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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Premiere Pro Classroom in a Book (Classroom in a Book)
Publisher: Adobe Press
Authors: Adobe Creative Team
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good introduction upset by LAZY editorial work

I have used earlier versions of Premiere for video editing so this Classroom in a book was more to get me up to speed with the new features of Premiere Pro and in that respect was very useful, as the Classroom books always are. Kudos to Adobe for finally including a DVD with the book and DV source clips.

If you're a beginner it's 90% self explanatory and helps you effectively understand the software interface with some general background explanations as to video editing in general. If you want to understand the principles of what you are doing more than the HOW, I recommend Rosenberg's Studio Techniques book in addition to this. I also recommend reading this book in conjunction with the manual or help files - you'll learn a lot more than if you just go through the motions of "enter this number, push that slider etc".

Although the book is divided into discrete lessons, each lesson forms part of a larger production; a short film called "Books and Beans". Personally I liked this approach better than earlier Premiere Classroom in a Books where each lesson was unrelated to the following one. Plus the video was pretty funny in a kitsch kind of way and the obvious presence of a story encouraged me to experiment much more than previously, especially with things like transition timings and effects for dramatic emphasis. The story also served as something of an incentive - I wanted to get to the next lesson to see what happened to the hero!

I was, however, more than slightly annoyed to discover how lazy Adobe have been in not correctly updating this book from earlier versions. It is full of mistakes. Many stem from the fact that exercises were copied wholesale from earlier Classroom in a Books (particularly the version 6 classroom in a book) and not updated.

For example one exercise asks to you preview your effects by "Alt" scrubbing in the timeline. I find this amusing given that one of the better new features of Premiere Pro, proclaimed everywhere else in the book, is that ALt scrubbing is no longer required. More serious however is the requirement in another exercise that you use the "Zigzag" filter. Again this part of the exercise was not updated and although the "Zigzag" filter is provided with Premier Pro, it is only for legacy support and does not show up in the Effects palette, even though it does load when Premiere starts. If you read the Premiere Pro manual supplement, Adobe consider these old 8bf Photoshop filters REDUNDANT. So why on earth it is in the Classroom in a Book is beyond me and although you could complete the tutorial using another filter, it sort of defeats the purpose and certainly brought me a to a crashing halt as I spent an hour initially trying to get the filter to load and then more time on the net searching for answers.

Given the significant changes between Premiere Pro and earlier versions I suppose some errors are understandable, but if I was a complete beginner some of the instructions would have left me a little perplexed. As long as your bear this in mind, I would still recommend it.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The place to start for learning design patterns

I felt the book was as clear and concise as possible. It did a great job in quickly introducing me to patterns and is an essential reference in my collection. The best part about this book is it's organization and use of Case Studies. I am not a C++ or a SmallTalk programmer so Java examples would be nice, but this was released around 1995 so I can't possibly be critical of there choices. I recommend anyone involved with software design read this.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential ASP.NET With Examples in C#
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Fritz Onion
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Low Detail

The book presents just a few of the features of the new ASP.NET and in very low detail.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Robert Penner's Programming Macromedia Flash MX
Publisher: Osborne/McGraw-Hill
Authors: Robert Penner
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
No real-world application

Don't get me wrong... this is a good book for some... but for most this is just another book in a big stack of Flash books that has no real-world application what-so-ever.
This book essentially has 3 parts:
1. How the author got into flash.2. Equations3. What the author can do in flash.
Now it should be mentioned that this book has NO examples and that in chapter one it is clearly stated that this book is not and was not intended to be a tutorial book. Now, having said that, future buyers should be wary in that you really will not be told how or shown how to do anything with this book. The author is essentially saying, "Here are some equations you can use in flash, but I'm not going to show you how to use them, or what to use them for."
Those of you familiar with the blue book for automobiles will find that this book reads strikingly similar. By this I mean the blue-book will tell you about cars, but not how to operate or service one. Likewise, this book will tell you about flash and some things flash can do, but not how to do them.
To a developer/designer like myself who is actually out creating sites for clients this book offers next to nothing. However, this book is great I imagine for those people who just create visual effects you would never see on a normal website. By this I mean I've never had a client request a snowstorm or a tornado on a project. And I do NOT mean mousetrailers, interface design or any of the good real world creations.
This book will also appeal to those who just like to read manuals, in that you don't need to have a computer to do anything related to this book. As mentioned earlier, because you don't actually do anything in this book, all you need is the book (you don't even need flash). This book can easily be summed up in, "Here is an equation, here is another equation, and here is another equation. Here are some things that I did with those equations in which you will never find any real world use for unless you get your own book deal some day and then you can pass them along". This book is only a reading book, and can be read cover to cover without even needing to turn your computer on.
Now don't get me wrong, the book is entertaining to read and as stated earlier it clearly tells you in chapter 1 that it isn't going to show you how to do anything. It will, however, give you INSIGHT to programming in flash and enhance your skill in that area. Undoubtedly your math skills will improve as well. For this I give the book 5 stars. However, as I design and develop for a living, I need to know where the real-world application is... and this book has none... for that I give this book 1-star. Thus my review I have given 3 stars.
The author is supremely talented in mathmatics and programming and undoubtedly if he sat down and wrote a book that was practical for what flash is capable of turning the web into, it would be a knockout bestseller. Unfortunately this is not that book.
Another thing I find terribly ironic is that every flash book to date raves on the uses and superiority of flash over your standard HTML driven websites and yet when you visit any of these books authors websites you find a dinky 2 page site that is HTML driven... kinda makes you wonder eh?