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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: CSS Cookbook
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Christopher Schmitt
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good reference for what CSS can do

The CSS Cookbook is a nice reference for seeing CSS in action. This book focuses on examples grouped by Typography, Page Elements, Navigation, Lists, Forms, Tables, Page Layouts, Printing layout, CSS workarounds, and design tips.

Christopher Schmitt writes in a clear, concise manner. Tips and information are presented in a "no nonsense" way, getting straight to the point. I just wish there were more points made. For a 250 page book, this is a nice manual of solutions to common problems that CSS can solve, but I feel like more could have been added to bring the page count somewhere around 350-400. One of the main things that CSS can do is address the need for "tableless" web pages and while Mr. Schmitt discusses this topic in his chapter relating to page layout, I feel more examples should have been provided for a book which calls itself a "cookbook".

Having said that, the calendar example in Chapter 6 is worth the price of admission alone, and the samples provided relating to font typography are well written. The thing I like about Oreilly's "Cookbook" series is the fact that these books get right to the point. Too many times authors spice up their books with humor-filled writing and for a reference guide you just want to be able to open up a book and find relevant examples. The author does a nice job of providing an excellent companion to "Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide" and it would benefit any CSS developer to have a copy of "CSS Cookbook" next to their computer.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Contextual Design : A Customer-Centered Approach to Systems Designs
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Hugh Beyer, Karen Holtzblatt
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
At last, a strong and flexible user-centered design method

With all the talk about user-centered design, it's a relief to find a book that describes a well-defined and flexible approach to it. The authors have really done their homework. I especially appreciated the explanation of approaching site visits as if you were an apprentice.
However, I really wish this book had been more concise. I kept wanting the authors to get to the point. Perhaps I'll appreciate this book's detail later, when I'm one day deep in the throes of a project that uses some or all of this approach. But today I merely wanted to become familiar with this approach and understand its benefits.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Mastering Windows Server 2003
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Christa Anderson, Michele Beveridge, C. A. Callahan, Lisa Justice
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Hail to the ranking member of the tech writing world!!

Once again, I am extremely pleased with this book. This is an in-the-trenches type book that will help you get your job done. It is not meant to be a general overview of Windows 2003. It is not meant to only uncover the changes that have been made in 2003. What the heck kind of book would it be if it only had all of the new features that 2003 offered. Minasi could put that in a stinkin magazine article if he wanted to. For all you people out there that want a read that just outlines the new features of 2003, then download a blasted white paper from Microsoft. I don't agree one single bit with any of you folks who cry about seeing the same matierial in the 2003 book as in the 2000 books. If the feature is implemented and managed the same way in both 2000 and 2003, what in the heck does the wording need to be changed for. The book is called Mastering Windows Server 2003 not Mastering What's New In Server 2003. The book has to cover the full spectrum people! And it does just that, magnificently. You folks that gave this books such a low mark (1 star) and wrote the most unprofessional and incorrect comments are probably the very ones that live at his web the he provides us for !!!FREE!!!,by the way, trying to fix your Active Directories that you let the "Wizard" create for you, or pulling your hair out trying to come up with a solution for all the infighting and political turmoil that exists in your organization because this group of admins does'nt want that group of admins to get the Enterprise Admin privelages. The answers to these and many, many more issues are brilliantly covered in this book. In a nutshell, you will be a better Windows administrator after reading this book..period. You will read about things that you will not find anywhere else...promise! Minasi crosses bridges in this book that most people don't. Everything that he writes about is thoroughly tested by him or his co-authors before they even think about putting it to paper. I truly beleive, that the "Mastering" series of books have done more to make me a better administrator/designer ( and I am really good!), than any other book or class that i have ever read or taken, hands down!! And if you don't have the 2003 book in your arsenal, you are going to spend a lot of time searching white papers, forums, and many other books for information that you could have found right here in this book. I'd rather spend my time being productive instead of searching all over the place for answers to something. It's your choice!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to Electrodynamics (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: David J. Griffiths
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book

This is by far the most enjoyable physics book I've used. A very well thought out book, clearly written and informal but not frivolous. His arguments on physical grounds were very useful inhelping to develop an intution for the subject.
It is true that the derivations get less thorough towards the end of the book, but I did not think that that was detrimental. As you learn more E and M, you should be able to supply the missing steps without too much difficulty. I disagree with the reviewer who said that you have to be really good at maths - it's all somewhere in the book if you look hard enough and you learn it as you go along. I do agree, however, that there are too few examples towards the end of the book. And yes, a solution manual would be nice.
So, sure, it could be improved, but I haven't seen many texts that are more engaging and more conducive to learning.
I cannot comment on coverage of material as I have only completed my undergrad degree. I suppose we shall see how grad school goes.