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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming in Objective-C
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Stephen Kochan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Book

Stephen Kochan books are always clear and concise and deliver all the material you need to know in a straight forward way. While I have been programming in ObjectiveC for since 1990, I bought this book to add to my library. To my surprise I realized that I also own a very worn 1988's copy of Programming in C.

One interesting twist on this book, is that it doesn't presume that you know how to program in C so it covers the C underpinnings of the language.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alan Cooper
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Worth the time and money

Cooper has done a good job of pointing out common problems in software design. The book is well written, with interesting examples and anecdotes to illustrate the author's points. While most of the book focuses on "off the shelf" products, I think the author's arguments are even more relevant to custom software development. If you already believe that software is poorly designed, this book is unlikely to be a revalation to you. It will, however, give you some ammunition to use in discussions with "apologists".
I agree with the earlier reviewer, who said that the people most needing to read it probably won't. This would seem to be a great book for development managers and purchasers of software, but I think the only people likely to read the whole thing are professional developers.
I have two criticisms of the book (for which I give it 4 out of 5 stars): too often it comes across as an advertisement for the author's company; and I would have appreciated more "how-to" information. To this latter point, the author himself says in his preface that he had intended to write a "how-to" book, but was talked into writing a "business case" book instead. I hope that he will soon follow up this effort with the planned "how-to" book.
A final question -- what is with these 1 star reviews? I've read a few of them now, for different books, and I have to question whether the reviewer has even read the book. If so, they seem to have completely missed the point. At the very least, if giving a 1 star review, please provide some detailed criticisms so I can decide whether I am likely to share your opinion.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Digital Printing, Second Edition
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Harald Johnson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Research, Describes the State of the Art

There are a lot of books on digital cameras and how to take digital pictures. There are also a lot on processing these images to create the special effects that you might want. But up until now I have not seen any that talk about converting these beautiful images into something so mundane as a picture you can put into an envelope and send home, or hang on the wall.

Of course everyone starts out with an inexpensive ink jet printer, the kind you get at WalMart or where ever for only a few tens of dollars. The next step is to realize that the ordinary typing paper you've been using is not the best, so you go get some that promises photo quality.

If the result you're getting with this approach is satisfactory for your needs, you need go no further, and this book probably isn't for you. I say probably, because there are hints here on paper, ink and techniques that will help you get the most out of any printer.

But if you want to go further, up to advanced amateur standing or beyond, then I'd consider this book a necessity. It covers everything. From printer technologies, to specific brands, to inks, to papers.

At this level, you're not talking about $29.95 printers, and just getting the right printer is worth far more than the cost of this book. It clearly represents the state of the art in photo printing today.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Software Project Survival Guide
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Steve C McConnell
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Good checklists, not enough examples.

I was disappointed in this book - perhaps it was a problem with expectations. McConnell's previous books - Code Complete and Rapid Development -were very well written and provided valuable insights into best practices in the computer industry. By attempting to do the same thing here, the author missed the mark. The Software Project Survival Guide presents a road map marked with good practice applied in a mature organization that understands the nature of software and responds rationally, providing the resources and time required to do the job right. The overwhelming majority of people who are taking on their first project management job will have few, if any, of the benefits that this book takes for granted.
Don't get me wrong. This is a great collection of really good ideas and it's really well written, but it doesn't give much guidance to the first-time project manager who needs to deal with misdirection and misunderstanding from those who he or she reports to. The book presents a fine set of suggestions on "Techniques for Really Good Project Management," but there isn't much on "Survival."