in the market !!!

Believe me, this a must have PS book for all beginner and intermediate users. After you follow 12 lessons, you will master the essentials of using PS. I am not a native speaker, but this book is very easy to follow and understand since it is written in plain English with great Examples and the sense of humor! Those great examples are very useful! Organizing and writing style are also very good! I urge to buy another one of forthcoming One-on-One series from Deke McClelland! Highly recommended!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCAD/MCSE/MCDBA Self-Paced Training Kit: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Database Design and Implementation, Exam 70-229, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Pretty good for beginner to intermediate

I've learned a lot of stuff and it makes sense. You probably will, too so don't be too afraid to buy it.
I use queries on the job and know some programming so I am ready to give a shot to getting my dba cert. I like the approach the book takes because it starts out pretty easy and progresses logically to more advanced concepts. The book uses several different business scenarios which helps give an understanding as to why you would need to do xyz in the real world.
The flaws of the book are that it seems intentionally technical for the sake of being technical. An inexperienced person isn't usually up on what aggregate functions are, and some in-context definitions would be nice. I'm from the school that says big words are what we use to confuse management who normally won't ask questions lest they appear to know less than the underling :-) So.... personally I'd rather spend brain power learning the concept instead of deciphering overly technical (imho) text.
BUT, if you have a reasonable grasp on the english language and are a little bit tech savvy you should be able to work with it. I plan on taking the exam in Dec of 2003 or Jan of 2004, so I'll try to post how I did if anyone is interested.
Happy Landings

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ACT! 2005 For Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Karen S. Fredricks
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Review from the Author

Don't be fooled by the "Dummies" title - Wiley Publishing has a very successful formula that they've developed for this series. As much as I'd like to think that you're going to read this book from cover to cover, alas, it's meant to be a reference book that you can pick up and instantly find the answer to your most pressing questions. I've covered the most commonly used of the ACT! features and included many of the "gotchas" that I've encountered over my many years of ACT! consulting. I've given you easy, step by step instructions that don't require you to work with "pretend" contacts. Most importantly, I've tried to infuse the book with a sense of humor because to me learning a software program should be fun and non-threatening.

Karen Fredricks
Author, ACT! 6 for Dummies
Author, ACT! 2005 for Dummies