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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Visual C++ 6
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Ivor Horton
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
One-track mind


Mr. Horton has authored a number of other "Beginning" books, including Beginning C++. In the current volume, he attempts to combine teaching C++, Visual C++, and Windows programming, and doesn't do real justice to any of them.
As a primer on C++ the book is easy to read, but quite sketchy. Major features that he expanded on in other beginner's books are covered very briefly ("typedef" and "using" are examples). In terms of Windows programming, the information is well-presented but not well-explained: the reader is told to perform certain actions, but occasionally not why he is performing them. Similar comments hold true when learning about the Visual C++ IDE (Integrated Development Environment). You'll know where quite a few menus are located, but not what to do with them.
On the positive side, the book is readable, well-edited, and I didn't notice any actual errors (other than those of omission). That's why the book gets three stars; if it has the information you're looking for, it may be painfully brief but at least it won't be wrong.
The final point, and one that pulls the book closer to two stars, is that it has a weak index and shallow definitions, so its use as a reference as you become more experienced is almost nil.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Fundamentals of Database Systems, Fourth Edition
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Ramez Elmasri, Shamkant B. Navathe
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
dont know nothin'


My book was very poorly bound. It started to fall apart 2 months after I bought it. I would say the physical book quality is junk. As for the content, if you want to learn about relational algebra, DBMS operations, normalization and such in a theoretical context, then this is the book! It had a lot of good information on SQL statements. Don't be mislead by its description. There is some info on Access and practical database implementation, but not enough to mention. Just depends on what you need to learn.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: OpenGL(R) Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL, Version 1.2 (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Mason Woo, Jackie Neider, Tom Davis, Dave Shreiner, OpenGL Architecture Review Board
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
An OpenGL Companion


The fourth edition of "OpenGL Reference Manual" edited by Dave Shreiner provides an official command reference for the OpenGL graphics library version 1.4. Published by Addison Wesley (ISBN 0-321-17383-X) the text is approximately 760 pages and has a suggested retail price of $59.99.
First introduced in 1992, OpenGL is an industry standard graphical application programming interface (API) that supports 2D and 3D rendering across a host of platforms. The Architectural Review Board (ARB) governs the OpenGL API and oversees the adoption of new interface functions. Functions (or commands) within the API are usually simple and discrete. A developer calls a series of these small functions in sequence to specify rendering operations. To help utilize the library, the "OpenGL Reference Manual" supplies key functional documentation in a uniform manner.
The first two chapters provide an introduction to OpenGL, and an overview of the OpenGL architecture. The provided information is largely for reference rather than instruction. Generally, it is assumed the reader has a working knowledge of the pipeline already.
The third and fourth chapters list different groupings of the functional commands to provide the reader with several methods to index and reference functions. The third chapter details all each official OpenGL command categorized by functionality. The fourth chapter lists the various OpenGL constants that are compatible with each command.
Beginning with the fifth chapter, 160 official OpenGL commands are described. Listed alphabetically, every command has the following sections: Name, Function Prototype, Parameters, Description, Notes, Errors, See Also, and (sometimes when appropriate) Associated Gets. The coverage of each command spans an average of 3 pages.
The last two chapters describe fifty-two of the OpenGL Utility Library (GLU) and thirty-five OpenGL X-Windows extension commands. The reference format is identical but slightly shorter (averaging about 2 pages per command).
Overall, the organization and consistency is excellent. Often, material is duplicated per command to save the reader cross-referencing other sections of the book. Throughout the text, the wording is clear and unambiguous (if a bit dry) - exactly what you'd expect from a reference book of this nature.
The book does have a few shortcomings, however. There is only a small trace of sample source code. While the commands are presented alphabetically by class, the book contained no overall index. OpenGL Extensions (pixel and vertex shader commands, etc.) are not provided since they're not officially part of the Standard. Finally, having an electronic version of the text would have been a nice touch - especially one that integrated with the common development environments to provide context sensitive help or electronic searching.
The latest edition of the "OpenGL Reference Manual" is a great companion for OpenGL developers. To get the most from this book, readers unfamiliar or interested in learning the API should first read the "OpenGL Programming Guide, 4th Edition" (ISBN 0-3-211-73491) also published by Addison Wesley.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The proof is in the pudding.


I went for the test with nothing more than this book and my previous knowledge of the field. It taught me a great deal including "old school" stuff which only 10% of that was on the test. But the saving part of the book is that it covered the recent things as well (which was on the test). Over all, the book is a good book. I got my Certification with this as my only study guide and it did the trick. I do not know what more I could ask for out of it.