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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Digital Photography Expert Techniques (O'Reilly Digital Studio)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Ken Milburn
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Beautiful book, and excellent techniques...

O'Reilly has a book out called Digital Photography Expert Techniques by Ken Milburn. If you're ready to take your digital photography to the next level (close to professional grade), this is a book you'll want to see.
First off, the chapter contents: The Digital Photographer; Be Prepared; Bringing Out The Best Picture; Panoramas; Photoshop Selections, Masks, and Paths; Basic Digital Photo Corrections; Converting Photos to Paintings; Special Photographic Effects; Retouching and Rescuing Photos; Creating Fictitious Photos; Color Printing; Use Pictures to Sell Yourself; Sell It on the Web
This book targets the professional, or serious, digital photographer who is using an SLR digital camera with at least six megapixels and plenty of memory. It also assumes the use of Photoshop as the base editing tool for manipulating the images. But rather than stick with Photoshop as the only tool, the author will also educate you on other tools or plug-ins that will give spectacular results beyond what you could get by sticking with the base software. Another target for this book is the film photographer who wants to move to the digital realm, but doesn't quite know how best to set up the workflow of processing images. Because a digital photograph can take many forms after image enhancement, there are a number of good ideas here to help you know what to save and what to delete.
Each chapter is made up of a series of "tips" on how to do something interesting with your images or with your camera. For instance, in the retouching chapter, you'll find tips with the following titles: Restore Youth; Remove Stains; Eliminate Junk from the Landscape; Cosmetic Emphasis; Focus the Light on Points of Interest; Punch Out the Paunch; Proboscis Pruning and Changing Expressions; and Clone Detail from Another Photo. Each tip or technique is well documented as to the steps necessary in the software to accomplish the effect. He also usually shows before and after full-color comparisons so that you can visually grasp how the effect works and how you can use it in your own work.
Now, if you're like me, puttering around in the consumer world of digital cameras, you can still get some great ideas from this book. The tips on composition, image correction, and other basic skills are valid regardless of what level you're at. Your final result may not be quite as good as his due to not having an original image of the same resolution, but you can still end up with some stunning shots that will wow your friends.
Bottom line... quality information, well written, beautiful book that should be considered by any serious digital photographer.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes, Third Edition
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Ben Forta
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Concise Introduction to SQL

This book is a well-written, well-organized, concise introduction to SQL. Each of the 22 lessons takes about 10 minutes to complete. The same files are used throughout and are available from the author's Web site. Using these files and the author's numerous examples, one can learn SQL step-by-step as painlessly as possible.

There is one deficiency, though. Appendix E lists all SQL Reserved Words, but doesn't provide the exact syntax to use (for different DBMS's) or examples. Correcting this would subtantially increase the size of the book but would be extremely useful for reference.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Advanced Java 2 Platform: How to Program (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Harvey M. Deitel, Paul J. Deitel, Harvey M. Deitel
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Quantity - Yes Quality - No

I was very disappointed in this book after having looked forward to its publication. The book seems to have been hurriedly put together and shipped before it was completed.
Example 1: Page 898. The book refers to Appendix E which is supposed to be on the CD - it isn't.
Example 2: Page 898. The book says the transcations.sql file, used to set up the database required to run the example is on the CD - it isn't.
Example 3: Pages 1165. The authors attempt to show how to set up Bea WebLogic server to run an EJB example. The instructions are incomplete. The authors end the section with the statement "you are almost ready to deploy".
I could go on but I think you get the idea. I would have preferred a book that was more focused, with complete examples, and a book that was *finished* when it went to press.
Unfortunately it seems the Deitel and Deitel folks are more interested in creating many titles with many pages while letting quality slip (...).
Check out the new book by Gittleman entitled Advanced Java: Internet Applications and published by Scott/Jones. In about half the pages, Gittleman covers many of the same topics as Deitel and Deitel. I really like Gittleman's style.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, Second Edition (All-in-One)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Shon Harris, Shon Harris
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
I Passed. - - This book is a keeper!

I've been reading a lot of security books lately. I sat for my CISSP this week. This book was without a doubt the best CISSP book and one of the best technical books I've read in a long time. Although the material is dense and diverse, the author handles complex information with grace, style, and intelligence. As a writer as well as a security professional, I was very pleased to have technical information presented in a manner that was both logical and interesting.
If you're getting ready for the CISSP - get this book. Even if you're not planning on getting your CISSP, this is an excellent book just to have around to learn more about security issues.