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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Excel Version 2002 Inside Out (Inside Out (Microsoft))
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Mark Dodge, Craig Stinson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very Good Intro to Excel 2002


Contrary to the other two reviews that existed when I wrote this, I found this book to be just what I needed. I have years of experience with every version of Excel, but only at a modest level. Because I do my work in SQL Server, I never needed any of the more obscure (to me) Excel features, until now. This book answered several of the how-to questions I had with its examples.
I have to agree with the reviewer who wanted more depth. While this book has met my immediate needs, it is clear that it is going to leave me wanting more, very soon. I will certainly have to buy a more advanced book, but I would not have been happy with a very advanced book before I used this one.
My advice is to take a look at the sample pages on Amazon and only buy the book if it addresses your specific issues.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning XML, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Erik T. Ray
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good transition book from HTML, CSS --> XML


SHORT: I highly recommend this book if you know HTML and have some exposure to CSS; it's a good intro book to XML, which is what it's intended to be. The end result is that you'll know enough to get started with more technical books, and where to go for available web resources.
LONGER: The reasons that other people have given for not liking this book are some of the same reasons that I find it useful. I'm pretty well-versed in HTML and have some basic understanding of JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets. This book goes into detail about both and gives comparisons and evolutions that involve XML. I'm about halfway through it at the moment, and it's giving me a clear, not-to-technical view of XML. The other books I have go straight into the code, telling me HOW but not really explaining the WHY of everything. That's what makes this book great to me. The first half deals with explanation and presentation, while the last half is more code-heavy. The two other books I have strive to be highly technical, but proved to be a bit overwhelming for me as a complete newbie to the subject of XML.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Motion Graphics and Effects in Final Cut Pro
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Kevin Monahan
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
A bit disappointed


I purchased this book based on the numerous great reviews here, but I have to say I am quite disappointed.

I am proficient in softwares such as Photoshop and After Effects, but I am new to Final Cut Pro. I was hoping to learn from this book techniques that can only be done in FCP. However half way through the book all I got were very basic things such as moving/scaling layers around, faking 3D effects or playing with type, which can be done 10 times better in After Effects. The author only touched briefly on the more unique concepts in FCP (such as roll tools and slip tools). I had to find information on those via Final Cut Pro Help.

I am also disappointed at the exercises on the DVD that comes with the book. The exercise sequences were very simple and wasn't designed well, and I often found myself following the book and producing an effect that I would never want to make (such as squashing a movie clip into awkward dimensions and making them fly around the screen), or it would be an effect that can be produced much better in After Effects. At first I was hoping to see and learn from examples similar to hollywood movie trailers/title sequences, but I have seen none of that so far.

I also find the organization of this book a bit confusing. For instance, in the first few chapters of the book it will show an example using various techniques, such as nesting and masking, but it wouldn't show you right away how these techniques are done until the later parts of the book (and it wouldn't even tell you if these techniques would be covered in the book at all!). Also, personally i think a new user should read the first 5 chapters before doing the bonus exercise in chapter 1 in order to know what's going on.

However, this book did point out things that I would have overlooked if I were to experiment with Final Cut Pro myself.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Windows Server 2003 for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ed Tittel, James Michael Stewart
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Useless Book


I wish they has 0 stars as a choice to rate this book. This book is for someone who has very little experience or who has never installed a server. I usually like the dummies books as they are easier to read and understand but this one was a DUD!!!