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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Insightful and rewarding

Some sections are dry - or seem that way for a while, when in fact the author is giving you a great history on this history of codes and codebreaking. The perspective gained from the explanatory and often entertaining style makes this book worth the price. Whenever it seemed that I was tiring of the "historical" nature of a chapter, within a couple pages I was suddenly glad to have learned the facts and reasons behind the fascinating evolution of cryptography.
A newcomer to modern cryptography, this is the first book that made clear the workings of public-key/private-key cryptography, and for me that alone was worth the price of the book.

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: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Yep, it's the 'ultimate', but....

The title of this book alone would make legions of true video game fans interested in purchasing it. I was one of them. I was soon indulging into seemingly hundreds of interesting facts that I never knew or would've thought to be true. Did you know that in 1993, more American kids recognized Mario and Sonic than Mickey Mouse? Do you know how Chuck E. Cheese restaurants came to be or who founded them? I was born in 1980, and I found it interesting that Space Invaders for the Atari 2600 was the best-selling game of that year. I now feel some pride that I grew up with and still own and play that game - the one that was on top of the world when I was born. What was it like to be an employee at Atari? How did that famous plumber we know by the name of Mario get his name? The answers may surprise you.
The Ultimate History of Video Games is excellent at going into exhaustive details about the early life of the video game industry, especially the Atari days. There's a lot of stuff on pinball, arcade's heydays, Atari 2600, NES, SNES, etc., and there's at least a page or two on the less successful systems like 3DO, Jaguar, Game Gear, and so on. It covers a little on the Pokemon craze and some of the newer systems of today, but not much.
That's perfect for me, because I mainly stick with the systems and games that I grew up with, but there's still something more that I would've liked to have seen in The Ultimate History of Video Games. My problem with the book is that there's too much about things such as court battles over the rating systems of video games, and not enough talk about the actual GAMES. Most of the biggest hits that defined a generation or year, such as Space Invaders (did you know the arcade version caused a coin shortage??), Pac-Man, Donkey Kong Country, Sonic The Hedgehog, etc. get a fair deal of coverage, but they're just not enough.
It isn't really a flaw of the book. This really IS the ultimate HISTORY of video games, but if you grew up playing video games in the 8 and 16-bit eras, you may find yourself wanting more. Personally, I wish there were a list of the best-selling video games for each year or some other types of compelling statistics included. But that's just my personal bias. If you're truly into the history of video games or even if you just think you'd be SOMEWHAT interested in learning about the past highs and lows of the industry, this is the book to get. There's no doubt about that.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Windows with C# (Core Reference)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Charles Petzold
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
"Programming Rich Clients for Windows" -- better title?

Another reviewer complained that this book was not about programming Windows. This is not true -- only the title is a bit misleading. This book explains how to program very Windows-specific things, such as Windows Forms and GDI+. It is mainly for writing rich-client applications, which may become more popular now.
Anyone who has read Petzold's previous books will see it is exactly the same focus. It is an excellent book, as usual, and the few things which are incorrect/out of date are corrected on his website. Programmers who have been working with Windows for many years all know that Petzold's books are a kind of standard.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX ActionScripting: Advanced Training from the Source
Publisher: Macromedia Press
Authors: Derek Franklin, Jobe Makar
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
...took my breath away...when do these people get to sleep?

okay everyone, listen up. i am going to make my review of this title very brief. if you are really--and, i mean really, really--interested in learning hardcore actionscript, then, your money stops here with this book. i have read over fifteen books about flash and actionscript. this book leaves all of those books in the dust, i am afraid. the lessons alone are just brilliant; to the point; and, worth the price of the book alone. this book is not for the faint hearted. if you want to get your hands dirty--again, i mean really dirty--this book will show you how to get dirty and deep into actionscript in no time flat. you simply have to be very serious about actionscript. if you are not, then buy something else--you will be better served elsewhere. these folks know their stuff--i only wished that my brain worked like their's. if i were to recommend only one book about actionscript, this title would be it. i just cannot put this book down... i think it comes with an invisible glue that makes the book get stuck to your hands. well, there you have it. i shall give this book 10 stars out of 5!