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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming & Customizing PICmicro Microcontrollers
Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics
Authors: Myke Predko
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
riddled with errors


Just as bad as his 8051 book in the quality of the English. He probably knows how to program the PIC MCUs, but I couldn't stick around long enough to find out. The book desperately needs an editor, and the publisher should be ashamed of letting a semi-literate author get away with this. It reflects on them as much as on him. The bad grammar and spelling can distract one from the technical errors. And there are plenty of those, partly oversight and partly the author's own shallow understanding.
Just opening at random to pp. 178-179, on clock oscillators I learn that "applications that require extreme accuracy allow the use of cheaper clock designs." How about "do not require"? Then I learn that "an error of 30% to the target speed are not unheard of." Sure, that's just English, but gee whiz, it's that way through the book. Then I learn that the circuit uses a "Schmidt trigger," presumably the German version of the well-known Schmitt trigger. Lower on the page I find "Crystals and ceramic resonators delay the propagation of a signal a set amount of time. This set amount is dependent on how the crystal is cut." If ever an author were asked to demonstrate that he hasn't a clue about how a crystal works, he couldn't find a better way. And so forth. It's that way on every page.
He probably knows the PIC processors pretty well, and I won't take that away from him. One pass through the book by a competent copy editor, and another by a real electronic expert could easily turn this into a much shorter, coherent, accurate, and useful book, but neither of those has happened.
All his books seem to have a strange combination of rave reviews and pans, with very little in between. That's unnatural, and the explanation that jumps to mind is bothersome.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Photoshop Elements 3: The Missing Manual
Publisher: Pogue Press
Authors: Barbara Brundage
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Truly the Missing Manual


So far I've collected more than my fair share of Digital Photography and Elements 3 books. As a brand new user of a digital camera coming from the point and shoot (even throwaway) film camera world, I need a good book to help me understand all the buttons and menus. Unfortunately, I haven't managed that yet.

But as a brand new user to real digital imaging software, that isn't as intuitive as Adobe would like you to think, I've found a book that gets me started from the ground up - in terms that I can understand. The 'Missing Manual' book demystifies tools such as levels, shadows and highlights, and color casts. And I now know the difference between a layer and a layer mask, why I might need them and how I could use them.

Those things are important to a newbie to the digital frontier. I couldn't have asked for a better guide.




Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential System Administration, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Æleen Frisch
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Out-of-date, Tries to cover too many flavors of Unix at once


The book is much too broad to be very useful. Though it has a few good chapters, too much time is spent on trying to make sure that an example is handled for every different style of Unix, especially some of the older or more off-the-beaten path Unices, such as Irix or SCO. It also doesn't help that when you get to a topic that you get interested in, you're just given the suggestion to buy another O'Reilly book that discusses it. The Nemeth book (UNIX System Administration Handbook) is much better, because it covers examples in more popular versions of Unix, and because the latest edition is much closer to today's view of the Unix world.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CCNA Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide, 4th Edition (640-801)
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Todd Lammle, Sybex
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Missing information


While this book is fairly well written, it fails to cover several topics, such as NAT, PAT, PAR and RIPv2. The author even goes so
far as to say that RIPv2 is not covered on the exam, but I had at least 5 questions pertaining to it. Sorry Lammle, but I'll be going with Wendell Odom from now on.