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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (4th Edition)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Tom Negrino, Dori Smith
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A great, hit-the-ground-running start for JavaScript


This book is an apple, not an orange, so don't call it an orange. It's not a comprehensive guide to the esoteric ins and outs of JavaScript. That's what O'Reilly's JavaScript: the Definitive Guide is for. This book --- like all the books in the excellent Visual QuickStart Guide series --- is aimed at getting you into the topic and doing stuff with it quickly. The other books like the O'Reilly book (which would leave a beginner pulling her hair out) are for later.
The examples in this book show you the most common uses of JS and provide sample scripts (which are available for download on the companion web site). The newer, 3d. ed. of the book adds a significant amount of additional information, and is worth the price of admission (I also owned the 2d. ed.). It gets you doing cool stuff with Javascript quickly. That simplicity is its strength and also one of my complaints about it.
The examples are not often very flexible. They do one thing well (which is described quickly and in a manner in which you can easily understand), but its not always easy to modify the script to similar uses. And, because it's how it is, it doesn't teach you enough to understand the theory of the JS you're using, so you rarely understand how to modify those scripts. BUT, as I said above, that's beyond the scope of this book.
One example: in the doing things with windows chapter, there are scripts for opening and closing a second window from within the main window. Great scripts and they work well. But, if you want to open the new window from the main window, then close the new window from the new window (not the main window), too bad, because it doesn't show you how to do that.
But, on that point, I'm starting to lean in the direction of calling this book an orange.
For absolute beginners: it's a must, and is probably the best introduction to JavaScript. For Intermediate JavaScripters, its hit or miss, so check it out thoroughly (though it's still a great quick reference for when you forget something). For advanced JavaScript and JS applications, check out one of the O'reilly reference works.



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: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great OpenGL book for the college student


This book was used for CS 453 (Computer Graphics I) at Washington University in St. Louis. I find it to be very informative and a good book to use for learning the basics of computer graphics.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Verilog HDL Synthesis, A Practical Primer
Publisher: Star Galaxy Pub
Authors: Jayaram Bhasker, J. Bhasker
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best Verilog Synthsis book


This book is an excellant reference for anyone writing Verilog for synthesis. I found the examples useful and complete.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Pseudo-science at best


This book is an excellent introduction to several ideas in cognitive science, biology, mathematics, linguistics, computer science, art, and other fields. It cleverly reveals how different fields influence each other in a cross disciplinary fashion and actually "embeds" this structure inside the book. I won't go into more detail, but as soon as you read the book, you will see how this is done. The writing is crisp and engaging, almost as if Lewis Carroll, Noam Chomsky, and your favorite professor in college gave birth to a book. The concepts are revealed through parables, koans, and other forms involving characters named Tortoise, Achilles, and Crab and at one point involve a metagenie.(...)
The only criticisms that I have about the book are 1)Some radically new things have been discovered/done in many of the fields discussed in the book, especially artificial intelligence. The book doesn't talk about some of these developments, and some of the statements in the book are inaccurate or outdated (ex: chess playing computer that can beat human will never be built, replication in biolgy is A LOT more complicated/different than its rather cursory rendering in this book)2)This book is more helpful as an introduction to spark your interest in various topics than a detailed guide to the many interesting ideas that have arisen in science. After reading about concepts in the book, if they are interesting, it would be helpful to read a more detailed and recent book on the topic.3)Sometimes, but not usually, the author's desire to be witty or find connections overwelms the actual truth of his statements--at these points the connections made are rather weak.