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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Testing Computer Software, 2nd Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Cem Kaner, Jack Falk, Hung Q. Nguyen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good but not politically correct

I am studying to break into the software testing field and this book was recommended to me by a Project Manager at Microsoft. I am absorbing the material pretty well thus far, but I am bothered by the author's constant referral of the programmers as she and her. This makes me wonder if I am trying to break into a female dominated field or something. It stops my chain of thought each time I hit another occurance of it on the page. The material is good though and I am learning a lot from it.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Joy of Digital Photography (A Lark Photography Book)
Publisher: A Lark Photography Book
Authors: Jeff Wignall
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
At last -- digital photography made fun and easy!

Rarely do the mastery of an art and the mastery of teaching that art fall to the same person, but Jeff Wignall seems to be the exception that proves the rule. This how-to book lives up to its title - the passionate enthusiasm Wignall obviously feels for his subject matter is joyous and contagious. This book is a well-written comprehensive manual on how to grasp every element of digital photography as well as many elements of classical photography. From beginning theory to advanced technique and insider secrets from the pros, Wignall lays it out in a step-by-step manner. His voice resonates with originality and expertise. Most photos in the book are his and some are quite stunning - the book is fun to leaf through purely for the visuals. Wignall writes super-clearly, with wit, character and humor. He de-mystifies technical details that could easily intimidate amateurs like myself. It's evident that a ton of love, thought and research went into this work and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in digital photography or even just photography in general.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Alison Balter's Mastering Microsoft Access 2000 Development
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alison Balter
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Comprehensive but not a real tutorial

What I really want in a tutorial is complete, step by step instructions on how to duplicate the examples in the book. This way I can really understand how to recreate the procedures in my own applications. This book makes the same mistake as so many others in providing great examples, but not giving you a clue how they were made. I gave up by chapter 5 figuring out how to duplicate the examples in the book. By the end of this chapter there were only 3 vague pages on how to create numerous, very complex, queries and forms. You're essentially supposed to look at the examples and figure out what was done to create them. Unfortunately there are 100's of options that go into each form so you can never figure out on your own how to recreate the correct form. Numerous calculation fields had some very nice, very advanced techniques to provide interesting information. But again, you would have to read through later chapters to even start to figure out how these techniques work.
I would have to say the content is very advanced and useful, but I would only purchase this book if I was already familiar with Access. I'm not sure if I want to struggle through the rest of this book as a laborious learning experience, or purchase another more methodical one. I'm a software developer with 16 years of programming and database experience, so I am in no way unfamiliar with this subject.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Access 2000 for Windows for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: John Kaufeld
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
This Book Is An Absolute Waste Of Time To Read!!!

...My user level: beginner to intermediate (I already know how to build basic tables, forms, queries, trying to step up into the world of more complex relationships, reports, etc). I was pretty disappointed with this book: cut out the "for dummies" fluff and what's left are simple instructions on how to use the built in wizards. When I looked for example, for information on form controls in the index, I found they weren't even referenced. The front cover "cheat sheet" is just a listing of telephone and online tech support phone numbers (which you will end up shelling out $$ to call) and web addresses.
Kaufeld spends way too much time trying to make jokiness look like friendly instruction. Then, in place of real instruction, he constantly tells users to go get help from their company tech guy/gal. Wait a minute - I thought I bought this book so I could learn on my own! Apparently, he didn't envision Access users who work outside of a large corporation with an IT department.