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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java (tm) Certification
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid A. Mughal, Rolf W. Rasmussen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
a great book on the core lang

This is an invaluable resource for any java developer. I use this book as a reference more than the language specification.
It explains the core language very very well. Though part of the API coverage could be better, like AWT and new collection framework. Since the main intention of the book is to cover scjp objectives, it is probably acceptable.
For the scjp, it will give you lot more than what you need. But hey, you want to write better code, not to be paper certified, right? Go get it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX Professional 2004 Application Development : Training from the Source (Training from the Source)
Publisher: Macromedia Press
Authors: Jeanette Stallons
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Author Got a Little Lost in Own Steps

I'll be brief. It teaches efficient programming and good tips for beginner programmers but don't try to follow the steps outlined in the book. Seems that author got lost in his own steps. For example page 144 step 8 doesn't indicate that you should place the onChanged code in the "calcObject.as" file, instead it says that you sould place it after the onKillFocus event. I lost a lot of time trying to figure out why my program wasn't working (wanting to practice debugging) until I finally looked at the files in the DVD. I'd say just read the book and test using the files that came in the DVD if things don't work.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web Design With Macromedia Studio Mx 2004 (Internet Series)
Publisher: Charles River Media
Authors: Eric Hunley
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good for beginners and experienced Macromedia users

As an experienced Macromedia-based developer, I was concerned that this book would be too beginner for me. Instead, I found that it filled in many of the weak points in my knowledge.
I can see where someone who is just getting started with Macromedia's products would use this book to begin to build their skills. The examples take you through all of the major bits and pieces of each program without being overwhelming.
For me, the book let me get my feet wet with Freehand, which I don't use (until now), and got me started writing custom behaviors in Flash - something that I can use in my day-to-day development.
This book is NOT for someone looking for the nitty-gritty details of rarely used aspects of Macromedia's product line. Instead, it focuses on demonstrating each of the Studio's major capabilities - a job that it does well.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have for your collection

This CD should not be considered a replacement for the book, at least as long as you are like me and like the portability of a book, it's ability to record notes, etc.
What John Vlissides and the folks at AWL have done very well is re-shaping the book to electronic form. This is not just a duplication of the book, but a genuine adaptation of the content to a different medium, in this case HTML. Perhaps most valuable for me is the ability to pop this in and do a full-text search. I still use the paper book, though.
It would have rated 5 stars but for one thing: the inability to record notes within the medium. That's not the fault of the publisher or anyone--it's a difficult technical problem that hopefully someone will solve.
I would heartily recommend this to consultants or anybody who doesn't necessarily have a "home base" because these are much easier to lug through airports than the hardcover GoF book. :-)