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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows 2000 Scripting Guide
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent, must have for the administrator

This is one of the best, if not THE best scripting book I have read. As it states, it is written for the administrator, so its focus is limited to that aspect of scripting. But it is so well focused, well written, concise and full of pertinent examples that I couldn't help but learn more about scripting that is applicable to all aspects of scripting. I have applied lessons learned here to Access VBA, for example, with great effect.If you have only one book on scripting, this is it. It covers VBScript, JScript, ADSI, WMI, etc. Very well done and well worth the price.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook (Pioneering Series)
Publisher: Friends of ED
Authors: Dan Cederholm
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Perfectly practical, and will become indispensible to me...

I've mentioned in the past that books on web standards and markup tend to irritate me due to their "I'm an expert and my opinion is always right" attitude. But never one to give up, I had the chance to review Web Standards Solutions - The Markup and Style Handbook by Dan Cederhold (Apress). Much like the book Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman, this is a refreshing change and extremely practical. I really like it!

The chapter breakdown: Lists; Headings; Tables Are Evil?; Quotations; Forms; <strong>, <em>, and Other Phrase Elements; Anchors; More Lists; Minimizing Markup; Applying CSS; Print Styles; CSS Layouts; Styling Text; Image Replacement; Styling ; Next Steps; Index

The chapters follow a common format... A topic is introduced, and three or four different methods are shown on how to accomplish the task (like lists). Each method is explored for pros and cons, with the goal of finding a solution that puts emphasis on semantic meaning and clean markup. This is followed by an "extra credit" section that pushes past the basic topic and starts to show some more unique ways to use CSS for appealing page images.

For one, the tone is conversational in nature. You're not being lectured to or scolded for not adhering to perfect and exact standards (or opinions). The book is also not a reference manual as such. It's a practical guide on how to use CSS to get the job done and give yourself a solid design that will work for multiple types of browsers. Throw in a little humor along the way, and this book becomes one which you find yourself picking up repeatedly.

The sign of a good book for me is one where I'm using the book either before or during my review. Based on a project I'm currently coding, I've already started to memorize certain page numbers I keep going back to. This book will definitely secure a spot on the bookshelf at work, and will be closely guarded to make sure it doesn't disappear.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A great book....

A very great strategy guide. How great, you ask? Well to tell the truth,I already beat the game. A really great book, I reccomend it to everyone who has the game.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon--The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Authors: Steven L. Kent
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
It's entertaining, but lackluster at some points, too.

I've always been fascinated with video gaming history. Although I was born in the mid 80's, consoles such as the Atari 2600 have always captured my interest even though they were "outdated" by the time I got into video games. The neat thing about gaming history is that you can tell the story from so many different angles - different companies, different time periods, etc. Although I've read many books (and articles) on video games prior to this one, there is still plenty to learn - and there was certainly information in here new to me.
There were many things to enjoy in this book, but there were a few shortcomings. I loved how the book went in-depth on the history of the classic gaming era, but it seemed to go a bit soft when it came to the 8-bit and 16-bit systems. Arcade games are discussed thoroughly in the beginning of the book, but are ignored near the end. Nintendo and Atari have chapters upon chapters of history, but lesser selling systems (such as the Neo*Geo) are restricted to the footnotes. The book also tended to waste too much time discussing court cases. Now, although many of those cases were turning-points for the gaming industry, a few seemed irrelevant (e.g., Donkey Kong vs. King Kong) and were confusing and hard to follow for someone like me without a background in law.
Make no mistake, the first half of this book is excellent. And in the closing paragraph the author says he intended to publish this book in 1995 or 1996. I think, given the little coverage he makes of anything past the mid-90's, his book would have fared better if released earlier. A few chapters (mainly the ones concerning the legal disputes) I could do without. The book also had a bad habit of jumping around in time. It documents the rise and fall of Atari's coin-op division, but then starts over to talk about the rise and fall of the Atari VCS.
Bottom Line: If classic gaming history is your thing, there are better books to be read than this one. But if you want a broader look on video games that encompasses all generations - you may just enjoy this!