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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java Programming for the Absolute Beginner
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Joseph Russell
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent for new programmers

I have been programming part time at school for about 8 months now. I started with C, then C++ and now Java. I started this book back in C++ since the two languages are similar in their OOP. Once I started Java I found myself to be way far ahead of the whole class. Each class being 10 weeks each, I should be ahead until they talk about Swing in week 8. The book is not meant to be a reference like one reviewer said, had a problem finding answers int the book. The book is designed to teach you object-oriented concepts along with learning the fundamentals of Java. It also explains everything in a way that anyone with interest but no programming experience could understand easily. If you have take a class or two on C++ you will probably want to skip to chapter 4 or 5. This book helped me attain a 4.0 average as I didn't have to get lost in a reference/text book all the time, but I could actually make things that made sense.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen, Marie Tahir
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good solid Nielsen/Norman stuff

This book does a good job at deconstructing 50 home pages and gives the reasons behind the problems found on each page. It contains a summary of all the guidelines, around 130, for home page design, which is a useful tool for rating your own web page against. It also has a star rating for the importance for adherence to the individual guidelines, which helps you prioritise work to improve your home page.
There are some guidelines which I felt were objective dislikes rather than real usability problems, e.g. not putting a "powered by xxxx" label on the home page. But this makes it all the more interesting for the user who needs to understand the issues as they apply to them.
Overall a great read, with lots of good information. Good solid stuff.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to 80X86 Assembly Language and Computer Architecture
Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Publishers
Authors: Richard C. Detmer
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
A good introduction to the topic, but that is all

I bought this book as a refresher and as a reference to keep on my shelf at work, where I need to write (or at least read and understand) some Intel x86 assembly from time to time. I was looking for something that wasn't as outdated as my college textbook, "80X86 IBM PC and Compatible Computers: Assembly Language, Design, and Interfacing, Vols. 1 and 2" by Mazidi et al (mine is the second edition). That is the problem with a lot of assembly books, is that they pre-date the 32-bit instruction set (the 80386 and higher CPUs) and hence they give a lot of bad and just wrong advice. This book does not have that problem, which is good. It also does a great job of helping the high-level language programmer understand how their programming language constructs translate into assembly instructions and actually take place. I have never seen a good explanation of that outside of articles by disassemblers and reverse engineers, but every programmer ought to know these concepts because it may come in handy when debugging some day.
But although it serves as an excellent introduction to the material, it is on the thin side (500 pages) for the hefty textbook price it wields. It's just not comprehensive, nor does it have any practical programming lessons for the reader. Unlike my college textbook above, which was used for a two semester senior-level course, this textbook just doesn't cover what I want (a practical guide to using assembly in the field, as opposed to just in the classroom). I don't think it's thorough enough for a comprehensive college course in the subject. When you finish the book, you may understand assembly, but you won't know what to do with it (or what you can do with it). Nor is it thorough enough to be used as a reference material for work. It omits quite a few processor instructions that I feel are important to know for reference.
My advice is to pass on this book, unless you are completely new to the material, because it seems like a good learning text. Even still, you will eventually need a more authoritative reference guide for when you encounter the things this book doesn't cover (such as interfacing the PC hardware).
Intel's "Software Developers Manuals" are freely available at their site in PDF, and I would suggest downloading all of those as your reference and purchasing Mazidi's book (now in fourth edition and NOT outdated anymore) for a few bucks more than this one.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XML Bible (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Elliotte Rusty Harold
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
This book is blah-blah-blah!

I am new to XML but not new to programming and web programming especially. So far I made it grudgingly to Chapter 8. I am very disappointed. The book gives huge examples to show something really small. Typical example: sample code starting at p.72 down to p.78 - a seven page example!!! What the heck?! Why does anybodoy need such a huge example? I will fall asleep before I read through the code not mentioning typing it in. Useless! All the programming books I have read so far rarely go above 2 pages of sample coding. I think it's too much blah-blah-blah! Keep it short, guys, I don't have time to read all that stuff!!! I don't know if I am gonna make it till the end but if I do I will probably reward myself for that.